Monday, December 8, 2014

"Equally Qualified"

Two authors, one column.

Some of their column is intriguing. Some of it is less interesting.

The better part asks whether increased awareness actually changes behavior.

As I have long suspected, and shared with you, the more people believe that bad behavior is commonplace the more likely they are to consider it normal. If everyone is made aware of bullying and abuse, and if it is as pervasive as everyone says it is, people will think feel encouraged to believe that it is the norm, thus is more acceptable.

The result: more bad behavior.

The lesser part of the article concerns the stated effort to persuade people to discriminate less between men and women, for example.

The authors propose that we manipulate people into overcoming their engrained prejudices about the differences between men and women by telling them that they are bigots and that normal people, that is everyone is trying to overcome such bigotry.

Naturally, this leads us away from social science and into Sandberg’s ideology.

Her thinking rests on the assumption that when choosing a manager there is no difference between a male and a female candidate that has anything to do with gender.

The authors mention that:

Our culture’s strong gender stereotypes extend beyond image to performance, leading us to believe that men are more competent than women. Managers — both male and female — continue to favor men over equally qualified women in hiring, compensation, performance evaluation and promotion decisions. This limits opportunities for women and deprives organizations of valuable talent.

Why is our culture, in particular, defamed as containing strong sexual stereotypes? Strong in relation to which other cultures?

As for the notion of “equally qualified” what determines whether two people are “equally qualified?” I would suggest that no two people are ever equally qualified to do anything. No two people do equal work.

“Equally qualified” is a fiction upon which the authors try to rationalize their will to control minds.

Is it too much to accept that gender might have an influence on the ability to manage? And, is it too much to ask what would happen to homes, marriages and children if Sandberg’s illusion of equal workforce participation were to become reality?

The authors consider gender inequality to be a problem. We may ask whether it is a problem in Silicon Valley where gender and ethnicity seem to count far more than they do in other areas of the economy.

Is there a problem at Facebook? Would the company be doing better there were fewer white and Asian males and more minority women? If so, doesn’t Sandberg have a responsibility to remedy the situation in her own house before telling everyone else to change theirs?

But then, the authors share studies that demonstrate “definitively” that women are better than men:

When more women lead, performance improves. Start-ups led by women are more likely to succeed; innovative firms with more women in top management are more profitable; and companies with more gender diversity have more revenue, customers, market share and profits. A comprehensive analysis of 95 studies on gender differences showed that when it comes to leadership skills, although men are more confident, women are more competent.

Has anyone noticed that this demeans men? We might compare all of these studies with the track record. Would Silicon Valley be more successful if there were more diversity? After all, the government is far more diverse than Silicon Valley. Is it therefore better run?

Just think of how great the Industrial Revolution would have been if women had been in charge. Just imagine how quickly we would have defeated Nazism and Communism if women were in charge. Just contemplate how much better liberal democracy, science and the arts would be if more women were participating? Don't you think that America would have been a much better place if its first leader were Georgette Washington?

Of course, we cannot show that things would not have been better with women in charge. We also cannot show that things might not have been worse.

In a competitive world, in a world where people have been fighting and competing for millennia, you would think that if the presence of more women in positions of power and authority would have provided a competitive advantage, someone would have taken it.

It could be that they were all wrong. It could be that they were running a massive transhistorical conspiracy to keep women in the home, bringing up children. It could be that they made a mistake.

If so, it’s up to people like Sheryl Sandberg to put her money where her ideas are and to reform Facebook to make it more gender-diverse… thereby making it the competitive titan that it has not yet become.


Lastango said...

This whole idea that startups by women are more successful is driven by a tilted playingfield and cherrypicked data.

Interested folk can read this piece. I have a comment in the thread below it.

Dennis said...

Am I missing something here? Wasn't Facebook Zuckerberg's idea? With all the complains, including mine, I am not sure Sandburg is as good as she thinks she is at management. A cursory reading of any "Forbe's" magazine would denote the opposite of what has been cherry picked data.
It is almost impossible to get rid of a Facebook account or was the last time I looked. I stopped using it a couple of teas ago.

Anonymous said...

People who know how to make money back winning strategies. If the competitive advantage was real then the business world would be filled with companies meeting their prescribed vision. Sandburg herself could fund numerous start-ups in a variety of fields, get on even more company boards, and effect these changes. I imagine that within a decade her companies would dominate the their chosen areas.

Dennis said...

Divesh Makan

Drew Huston Dropbox 1.2 Bil
Dustin Muskovitz Facebook 7.8 Bil
Shertl Sandberg Facebook 1.0 Bil
Mark Zuckerberg FaceBook 32.9 Bil
Sean Parker Facebook 2.9 Bil

It was Divesh Makan who recommended Sandberg.
One of the things that most people don't know is that people like Bill Silberman and Evan Sharp of Pinterest are starting to challenge Facebook and Twitter. "Facebook monetizes the past, Twitter the present and Pinterest by organizing your wishes and dreams can aid one in what one might do or buy in the future (Forbes Nov 3 2014)
I would suggest that paying more attention to feminism instead of growing the business for the future might not payoff in the future.

Sam L. said...

"Show me the money!" is at play here. Show me that a woman does better, that women do better.

n.n said...

Equally qualified, but at what price?

Until feminists, not women generally, acknowledge the unprecedented sacrifices and corruption required to force equalization of women throughout society and throughout their lifetime, then their political class will never be equal. They will, in fact, be less meritorious and qualified to lead society and represent humanity. It's a tragic irony, or perhaps comedy, that they were granted an extraordinary responsibility as partners for the fitness of society, and as women for the fitness of humanity.