Friday, December 29, 2017

Why Hire Women?

You knew this was coming, because I have said that it was coming. The #MeToo movement will make life more difficult for women in the workplace. It feels like a revolutionary action to overthrow the patriarchy, and it is certainly destroying the careers of more than a few men, especially in the media and entertainment, but living your life within a grand historical drama is always a bad idea. This time, the ultimate victims will be women.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings.

Obviously, businessmen cannot speak out about the issue. But, what they are telling each other deserves a hearing, even if the author of the current piece speaks anonymously.

He mentions first that in a climate where accusations count as incontrovertible truths, our grand American tradition of justice has been largely discarded. Remember when Benjamin Franklin said that it is better for ten guilty men to go free than for one innocent man to be convicted. Well, you can forget about that, along with due process.

Anonymous quotes Emily Linden, a columnist for Teen Vogue, who declares that she does not care if some innocent man’s reputation is ruined as long as she can avenge herself against the patriarchy and can foment revolution. Naturally, Linden, a fanatic masquerading as a serious writer, has forgotten about due process and does not care either about what happens to the innocent man’s wife and children. Nice way to show us how sensitive you are, Em.

Anonymous offers his analysis from within the business world:

There are however two big problems with the whole situation:

1.      Accusations alone kill careers and businesses just through the media attention and absence from any investigation or evidence

2.    The narrative of the whole debate is that every claim must be believedregardless how ridiculous the claim itself is and that any questioning of this or that people want an investigation is automatically anti female.

    These two social justice paradigms have made it impossible to defend anybody against accusationsregardless how suspicious or shallow the claims wereand it still continues so we can assume this will stay for way longer than just the next week.

He is not alone in pointing out that in the ambient mania the meaning of sexual harassment has been bloated almost beyond recognition:

Another problem is that the meaning of sexual harassment was widened to include what most of us would consider normal behavior among adults. This includes but is not limited to: getting invited for a drink, making somebody a compliment or standing in the same room.

This paints almost any interaction at a workplace in a sexualized context which in turn makes it almost impossible to be comfortable with each other. This has a major chilling effect on teamwork, arbitration and general communication.

Worse yet, women are shouting that they are weak and ineffectual, that they are so sensitive that they are rendered ill by someone who makes them feel “uncomfortable.” So much for the myth of strong, empowered women.

Now as a business owner myself and somebody who is in voluntary leadership positions I can tell you one thing: 

It´s impossible to accomplish anything if you are not willing to make someone “uncomfortable”! Especially if you take on a mentor role!

And also:

When James Damore was asked for feedback from his supervisor and internally circulated his google memo, it got leaked, he got fired and women stayed at home the next Day because “for emotional reasons”

A ten page summary of data and analysis from Damore was enough to “emotional distress” the women at the company.

I’m not arguing here about the validity of the memowe can talk about that on a separate occasionmy point here is that a ten-page document with written words that suggested possible gender differences cost multiple sick days!

Anonymous tries to put it in context:

What the media doesn’t see are … very important facts:

  • Most businesses still care more about profit than gender distribution
  • Most businesses don’t share the blatant disregard for men
  • Most businesses are still created, maintained and lead by menso you can’t put men out of the equation

Now, male executives will react to the #MeToo movement by hiring fewer women and by practicing gender segregation. Anonymous quotes some of his male executive friends:

“We will probably not hire women if they have to work together with men” (paraphrased)

 “We have to consider gender segregation at the workplace as a next step so we hire women only for positions where we can make a team out of them and where we have to hire a spot in the male-dominated parts we hire additional men” (paraphrased)

One of my colleagues from a US Tech company gave me even a (for me) more horrific answer when I asked him about this notion: 

“we are considering to drop our female staffers in the non-support teams, this way we can eliminate the risk and from the outside, it looks like we just have a 90/10 split which is low but not unreasonable for a tech company” (paraphrased)

Many men are saying that hiring women is simply not worth the risk:
Even an unproven or false allegation can cost a company a significant sum of money!

For some businesses it could even mean bankruptcy because clients could drop them, they can’t bear the expensive legal fees or the media outrage kills their reputation.
And I don’t know anyone who is willing to take that kind of risk.

And then there are other unspeakable risk factors in hiring women. As he says, no one will say this out loud, because such speech is strictly forbidden:

Adding to that the risk of possible pregnancy, that some call for sick leave when they have their period and the whole depiction of women in the mainstream mediaand you have the perfect mix for high risk, high cost, low reward (actual quote)

“Officially, we will of course never ‘promote’ thisif somebody asks about stuff like that we will just say the teams can work better this way… but we don’t risk our core team that makes money just to fulfill a quotaGoogle & Co can do that and cripple themselves in legal affairs (paraphrased).

Anonymous concludes:

Well, it hurts me to say but maybe we shouldn’t if this is how women behave in today’s world! It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to hire somebody that can potentially cost you more time and money to the addition that you have to create special rules for all other employees.


whitney said...

The response from the women will be "just stop harassing us" which is obviously a complete impasse. Can women collectively take the law in their hands and demand to be hired at certain proportions within a company?

Anonymous said...

Blackstone's formulation
In criminal law, Blackstone's formulation is the principle that: "It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer", expressed by the English jurist William Blackstone in his seminal work, Commentaries on the Laws of England, published in the 1760s.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, letter to Benjamin Vaughan, March 14, 1785.—The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Albert H. Smyth, vol. 9, p. 293 (1906).

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Thank you for sourcing the quotation....

Jack Fisher said...

Blackstone puts you on a slippery slope. Jeremy Bentham, in A Treatise on Judicial Evidence (1825) criticizes this and asks, why ten? why not a hundred or a thousand? Why ever prosecute if there's any chance of convicting an innocent man?

This is not what "presumption of innocence" means; it means that the exclusion of some kinds of evidence raises the prosecutorial bar and better defines "beyond a reasonable doubt". Also, unstated but true: because the definition of convicted doesn't mean certainty, the Constitution accepts that a certain percentage of will be tried and convicted of crimes they did not commit, convicted of greater offenses than they actually committed, will plea bargain to crimes they did not commit to avoid trials as part of a risk/benefit analysis; that the government routinely overcharges to encourage pleas, and that government prosecutors will threaten a defendant's wife, children or other family with prosecution in cases to encourage a plea; that quasi-criminal charges in a civil Rico or administrative case or forfeiture proceedings amount to criminal punishment without under the lesser "preponderance of the evidence" standard.

Excluding plea bargains which would quadruple this number, I think a conviction error rate of 10% is fair enough.

Sam L. said...

Our Do Not Hire Women policy is specifically designed to ensure that women are not mistreated by our employees. Safety of women is a high priority of this firm.

Ares Olympus said...

The #MeToo movement is troublesome enough if it means women are always victims and men are always willful predators in the constant look out for prey. The only honest answers is adults have to be willing to be adults, and be willing to call out behavior immediately and directly when it happens, and only go to HR or higher bosses or law enforcement when all personal agency has failed to handle a situation. Being responsible adult first and last must mean fighting your own battles, and people will respect you for that, not tattling anonymously because someone told a sexist joke at work.

Pedophilia is the trickier issue, since we do have to assume children are vulnerable (even if they can also be devilish too) but adults can be skilled at seduction and deception and do prey on children who are least resistant, so assertiveness also applies for children while we can't depend on it. And for adults, being charged with abusive relationships with children has a very high social stigma, much higher than sexual harassment, and there is also a need to believe the child because they are weak. So when I offered to have an after school computer club at my house years ago, the teacher I worked with explicitly said I MUST have another adult present, for my own legal protection as much as anything, if someone claimed inappropriate behavior by me.

And I just saw this provocative title today. The word oppressed is obviously problematic, since its more of a mental framework than a fact of behavior, at least within the modern world where you can't beat the hell out of someone just because you feel like it and expect to get away with it, even if it does seem to be true that if you're rich enough you can imagine shooting someone on 5th avenue and not lose any votes, and so apparently men and women both are willing to endure a little domination, as long as their hated rivals are oppressed more.

Walt C said...

Sam L: good one. But I wonder if women can then sue for a "pattern and practice" of discrimination. (Damned if you do, damned if you don't)

jdgalt said...

Ultimately, there is no possible way to prevent this, or most other, kinds of illegal discrimination unless we are willing to adopt German labor law (in which every decision not to hire someone is followed by a government hearing where the employer must justify it). And I don't think the American public would accept that.

So the snowflakes will lose this battle. The only question is how many men have to suffer first.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 'old South', a black man could be jailed or even hanged on the word of a white woman. Our culture seems to want to bring this back, except universally.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

Emmett Till was unavailable for comment.