Creating a world of programming language to be inclusive as possible

Don’t take me too literal. But to be more specific: For me it was always some kind of disappointing (somehow) to be in a group of 85% male (or even more) and 90% somehow nerdy males. (I am male, maybe important here :slight_smile: ) If this was suffering for me, I don’t know, propably not in the stringent meaning.

I am getting sad, when I talk to girls about phyics, math and programming, and they have their own prejudices about them self, that they can’t learn it (not a teacher I am, but working with students sometimes).

I don’t have a solution for this, and creating artificial quota, I agree with you, isn’t the best, but I am nevertheless sure, that it is systemic. Not only about male and female, there are other underrepresented groups (no exact numbers checked, just a feeling).

As I said, I don’t have a solution, but we can talk about how we talk about things and people. And this how-to-talk may be e.g. that sometimes, even in this forum, it is not always about stringent technical questions with formal correct answers (fact, hypthesis, objective functions,… :slight_smile: ), sometimes it is about people, who maybe have high pressure, come here need urgent help and don’t find the correct words and get offended by us. (Don’t get me wrong, all in all I think we do quite good here).

And we already have quite some offending posts even in this thread!

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The problem with trying to tie diversity initiatives to these kinds of outcomes is that we tend to use objective functions with local maxima. Finding “the best person for the job” (whatever that even means) without any thoughts to growing a more diverse community may seem like the best direction now, but it will ultimately narrow our pool of people to draw from in the future, leading to something sub-optimal in the long term.

I don’t just mean this with Julia. We are a small community embedded in a larger society. The important thing isn’t finding things that benefit the (currently mostly white and male) Julia community, but things that benefit society as a whole. That should be where your objective function is drawn from. We don’t need to philosophize over whether giving underrepresented people better access to the tech community is a good thing for society. That’s just obviously true.

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Females are actually the majority in most university departments, so calling them a minority or saying they don’t have opportunity is incorrect. It’s their choice if they wish to pursue math or not. It is indeed disappointing not to have more women interested in math, but that’s their choice to not be interested. Women are in general the majority at universities and they can pursue anything they want, all doors are open to them with extra special scholarships and slots, not available to males. Yet they still don’t choose pursuing math while being the majority.

Because we (most of us humans) aren’t free in our choices. We are blocked, pushed, moved, forced by thousands of different things in our environment/systems. Being free is nearly impossible except for the outcasts.

The goal is to remove and build systems, to let everybody be as free as possible. We are currently very far away from this ideal in many aspects. My feeling is, we are currently regressing (not we, the Julia community, but we humans on earth).

How can we achieve this for the Julia community? Where do we have walls? Do we really need them?

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One of the reasons fewer women choose mathematics is that there are fewer women in mathematics. It’s a vicious circle. In a somewhat similar way some people don’t choose Julia because of the smaller user base. I don’t use Julia professionally because my colleagues and customers don’t use it. I use Matlab, even though I consider it inferior.

We saw that at my old university, when a ‘women in IT’ program was started it led to many women studying It and compsci, even though the large majority would have gotten in anyway.

Sometimes you just need to get the ball rolling and remove psychological or cultural barriers.

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Making admittance inclusion decisions based on whether someone is male or female, it’s actually the creation of a new pyschological and cultural barrier.

Placing a barrier where none existed before is the creation of new a new barrier. How about no barrier?

Please don’t. Tesla autopilot already kills people, I really dislike this trend of using machine learning for common sense tasks a human can do on their own.

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Except the actual observed consequence was to remove barriers.

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Giving special priviledges to advance women in a specific industry is the creation of a new barrier, not the removal.

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If that is your gut feeling, you are welcome to it.

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If people know they are “on the side of the Good”, then naturally those who don’t support their cause are “on the side of the Evil”, they are their enemies.

Christianity started as being at it’s basics inclusive ("there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, nor male and female”) and tolerant ( “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her”). That didn’t prevent them from suppressing the free opinion by burning (suspected) dissenteers alive.

Communism proclaimed freedom and equal chances for everyone. The well-known quote from Rosa Luxemburg says "“Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently”. What directly followed: the communists created the most oppressive regimes and perpetrated the worst crimes against humanity the world knows.

Both was possible because they - many of them - were sure they were on the side of the good.

– which is not surprising at all. Those who know for sure what is good and what is bad, tend to be intolerant.


Now let’s think what can be practically done within the Julia community. Not that much.

The Julia language licence is a tried and tested one. Changing it in any however well-intended way is going to have mostly negative side effects for the language development.

The community is quite friendly and tolerant as it is, at least as long as the topic deals with Jula and not diversity. There are codified rules to follow and stewards, who, I suppose, mostly don’t need to interfere. Any user is free to stay anonym and be as diverse as he/she/them like. Everyone of us should try to be as helpful and friendly as possible, but otherwise I don’t see what can be improved here.

But some special stipends for women etc. could come into the question. Surely, not a great deal for the world as a whole, but something tangible. Unfortunately, as soon as you want tangible results, you need that damned money. So I suggest the supporters of diversity and inclusion put their own money where their mouth is, and create a foundation providing at least one person with at least limited support.

Or otherwise close the topic as being divisive and harmful.

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Well, what I put it into scientific terms, but what I meant concerns every reasoning: Be able to discriminate between what is known for certain and what is your guess, and be able to tell what you really want and how much are you ready to pay for it.

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I don’t want to get into the whole discussion but i think there are two things we should be mindful of:

  1. Discussing some hypothetical version of a policy that may or may nit benefit some group is not beneficial at all. On the contrary I would consider it offputing if I was a member of this group and read these comments. Especially for those who have been discriminated against or feel uncomfortable entering a community in which very few members ‘‘look like them’’.
  2. I don’t know the gender of anyone in this discussion but let’s not speak for a whole group of people (even if we feel we are members of that group but especially if not). Rather we should listen to people from underrepresented groups. From a community point of view the ethical thing is to signal that we are willing to listen and then follow through with the listening.
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Yes!! Each of us represents just him-/herself

– just the same, isn’t it? Nobody would entitle any of them to represent anybody but their own person.

This topic isn’t only about gender and inclusiveness. But it seems, those have triggered something. I am genuienely interested why this is so. If you want to elaborate on it, I will listen.
Now it is.

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Completely agree. The idea is that we gain ideas about what actually keeps people from joining a field/community/… and we get to improve ourselves on a case by case basis. (I think of it as kind of a bayesian update).

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I want to encourage everyone involved here to take some time to review our community standards before posting further. Please be respectful and inclusive. Asking that of our community should not be hard or divisive.

Further, to be abundantly clear, in our community we do value diversity and inclusivity.

We believe that maintaining and promoting diversity and inclusion is the only way we can have a strong and vibrant community.

This really isn’t negotiable.

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If you are talking about mathematics (or more generally, STEM), then from a practical perspective there are always more slots than qualified applicants, regardless of gender. Very few people want to study mathematics, and even at large universities the 4xx and 5xx level classes will only have a handful of people.

The bottlenecks may not be at the university level: the problems start much earlier. STEM fields require foundations that are best started at a very early age, just believing that this is a feasible and enjoyable career path for someone can make a big difference. The issue is not so much about barriers than encouragement and role models.

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In my country most of the physicians, nurses and teachers are women. Should we throw half of them out so that there is equality?
However, there are hardly any women working in construction, mining or fishing, but they are clearly not interested in equality there.

We cannot impose artificial limitations on what everyone wants to do. Nowadays in western countries women have at least the same opportunities than men, usually more.
Many women do not like the same things than men, but that is not bad.

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Opportunities may be equal (actually I don’t think so), but e.g. payment is still about 20% behind.