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Amazon Embodies the Gender Gap in Tech

Soulskill posted about 6 months ago | from the don't-let-the-name-fool-you dept.

Stats 302

New submitter chpoot writes: "The Guardian reveals the gender breakdown among Amazon's management 'S Team.' At one end of the team of 132 are 12 secretaries. All are female. At the other end are 12 who report directly to Jeff Bezos. All are male. Of the 119 remaining when Bezos and the secretaries are put to one side, 18 are female. Amazon, of course, grew out of book selling. Book selling, publishing, and writing have all a fairly admirable tradition of employing women. In its attempts to overthrow traditional book selling, Amazon seems to have been particularly successful in subverting that part of the tradition."

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Hmm.. (5, Funny)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 6 months ago | (#46847287)

And here I'd always heard that Amazon women were particularly cutthroat..

And Amazon's not the only one either! (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847289)

There's also a surprisingly low percentage of female garbage collectors.
Since that particular job requires very little education, it would be far easier to start there when trying to close the gender gap.
Why aren't we?

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (3, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 6 months ago | (#46847309)

Rubbish collection isn't an attractive job, do there is little advocacy to address the gender divide. Turns out there is more interest in equality when there is more interest in the unequal thing. Talk about stating the obvious.

Still, one would hope that if a woman wanted to do that job she would not be discouraged, and if she were people would be rightly upset about that.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (2, Interesting)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 6 months ago | (#46847415)

Most of the people working for Amazon are box shifters in warehouses. A lot of people claim those are de facto sweatshops.
http://www.mcall.com/news/loca... [mcall.com]

So women still want to work there?

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (1)

GNious (953874) | about 6 months ago | (#46847715)

Purely out of curiosity: what percentage of this "management 'S' team", that the article refers to, are working as box shifters?

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847417)

Rubbish collection isn't an attractive job, do there is little advocacy to address the gender divide.

Sitting in a corner by yourself with headphones on banging away on keyboards all day isn't particularly attractive either, but I'll be damned if we're not all up in arms about how there's not enough females in IT.

I understand gender discrimination exists, but let's put some validity to it. I grow tired of this thin veil of bullshit tossed over every job sector as if we absolutely must find at least X number of transsexuals and one-legged midgets working in that field in order to ensure no one becomes offended.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847441)

This isn't much better... So you want the good jobs but you don't want to have to take the bad jobs? That's why people don't take you seriously.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847519)

Rubbish collection isn't an attractive job, do there is little advocacy to address the gender divide. Turns out there is more interest in equality when there is more interest in the unequal thing. Talk about stating the obvious.

Still, one would hope that if a woman wanted to do that job she would not be discouraged, and if she were people would be rightly upset about that.

I've always been of the mindset that the best person regardless of gender should be hired for the job. I dare say most of the jobs within Amazon are order processing in large warehouses (distribution centres in logistics-speak) where any able-bodied person could do these jobs. If the article is restricting its analysis to white-collar positions within Amazon, then a better question would be "Are women applying for this positions yet not being hired despite being the best qualified?" I feel the same way if I was looking for a housekeeper and the best qualified applicant was a man.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847753)

Turns out there is more interest in equality when there is more interest in the unequal thing.

Exactly, feminism is all about money rather than equality.

Amazon just hired the best people for the job regardless of gender. This to me would be the most likely scenario, although if it turns out that they have engaged in discriminatory hiring practices I'll happily change my tune. It's the same situation as the pay gap myth, once you factor in hours worked, experience and qualifications the pay difference disappears.

This story is another feminist hit piece angling for quotas in private companies, which is profoundly disempowering for women.

If a woman wants to be, say, a firefighter, the feminists do not encourage her to make sure she measures up to the demanding physical standards. What matters most, she is told, is that there be a representative contingent of her gender at the firehouse. And if she does not meet the standards? She should not have to, feminists retort; women are rightly due their quota of such jobs.

With all their carry on about female “empowerment,” feminists disavow the only legitimate meaning of that term: the individual woman’s self-created power to make herself into a value, the power to make an employer want to promote her or a school want to enroll her as a mutually beneficial exchange, based on her objective ability, not as a sacrificial accommodation to her gender. But that would be too independent an approach for the feminists to sanction.

Their implicit message to women is: “You cannot succeed on your own, but you don’t have to; your collective will get you what you want.”

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (5, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 months ago | (#46847317)

The Venn diagram for "WOMAN" && "STRONG" && "NO EDUCATION" is smaller than the same for "MAN". Women tend to be more educated and weaker.

Educated and physically weak happen to align well with the stereotype of tech nerds.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (5, Interesting)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 6 months ago | (#46847343)

Women tend to be more educated and weaker.

Educated and physically weak happen to align well with the stereotype of tech nerds.

The types of education women tend to get on the other hand do not align with the types of education associated with tech nerds. No, your gender studies degree is not as valid as my programming experience.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847423)

HR would tend to disagree, they'd also like to let you know you no longer work for us. You will be escorted by security out of the building.

Eat it.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | about 6 months ago | (#46847509)

HR doesn't know jack shit.

About anything.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 6 months ago | (#46847839)

Unfortunately they don't have to. In fact I believe a frontal lobotomy is a prerequisite for consideration of a position in HR.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46847619)

And this is why I don't do my hiring through HR.

People who care about a sheet of paper more than what a person is capable to do will get what they deserve.

Re: And Amazon's not the only one either! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847327)

Because garbage collection is not as influential or important as IT right now, which is changing the world we live in at an unprecedented scale. But take it from Jeff Atwood: http://blog.codinghorror.com/what-can-men-do/.

Once you've read that, I hope you will understand what the problem is and how we can approach solving it.

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847473)

Upper body strength and toxins that might affect child bearing. Next stupid question?

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (0)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46847631)

Stuff that is toxic to women and not to men? What is that awesome poison, misogynists all over the planet wish to know!

Re:And Amazon's not the only one either! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847681)

Oh, they're toxic to both male and female *fetuses*.

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

Well (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847291)

It is a cut throat business they run

And this is just fine. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847311)

The most qualified people rose to the top, regardless of their sex.

Amazon, nor any other company, owes it to gender ideologies to fulfill their delusion of complete gender equality.

Some genders are more skilled in certain areas and less skilled in others. Deal with it.

Re:And this is just fine. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847431)

Some genders are more skilled in certain areas and less skilled in others.

While true in some cases (like, for instance, childbirth), I would say false when you are talking about careers.

I think a better way to put it would be "some fields are more appealing to one gender over another". If you want to try to make the field appealing to the other gender, that's fine. But when you try to force an equality of results by passing over male applicants just because your workforce is already 60% male, that is wrong.

Re:And this is just fine. (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46847647)

Childbirth is exactly one of the reasons why women are at a disadvantage. Because getting kids is actually considered a health risk, much like a bad back or failing heart would be. The mere fact that woman may get pregnant, have a child and would take time off to at least raise it for a few months is a risk that simply cannot happen to a man.

Or rather, if it ever happens to a man, I sure as HELL want that guy in my team, the PR alone is worth everything...

Children are a health risk from an employer's view. Depending on the local laws you may not be allowed to use the woman fully while she is pregnant, especially during the last trimester, she will be absent (obviously) for a while during birth and depending on your local laws again she will be out of commission for a while afterwards, in my country this can be up to 3 years.

That alone makes woman very unattractive as employees.

Re:And this is just fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847649)

What I dislike is that someone went through a list of 132 employees and looked up gender for each. If our goal is a gender-agnostic society, then these gender statistics must stop.

sometimes it's about performance (0, Troll)

Ogive17 (691899) | about 6 months ago | (#46847315)

My office tries to maintain a gender balance in management... the performance bar is set lower for the women, it's quite obvious.

Re:sometimes it's about performance (3, Insightful)

geekmux (1040042) | about 6 months ago | (#46847437)

My office tries to maintain a gender balance in management... the performance bar is set lower for the women, it's quite obvious.

Congratulations. The ignorance factor among your management will all but guarantee a lawsuit.

From the men.

I know I'd be rather pissed if my job was somehow harder only because I was a male in management. Why does she get a break?

(Yeah, it's practically funny to see how quickly that shit can turn, isn't it..)

Re:sometimes it's about performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847529)

Companies that did this put themselves at an enormous disadvantage. Amazon doesn't seem to be having issues with success.

Re:sometimes it's about performance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847803)

Companies that did this put themselves at an enormous disadvantage. Amazon doesn't seem to be having issues with success.

McKinsey did a study a few years ago that showed that companies with more women in management put themselves at an advantage -- there were a clear positive correlation between more women in leading positions and company success and profitability. There are many risks to monocultures.

how come we never hear (5, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#46847319)

about how few females are truck drivers?? or garbage collectors? or oil field workers? or (insert other industry here)

Why does it seem that tech is being unfairly beat up because of a apparent lack of women? the lack of women does not automatically mean that there is some sexist agenda, It could simply mean that there are A - not enough women wanting to be in the field or B - better qualified candidates who happen to be male.

Females wanted equality, I define equality by giving the job to the best candidate, not an artificial quota of genders in each position

Re:how come we never hear (3, Interesting)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 6 months ago | (#46847347)

Females wanted equality, I define equality by giving the job to the best candidate, not an artificial quota of genders in each position

They wanted equality of outcomes. They never said they wanted to work as hard as men, they just wanted an equal share of the credit.

Re:how come we never hear (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847411)

Doubly ridiculous because men give most of their salaries to women. Feminism is for dykes, dumb chicks will never figure it out

Re:how come we never hear (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847433)

My personal experience is that most of the female engineers I know, like real engineers with a PE, are really hard workers and can go toe to toe with any of the men in the same field. In IT, particularly programming, women don't seem to measure up. I don't know why, maybe it's lack of interest, worse culture, etc.

Re:how come we never hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847547)

My personal experience is that most of the female engineers I know, like real engineers with a PE, are really hard workers and can go toe to toe with any of the men in the same field. In IT, particularly programming, women don't seem to measure up. I don't know why, maybe it's lack of interest, worse culture, etc.

Engineers are respected, especially those with PEng credentials whereas IT has become viewed as on par with the outsourced overnight office cleaning crew. If I was a woman and wanted a career I would select it based upon interests and respect. If I was an attractive woman and wanted to raise a family and devote my life to the family, I would marry a man with a respectable career. By the way, the trades is a respectable career especially compared to any jobs that can be off-shored to lowest wage countries.

Re:how come we never hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847455)

Smoke more of your ganja and kill off some more brain cells .... twit!

Tech is not unfairly beat up becasue of an actual lack of women not an "apparent lack of women" Tech had a much higher degree of women entering and staying in the industry a while ago, but the stupidity of some men ( and yes I do mean some men not all ) pushed a number of these women away from tech at different stages of their careers in tech. Some of them have left even before they finished their degrees.

Re:how come we never hear (3, Interesting)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847471)

How can you ensure that the job is going to the best candidate though? If you agree that women should not be unfairly disadvantaged, how can you enforce that except by equality of outcomes?

Re:how come we never hear (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#46847513)

Sadly there is no correct answer to that. If I am the boss, the correct/best candidate is one who I find will fit in with the group. If it is a male/female/ hermaphrodite whatever. but simply saying that there are not enough women in tech therefore SEXIST! is not true at all, it COULD be true, but using just the data points provided doesnt prove it to be so

Re:how come we never hear (5, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 6 months ago | (#46847723)

I have a team of all male, all white people. Since I don't care about the sexual preferences of my workers I can't really say whether they're gay or not (in my experience, an oddly large amount of good programmers actually is), so I can only stereotype by the things I see because, frankly, I don't really care. For all I care I'd hire a blue-skinned alien that has all three genders instead of just two as would be normal with his species, as long as he/she/it performs what I need from him/her/it.

The main reason why they're all male, all white is simply that so far only male and white people even applied for the jobs. That doesn't mean that I'd hire a black dyke because she's a black dyke. But if she knows her shit I'd hire her. Not because she's a black dyke, not despite her being a black dyke, but because she knows her shit.

I can only hire people who apply, though. If you bemoan the lack of "diversity" in a field, first of all LOOK at the field. If you have two female engineers in a team of eight, it looks very unfair to the women, until you notice that one out of ten engineers in total is female. Then it suddenly looks quite unfair to the males.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about 6 months ago | (#46847821)

You, sir, deserve mod and karma points for being correct!

BTW, why are blue skinned aliens always the ones we talk about, they tend to be quite pretty (Avatar, Mass Effect, etc...)

Re:how come we never hear (1)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 6 months ago | (#46847537)

It's the job of the person doing the hiring to choose the best candidate. If they choose an inferior candidate their company is stuck with the consequences.

Enforcing equality of outcomes in a field with an imbalance in the numbers of qualified men and women will force choosing inferior candidates. In those fields there is nothing unfair about an imbalance, any disadvantage is completely just.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847695)

If they choose an inferior candidate their company is stuck with the consequences.

You must be living in a different reality than me. Companies are never stuck with the consequences of their actions, banks can lose billions and just get it reimbursed or do some bookkeeping magic to keep their executives fat and rich.

Re:how come we never hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847713)

Which is why the military forbade gays, and women, and blacks. They would "disrupt the unit", and therefore were not the best candidate. It's self-perpetuating: I've worked in and with companies where the locker room, all-white, college educated atmosphere did contribute to department cohesion and social integration and profit. But there is a social price that had to be weighted. The spectacular ability to make their work useless and undesirable to their actual customers was one, and the interest in making stuff show off how smart they were rather than actually work was another.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

jmac_the_man (1612215) | about 6 months ago | (#46847569)

How can you ensure that the job is going to the best candidate though? If you agree that women should not be unfairly disadvantaged, how can you enforce that except by equality of outcomes?

Ensuring that women aren't unfairly disadvantaged shouldn't be the goal. Ensuring that no one is unfairly disadvantaged should be the goal. Enforcing the kind of equality of outcomes you are talking about essentially means putting men at a disadvantage, which you also shouldn't be OK with.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

lgw (121541) | about 6 months ago | (#46847615)

How cool would it be if we had some system whereby companies compete, and thus the companies that aren't as good at selecting and promoting the best fail while those who do choose the best dominate the landscape. No one would need to pick the rules ahead of time, no Intelligent Design needed for the economy, just evolution in action. Wouldn't that be an interesting system?

Re:how come we never hear (1)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847733)

Yeah, too bad that doesn't happen. And lets be honest here, the difference we are talking about between the best employee and the best employee that is acceptable according to your prejudices is very small. You could hire only white men and be very successful. Maybe you would make 10% more revenue if you had a more diverse workforce, but who cares, you're a racist asshole so that 10% revenue is worth it to you not to have to employee any minorities. Don't pretend that the free market would magically fix the problem.

Re:how come we never hear (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847735)

How cool would it be if all the frustrated, virginal, passive-aggressive, sarcastic, cocksuckers such as you took a long walk off a short pier?

Re:how come we never hear (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 6 months ago | (#46847789)

Companies that don't hire the best candidates tend to collapse, slowly or quickly, as their more savvy competitors eat them up. And equal opportunities are already enforced by laws, if a woman feels she has been discriminated against she can certainly take people to court.

Equality of outcome is completely insane. Everyone gets the same no matter how hard they work or what they do? The communists tried that and it led to corruption on an unprecedented scale, horrific human rights abuses, ever diminishing standards, and eventually the collapse of the state. But maybe they just weren't doing it right.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847815)

It's really hard to prove that you were discriminated against unless there is a written record of the employer basically saying, "I don't want to hire her because she's a woman." Lets also not pretend that you can only be successful by hiring the absolutely best candidate. If all you want to do is hire white males, and it costs you 10% of your revenue, then maybe that is worth it to you because you are a bigoted asshole.

Re:how come we never hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847511)

AFAIK truck drivers don't earn $100K+ a year. Starting salaries for software developers are higher than for nurses. And so on. At the risk of stating the obvious, it's because we make a shitload of money that our jobs are in focus.

Now let's turn our attention to the disparity between management and line workers. I have 30 years experience as a software dev. My manager has 30 years. (He probably switched from software dev for a combination of sucking at software dev and the management track paid more. I have no intention of switching, I'm good at what I do and I like doing it.) But he gets to fly business class while I'm always stuck in coach. Guess what I'll be negotiating for the next time I change jobs.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#46847661)

AFAIK truck drivers don't earn $100K+ a year

and you would be wrong. There are a large number of truck drivers being paid much better then IT workers. A low level truck driver is usually higher paid than a low level IT worker these days

Re:how come we never hear (1)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847761)

Good thing we're not talking about low level IT workers... nice derail.

Re:how come we never hear (4, Insightful)

_Ludwig (86077) | about 6 months ago | (#46847521)

Your examples all select for good upper-body strength. You may as well point out that there are no female linebackers in the NFL. Office work and management has nothing to do with raw physical ability, so unless you’re prepared to make the argument that women are genetically unsuited to the cutthroat world of sitting on one’s ass in front of a keyboard, you better re-examine your premise.

Re:how come we never hear (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847601)

I can tell you from a man working in a (fairly large, ~800 employees) office environment that there is a strong bias to hire women over men. Approximately a 85/15 ratio. Bias swings both ways in different circumstances. Not saying they balance each other out, just that it happens.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

ganjadude (952775) | about 6 months ago | (#46847687)

ok fine, Ill change it up

why dont we complain that there are not enough male kindergarten teachers? or male flight attendants or librarians?

Re:how come we never hear (2)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847767)

We do complain about there not being enough male teachers. There are numerous initiatives and even *gasp* priority hiring programs for men in primary education. Next derail please?

Re:how come we never hear (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847745)

Firstly, driving a truck does not require upper body strength.

Secondly, men are more aggressive. The proof is in crime statistics. Competition is the core of business interactions and office politics. It is not the slightest bit surprising that, the further up the pay ladder, the more males dominate.

If you dare to claim that upper body strength makes discrimination in one area okay, then the same testosterone that makes it possible should be shown preference wherever it is beneficial.

Re:how come we never hear (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 6 months ago | (#46847795)

Yeah, just like women needing to be able to do a certain amount of chinups to join the military... oops, nevermind...

Re:how come we never hear (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 6 months ago | (#46847813)

Your examples all select for good upper-body strength.

Awww come on... Gender is just a social construct. If you teach little girls the same way and the same things as boys, they will have the same upper-body strength. The will lose their tits and grow beards, too.

Re:how come we never hear (0)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 6 months ago | (#46847625)

about how few females are truck drivers?? or garbage collectors? or oil field workers? or (insert other industry here)

Garbage collectors? Gee I dunno. How about you go and read "Trashdot-News for sanitation workers, stuff that stinks." and get back to us.

Oddly enough "Slashdot-News for Nerds, stuff that matters." is a tech centric website so it tends to focus on things of relevance to the tech industry. Perhaps there are calls for more men school teahers and nurses and more women working in other industries.

Why does it seem that tech is being unfairly beat up because of a apparent lack of women?

Who says it's unfair? Sure other areas may be as bad or worse, but that's hardly a reason not to strive to be better. If that weren't the case, then every political article could be countered with "we're not as bad as North Korea so why worry?".

the lack of women does not automatically mean that there is some sexist agenda

Yeah correlation does not imply causation, but it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively and gesture furtively while mouthing "look over there".

It could simply mean that there are A - not enough women wanting to be in the field

And why is that? Are we sure that there's really a 99% divide between how men and women feel here or there's something else that's pushing one and excluding the other?

Females wanted equality, I define equality by giving the job to the best candidate, not an artificial quota of genders in each position

Yeah that's fine. No disagreement here. However you often get sexism manifesting
as women requireing on average higher qualifications to get the same job as men. Interestingly having artifical quotas can statistically level it out so there is indeed equality. I.e. if there is bias an anti-bias can cancel it out. I don't think that's a controversial point.

Book selling, publishing, and writing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847323)

Book selling, publishing, and writing have all a fairly admirable tradition of employing women.

And amazon does only the selling.

Perhaps it's the publishing and writing that have the tradition (?) of employing women?

Who cares ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847325)

Seriously, why could this possibly matter ?

This article has one point of usefulness, which is to serve as an example
of how badly this site sucks these days.

Re:Who cares ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847371)

Not counting the beta?

developing hybrid stealth golf cart for unchosens (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847333)

this baby is loaded 0-60 in 2.6 seconds... anti-aircraft & anti-asteroid laser cannons available options. talk about playing through without opposition?

The 12 female secretaries. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847349)

Do they have big thingees?

CAPTCHA: Naughty

Summary makes my head hurt (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | about 6 months ago | (#46847351)

Perhaps the person who wrote it does not have English as his(her?) first language, but it does not parse at all. Go read the story the summary is based on if you want to make heads or tails of this.

Re:Summary makes my head hurt (1)

ildon (413912) | about 6 months ago | (#46847379)

I had to read it about 4 times before I realized what it was trying to say, but the math works out. It says there are 132 people. 12 are secretaries (all women), 12 report directly to Bezos (all men). If you cut out the secretaries and Bezos himself, you're left with 119 people, only 18 of whom are women.

Amazon is not a "bookseller" (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#46847357)

Amazon is not in the same business as traditional bookselling. Amazon is a tech company which sells books (among other things). As a result, the characteristics needed in its employees are those of a tech company, not those of a book company. I used to work as a bookstore manager. If you look at the types of jobs that are typically dominated by women and the types of jobs which are typically dominated by men, you discover that those jobs require different characteristics. Bookstores and publishers require a mix of those characteristics, as a result, you have a fairly even distribution between the sexes.
I tried to explain why Amazon does not need to have more women executives, unlike bookstores and publishers, but I cannot quite put it into words. I do not think Amazon would be hurt by having more women executives. It is just that the nature of the company is such that men are more likely to have the characteristics which cause them to rise to executive positions.

Re:Amazon is not a "bookseller" (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 6 months ago | (#46847427)

Amazon does not do a lot of face to face customer interaction. That about sums it up.

Re:Amazon is not a "bookseller" (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 6 months ago | (#46847515)

It is a little more complicated than that, but that hits it pretty close.

Re:Amazon is not a "bookseller" (5, Insightful)

west (39918) | about 6 months ago | (#46847453)

One major problem is that human beings over-generalize. It's very easy for a field where there might be a "natural" split on the basis of ability and inclination of 60-40, that quickly becomes 90-10. Why? Because every member of the minority is subject to far higher scrutiny (see the famous "you suck at math", "women suck at math" (XKCD comic [xkcd.com] ). Their errors are remembered, their abilities questioned.

Now, this is *not* deliberate discrimination. This is how the human brain works. We see a pattern and we over-generalize from it.

However, in the end, it does mean that a substantial social injustice is done. People who have both ability and inclination are driven out of the profession (who wants to be in a profession where every mistake you make will count for 5 times everybody else's in the opinion of your peers).

So, I see no great leap that we consider changing the the "natural" outcomes of a system to compensate for certain defects in human reasoning systems by building in certain other compensating elements.

To make a *rough* analogy, in a "natural" setting, the physically strong dominate the physically weaker. As a society, we've decided this domination is not ideal, and we've passed laws to restrain the natural interactions between people. At this point, this unnatural intervention is so all encompassing, we don't even blink at the idea that physically strong individuals are denied their natural dominance. (And indeed, lose the culture among the strong that they would otherwise enjoy.)

Obviously male dominance in the executive suite (or tech) is a far more subtle matter calling for far more subtle compensations, but lets not fool ourselves. Pretty much every reader here is already the recipient of interventions on their behalf. And no surprise, the world is a lot better for it.

Re:Amazon is not a "bookseller" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847819)

Ah yes, social justice supported by the rigorous research of an xkcd comic. What your convoluted logic leads to is a situation where people are being installed in jobs with little regard to their actual merit, but just because they have the right genitals. How exactly is that not discrimination?

They are rich, they can afford utopias (1)

osiaq (2495684) | about 6 months ago | (#46847367)

Try it with startups...

Re:They are rich, they can afford utopias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847409)

It's been tried. Doesn't work so well [dailymail.co.uk] .

huh? (4, Funny)

shadowrat (1069614) | about 6 months ago | (#46847373)

At one end of the team of 132 are 12 secretaries. All are female. At the other end are 12 who report directly to Jeff Bezos. All are male. Of the 119 remaining when Bezos and the secretaries are put to one side, 18 are female.

I don't know what i'm supposed to be picturing here? what is the significance of the ends? are employees implicitly linear? is it particularly damning that the secretaries are all put on one end instead of being allowed to freely mingle with the other 120 team members? Do the 12 team members who report to Bezos somehow balance out the 12 secretaries? why are there 12 of both? Why are they at the other end? do they never get to see the secretaries being so far away? Is this just a super complicated way of saying that out of 132 team members 30 of them are female and the most important 12 members are all male?

Are any of them hot?

Re: huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847419)

It's saying,the lowest jobs, Secretaries, are all female. The best jobs, those that report to the head, are male. Of everyone else only 18 are female.

Re: huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847477)

Do the secretaries not report to the head, or at least their heads? Isn't that the job of secretaries? Manage the 'most important' people of the company?

Are these 12 secretaries the 12 men's secretaries? Are those men secretaries at their end? WTF is up with the structure of the S team and/or the summary? Maybe reading the article will clear things up? Why are there so many questions?!

Edit: Why did beta require me to manual type in the subject before it would let me post?

Maybe if more women wanted to be in IT (1)

mikein08 (1722754) | about 6 months ago | (#46847533)

there would be more women it IT. Seems that IT is not an attractive career option for the ladies. BFD. Interior design is not an attractive career option for men, BFD. I worked in IT for 30+ years, but wouldn't do it again. Too much sitting, too much listening to incompetent management, too many clueless users who didn't know what they wanted or needed and couldn't be bothered to figure it out ("how do I know what I want until I see what I get"), never-ending software updates, greedy and incompetent vendors. But it did pay pretty well.

Ironic given the etymology of Amazon. (2)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 6 months ago | (#46847383)

Origin of the word Amazon comes from myths about a tribe of female warriors, who would chop their right breasts off, because that interfered with their drawing of the bow string. A for opposite/without mazo for breast. A+mazon means without breasts.

Or it could be amazingly appropriate. That corporation wants only females willing to chop their own breasts off to be in the "team".

Unfounded claims (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847385)

"Evidence shows that more women in senior management leads to better corporate performance, a boost to the bottom line, and allows businesses to tap into new insights about their customers"

Tell that to HP, Yahoo, Gnome, etc. So yeah, citation needed. Oh wait, never mind [wikipedia.org] :
"The Society has been criticised by business groups for comparing average pay for full-time men with average-pay for part-time women to highlight the disparity, and a lack of transparency in making their methodology clear."

women in management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847387)

the number of top tier women in management is very low. should amazon hire sub-par employees just to please some political correctness ratio? no. if we want to fix these divides we need to push more women into these careers far earlier on than the end game.

Re:women in management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847503)

From page 143 of the secret book all men have in their possession.

"It's time to unleash the secret weapon brothers.

We have produced the ultimate defense against women.........

The Barbie doll

Once a strong, competent and skilled woman sees the Barbie doll, she is immediately turned into a quivering mass of doubt, and suffers from envy of and desire to look like the Barbie figure. She will immediately quit whatever she is doing, and start going to plastic surgeons to achieve her new goal.

If the Barbie doll does not fulfill the objective, next in line is the incredibly powerful weapon - the airbrushed/Photoshopped woman's magazine cover.

Use this weapon only if absolutely needed, as the woman will immediately contract an eating disorder, starting with purging, then in severe cases, to a cessation of eating altogether.

You only want to subjugate them, not damage them."

Re:women in management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847701)

The number of women in management is low because few women are willing to be held accountable for the results of their decisions. Hell, few women are willing to make a decision, at all, unless forced to by circumstance.

They want the reward (equal numbers in such and such a position, equal pay, etc.) without any of the risk. To hell with women, all of them. Yes, this is from a man, who hates you. All of you.

I'll just say it (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 6 months ago | (#46847399)

I'll just say it out loud for everyone. Most women are not that aggressive. Most men are. Often it's a detriment in the modern world. Where it's not is in leading business. Why are most HR departments filled with women? Because women and men are in fact different and our gender does affect how well we perform and enjoy certain tasks. We have equal opportunity laws because most is not all. There are women that make great executives and they should have the chance to show it. But to expect very specific roles in a single company to be gender equal numerically is just stupid. Are we going to accuse Etsy of sexism because the majority of their customers/stores are run by females?

Re:I'll just say it (1, Funny)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847495)

Most women are not that aggressive. Most men are.

You can't pretend that is some kind of biological difference though. It is entirely socially constructed, the way we teach little girls to be caregivers and quiet little angels while we let boys run around playing loud, violent games. If it means that women are now disadvantaged in the job market, then we should either 1) control for that and make sure that companies hire women anyway or 2) change the way that we condition girls so that they are more useful in the workforce.

Re:I'll just say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847585)

You can't pretend that is some kind of biological difference though.

You really think that having significant difference in the amount of the very important hormones within our blood since puberty really won't make any difference? You need to be blind not to see it.

It is entirely socially constructed, the way we teach little girls to be caregivers and quiet little angels while we let boys run around playing loud, violent games.

I am sure you don't have any children. If you do, you would have noticed that girls will play with dolls without any prompting, and boys will run around an be loud without any prompting either. There are, of course, different degrees among individuals, and some girls will also run around and be loud, while some boys like to play with dolls, but again, you have to be blind to not notice the natural difference between boys and girls, especially in your own (if you had any) when you did nothing to encourage either behavior.

Re:I'll just say it (1)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847709)

I am sure you don't have any children. If you do, you would have noticed that girls will play with dolls without any prompting, and boys will run around an be loud without any prompting either.

Just because that is your experience doesn't make it a general truth. I didn't say that the parents were necessarily encouraging it, although many do. It is impossible to avoid all the gendered advertising and media which is mostly what I'm talking about.

Re:I'll just say it (1)

Ardyvee (2447206) | about 6 months ago | (#46847589)

I vote for the second. Seems more useful. And while we are at it, we should also teach our boys how to also be caregivers and quiet little angels when they need to be.

Re:I'll just say it (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 6 months ago | (#46847633)

You can't pretend that is some kind of biological difference though. It is entirely socially constructed, the way we teach little girls to be caregivers and quiet little angels while we let boys run around playing loud, violent games.

Is there any actual evidence for this one way or another? It is nice to sit here and argue that men are strong or that women would be strong if their parents just made them join the football team. What actual scientific evidence exists one way or the other?

Re:I'll just say it (1)

cryptizard (2629853) | about 6 months ago | (#46847743)

I never said that women and men are exactly the same physically. No one can deny that men are generally stronger than women. I was referring socially conditioned behavior and attitudes.

Re:I'll just say it (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 6 months ago | (#46847841)

I never said that women and men are exactly the same physically. No one can deny that men are generally stronger than women. I was referring socially conditioned behavior and attitudes.

So, I'll just ask the same question. Is there any scientific evidence that the behavior and attitudes you're referring to are socially conditioned? I wouldn't be surprised if many if not most or even all of them were. However, in the absence of some kind of actual study, it is pure conjecture. One could just as easily argue that the reason there are so few women in tech is that most women just aren't cut out for it, as ridiculous as that may sound.

Re:I'll just say it (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | about 6 months ago | (#46847781)

It is a religious dogma. Don't question it.

Oy vey it's another holocaust (1)

Suiggy (1544213) | about 6 months ago | (#46847425)

Until every last man is cast forth into unemployment and dependence on the state, and only women occupy positions of power, it's an endless holocaust against progress!!!

Re:Oy vey it's another holocaust (0)

lagomorpha2 (1376475) | about 6 months ago | (#46847449)

Nonsense, they don't want men to all be unemployed. They want us to be beasts of burden doing all the real work while women receive all the authority and rewards.

Re:Oy vey it's another holocaust (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847483)

Tell your mommy that the next time she brings you a plate of sandwiches and milk for your all-night World of Warcraft session in her basement, and as she picks up the laundry that you forgot to put in the hamper.

Re:Oy vey it's another holocaust (3, Insightful)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | about 6 months ago | (#46847531)

Hmm... sounds like the wealthy's attitude towards workers more than anything. Perhaps the internecine struggle between women and men in the workplace would be better focused on class differences - it could result in better economic outcomes for the majority of both sexes if workers' energies were focused in this direction.

Workers of all sexes can either argue over how big their portion of a minuscule share is or grow the share for all workers by negotiating a larger cut with those who receive the majority of the gains - it is always such in an economic system. When the greater inequality is settled, providing larger gains to all workers, the smaller one can be addressed. Before then, it's just an economic smokescreen created by the wealthy to exploit a natural division in the ranks of the working class.

Sexist (1)

lucm (889690) | about 6 months ago | (#46847517)

Yes, we all get that in the Mad Men era it was all about white males (non-Jewish) and everything else was second-class. But things have evolved and it's not because of idiots fighting yesterday's battles.

Those people look at existing ratios and make the conclusion that the culture or leadership is somehow wrong. This is bullshit.

Why don't they look at the gender ratio at Curves or at the ABWA. Those places thrive on sexist policy and nobody says a thing, but gay bars catering to a specific subset of the gay community (bears/cubs) and old taverns for men only are the target of public outcry and lawsuits. It's the same with race; who would put "White-owned company" on their website? Total hypocrisy.

equality is in the pipeline (2)

zr (19885) | about 6 months ago | (#46847545)

the reality is, women are just as capable as men. the _only_ issue is, the _current_ talent pool is deeper on the male side. this is rapidly changing, look at the pipeline. 20 years from now equality will happen organically.

What a Load of Crapola (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847667)

I'm so sick of these articles.

Do you really believe Jeff Bezos has a culture of intentionally not hiring women for his management team? I don't.

In fact, since women tend to be paid .85 cents on the dollar for the same position, it would seem to make a lot of sense to have MORE women, not less. Unless of course this whole thing is bullshit. Senior executives for billion dollar firms have large responsibilities, large workloads, and serious time commitments. Can women do this? Of course. But they CHOOSE not too. Most women prefer to focus on their family. Even if they do want to work, they are typically looking for a job with reasonable hours and flexibility.

There is nothing wrong with this. Get over it already.

Who gives a shit (1)

bricko (1052210) | about 6 months ago | (#46847685)

enough said

Why don't you look at why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847737)

In my last company, a highly technical organization, we had very few women on staff in the technical positions. It's not because we declined to offer them a job because they were female, or because we preferred male applicants. It's because for every 1 female there were about 50 males who applied for a position. That was across the board from junior to senior positions. There are just as many females in the world as males, so what was really going on?

I'm not saying there isn't a problem, just questioning the objectivity and usefulness of what is presented here.

Very relevant documentary (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 months ago | (#46847807)

There is a documentary from Norway that sheds light on this type of situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5LRdW8xw70

If you are interested in gender differences, it is worth 38 minutes of your time.

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