Sunday’s New York Times Magazine contained a long feature by Clive Thompson on the history of women in tech and the industry’s more recent efforts to grapple with software engineering’s gender gap.
In a 2016 experiment conducted by the tech recruiting firm Speak With a Geek, 5,000 résumés with identical information were submitted to firms.
They get quoted – and cited – in mainstream publications, and readers get the impression there are nigh-magical “Quick fixes” to problems like diversity in tech.
A different New York Times Magazine article on disparities in tech from 2016 cited a different small recruiting firm on the power of résumé blinding.
If you’re trying to correct past disparities in an industry that you expect have resulted in disadvantaged candidates getting worse jobs, fewer promotions, and having less impressive résumés today, then blinding the résumés gives an advantage to whoever has historically been advantaged in the industry.
Addressing disparities in tech is likely to instead take two forms: addressing the reasons that women who start their careers in the industry decide to leave it at much higher rates than men, and, more controversially, addressing the reasons women are less likely than men to choose tech careers in the first place.
Bad research suggesting that gender disparities in tech are the result of aggressive, widespread, unprecedented discrimination at the résumé stage gets in the way of that conversation.