This is not an article for many. Some will be livid, some will be outraged and many will be angry. Yet, will my view be wrong? This is at the centre of what some call the future of women in high positions.
If I compare it to Law School, then we have our share of women, most of them highly intelligent, many of them no less to Law savants. The last one might be regarded as a cheated achievement, as they usually come from parents with law education or even law practices. They do have a benefit, but to make it in Law, you cannot get by on daddy’s (or mommy’s) tailcoats. You are either truly good, or you won’t pass past your first case. For me in most cases, it almost feels like cheating, as I would be a 1st generation law graduate. I had to do it alone, no daddy to help me (thank god that the alcoholic is dead). So, there is no anger or envy towards these male of female co-students. As we see how these women are now growing the ranks of the senior, partner positions and the silks of the bench, we see how women are not just up and coming, they are growing the waves of the future benches of the courts. This is not a negative issue for me. As the women had grown in the legal profession from the 80’s onwards, they are now becoming the future of the high courts. In that regard I recall my first year mentor. She was not just bright, she was part of a team that wiped the floor (OK, the proper term is victorious) against the Oxford Law team. even though India won, the fact that both groups outdid Oxford should give you a clear view on how good you need to be. If we see the perception of many students, the regarded rankings like Oxford, Harvard and Yale (as we see Ivy League schools), then the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) did a mighty fine job.
How is all this connected?
I am getting to this. It is first important you see the views I have and the way I got to my view.
So what started all this? Well, yesterday the following tweet passed my screen:
“UK Prime Minister @Number10gov Mar 8
Tomorrow is International #WomensDay – see how UK govt is supporting & celebrating this year’s #InspiringChange theme http://ow.ly/ulkZ4“
It came right after a tweet By Neelie Kroes (@NeelieKroesEU)
Her headline on Twitter is “I am Vice President of the @EU_Commission leading @DigitalAgendaEU and #ConnectedContinent plans. I am fighting like hell for a EU you can believe in. Global (based in Brussels) – bit.ly/KroesNeelie“
I remember her as a politician (when I was living in the Netherlands). I never saw eye to eye with her views, but I do no hold that against her. What is important is that she is extremely intelligent. I reckon that if Albert Einstein would have been around when she turned 21, his words would have been “Whoa girl, you’ve got skills!” Let’s, be certain about the fact that he would refer to her political skills, not her skills in physics. Basically, she is one clever lady is the view of many.
My issue is all about the International Woman’s day as some ‘portray’ their support of it! I am not against it in any way, but let us take a look at the other side of this.
This we see at http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/adfa-skype-scandal-cadets-sentenced-avoid-jail-20131023-2w0hz.html, where we see the quote “The woman told the court last week that she had been bullied and ostracised across the ADF after details of the Skype affair became public. She said she was offered little support, and was referred to as “that Skype slut” by her peers. The victim said the incident destroyed her life and forced her to leave her dream job in the military.“
The two men got a 12 month good behaviour order. The interesting part is that the media seemingly buried it after August 19th 2013. Interesting how little exposure these issues get. I found two more items as they were places after the August date, yet this one (at http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2013-11-09/adfa-cadet-daniel-mcdonald-sacked-over-skype-sex-scandal/1217280) seems to add one more item. The quote “Today, Defence released a statement saying McDonald had been told it intended to sack him in mid-September and after giving him an opportunity to respond, his services were terminated as of last night“
So how should that be read? He was offered to walk or get booted?
This is not an isolated case for the military on a global scale. The header ‘Conflicting accounts open U.S. Army general’s sex crimes trial‘ (at http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/03/07/uk-usa-courtmartial-sinclair-idUKBREA260OK20140307) gives a clear view that we are not anywhere near ready for an International Woman’s day. As we see these transgressions go on and on. In addition, as we see the media staying as blasé and diminishing the exposure of such events, then you tell me how fair it all is. When we see a celebrity drink too much, EVERYONE shows it off to the maximum of the gettable coinage possible, which includes the Washington Post, the Guardian, USA Today, the Huffington Post, Reuters and such large ones. When we see the General being accused of these acts, the amount of newspapers that make it to Google page 1-3 is pretty laughable (even though the big ones mentioned earlier are also there). Why the military? Well, it is pretty much the last bastion of testosterone. When women get an accepted place without the psychic and physical assault dangers, then we are truly entering a new area. If you want to disagree with my view here, which would be fine, then compare the hits you get when you compare the allegations between Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair (US Army) and PR guru Max Clifford (UK publicist), so even though the UK is only 20% of the US, Mr Clifford gets 500% more hits on Google. As this goes into the millions I decided not to look at all of them, but is there any value to the conclusion that a PR guy is bigger coverage, or that the media does not ‘regard’ the alleged transgressions as such important news. The General did plead guilty to having an extramarital affair with the captain.
So why do I have this issue? As mentioned before I illustrated the evolution of Law staffing. A Dutch research showed only a few days ago, that the incomes are changing. Within the younger population, income between the younger populations of gender has changed. The women are now ending up with a better pay package. This is in my view clear evidence that not only is there more equality; the game is changing in a better respect for all. If both sides of the gender path will get the same chance to get the high coin, then we are entering a competitive field where the victor takes the spoils, no matter what gender the victor is, it ups the game and all will become better competitors because of it.
Yet, if we see the article CNN placed last year (at http://edition.cnn.com/2013/10/15/opinion/chemaly-tech-leaves-out-women/) we see a clearer view on why I think that there should be an International Woman’s day, but at present there is no reason to party on that event. I must state that I do not completely agree with Soraya Chemaly on her article ‘In tech world, women ignored‘. The reason for this is because as I got my training and degree in IT, the amount of women I saw was a massive minority. When I got into the data game in the 90’s, the women represented a presence of a mere 5% would have been overstating their presence. If getting to the top takes 12-15 years, then it will be at least another decade until we see a visible level of female presence in the tech world. There is however another side to this. When we consider tech PR companies like ‘Panache PR‘, we would see that the founder Cathy Campos is regarded as a global authority in the gaming industry. I met her in the days of Robert Maxwell, as she was the visible side of the marketing of Mirrorsoft (1989) and her drive to market the visibility of games by the visionary Peter Molyneux were ground breaking. She is not just accepted by all, I reckon the newbies in this field will consider an internship with someone like Cathy as the start of a possible golden future.
One of the statements I do not agree with is “The tech industry has a well-documented pipeline problem, one largely the result of gender stereotypes that reach into the educational system” Really? When I was into gaming, meeting any woman who was into games was regarded as a joke, both genders thought of games and gaming as uncool, nerdy and not worth the effort. That view only seriously started to change around the time the Xbox 360 was announced to become the hot potato of the future. So, basically, in that tech field women are less than one console generation old. When we look back to the early years we see the names like Roberta Williams (Kings Quest and a few others), Jane Jensen who worked with Roberta Williams on KQ6. Dona Bailey, who is an Atari Legend as she was one of the founders of Centipede, which is still regarded as one of the better arcade games of all times. Lastly there is Graner Ray who worked on Ultima VII (my favourite RPG series). She entered this field late in the Ultima series, but giving it artistically a unique view. So, when we consider these 4 women to be at the foundations of gaming, is it a wonder that the female population in this tech field is still small? Nowadays, we see a much stronger female representation in the gaming field, and many of them are outstanding in their own rights.
This is why I do not completely agree (not opposing either) the view we see at http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/7/5408194/how-smarter-schools-can-help-break-the-game-development-boys-club. I personally have never cared about who wrote the game, only that it was a good game. Consider that Kings Quest was one of the first PC games I loved. It was made by a woman and that never mattered.
So is it about the game or the developer? This is why I opposed the quote from Soraya Chemaly “Controlling women’s access makes men keepers of speech, keeps sexist status quo“. No! The gamer wants a good game, value for money, so anyone can get into this field with a good product. I reckon that especially in places like India, women could grow into this field as they offer originality in gaming through iTunes (iPad) or Google play (android). I reckon that 6 successful new female developers are all it takes to prove my hypotheses in this case. As additional female developers enter the field from MIT game lab and UTS (and other universities of course) we will see a clear shift. I do have a few questions to my own train of thought, which was caused by the quote I read (at http://www.polygon.com/2014/3/7/5408194/how-smarter-schools-can-help-break-the-game-development-boys-club) “Indie developer Mike Bithell tells us the lack of women in development ‘monumentally embarrassing’ for the games industry“. It raises my concerns on how wrong I might be, but is that because of the games developed, or by the games that get funding? You see, I focused on the gaming side, because that side I know from various sides. As I see women in Law proceed to the high places, I feel that my views remain correct. The ones who now will get the high posts are the ones I study with at University and they are truly good at what they do. That view is to some extend reaffirmed by the NY times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/12/opinion/great-expectations-for-female-lawyers.html). The quote “Of course, the attrition rate is high for men, too — but not nearly as high; in American law firms, the overwhelming majority of partners are men” shows that even though the men are in a massive majority, these are the partners that came from law school 12 years earlier. It took a while for new generations to get into these seats and as such the women we study with are likely to be the majority of high law ranks as they continue their law careers over the next 10-15 years.
When we get back to gaming we could see a correlation with the evolution of high placed women in gaming. If we accept the quote in the previous link affirms my position “Women make up only 11 percent of the total of those pursuing a career in the games industry as of 2005“. So, women do not select this track, which means that it will take some take until the top of gaming has an equal female representation. Yet, is there unfairness in this? When we see a current coverage of only 11%? So as time progresses we see 1 in 20 making it to the top, not because there is inequality, but because only 5%, which is half of the coverage proves to be that good and the math is on my side as I see it. That same math which predicts that over the next 10 years the women in high law positions will likely double, that same curve will apply to the gaming industry as women pursue in several fields they will take the lead as times passes. The issue that many ignore is that this evolution has been just a little over 2 generations and as we see the gender changes in fields, the growth of women in the area of visionary and evolutionary powers, moved to equality to encompass middle managers, which now leads to upper management, this is not a bad record.
As for International Woman’s Day, I am not against it, or against the visibility. The issue is that the field remains unequal, especially when the media is handing us a ‘stacked’ deck. How eager they are to steer away from certain trials, whilst in most of these cases they just spout the same ‘average leveled‘ information. The stacked deck is not in the direction that the BBC shows (at http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-18187449). As I stated my view, that over time the percentages have shifted and they are shifting even more, but consider the issues as we saw it in regards to Jimmy Saville, not just what he did, but as alleged how those around him are stated to have reacted and how the matter was dealt with for several decades, that part seems to be ignored to a larger extent. Even now as we see the events unfold, we see the Saville jokes, we see the investigation, but the ‘support system‘ around Saville, as he got away with the amount of events does not get the media scrutiny it is supposed to be getting. So, this is not just about the women in general, but the ‘old boy’ groups as they remained around for too long a time. This is the case that many articles made, but I personally see this as the ‘wrong side’. I would much rather see how we see that now in Law, and how women in new fields, like Technology, Gaming and other new areas can more easily inhabit these areas and they could be ruled by the best in the field, no matter what gender. That is the side that does not get enough visibility. It should and the media should use moments like International Woman’s Day to show what is possible, because if it is about inspiration, it should be about where opportunity lies, not just where some ‘stated’ view on the places where the uphill battle remains. This does not mean that I am now opposing my own words, but that it takes time to get women in these top positions, which they achieved within 2 generations (banking examples: CEO Westpac and Christine Lagarde, IMF). When we look at a new field like gaming, which is only now entering its second generation, women are on an equal field, as there is little to no historical entry to content with.
In the end a true visionary will always be successful and get funding, simply because being the first implies that this person is the best and new fields are always ruled by the visionary (closely followed by the evolutionary visionary). Consider this last point; would it have made any difference to the success of Facebook whether it was Mark or Marcia Zuckerberg who invented it?
I feel certain that this would not have made any difference to the global change it brought.