TL;DR - no, thanks.
"So few apply because the discrimination against women in IT is systemic, pervasive, and (insofar as we can put a pin down) begins in secondary school. The years when young people come into their own sexuality - and their own understanding of sex roles - seems to be when women start to lose interest in IT. Why? Because the entire culture screams at them that IT is a male thing - that it’s part of male culture."
Is it your position, then, that there really are fewer women available to hire and so - even with the best intentions - a manager conducting interviews will inevitably be forced to hire males?
If so then this is very much what people like me, who have to conduct these male-dominated interviews, get defensive about. People talking about the gender make-up of IT always use the term 'defensive' as if that is necessarily a bad thing. If I feel that I am being attacked without reason, of being blamed for something that I am not responsible for then of course I will be defensive.
'Pointing out something bloody obvious to anyone outside the IT industry inevitably leads to a defensive claim: “I’d hire more women - but so few apply.”'
Given your own words, as quoted at the start, this would seem to be a factual claim. Why call it "defensive", then? If it is to be labelled that, then it is because it IS a defence, in the same way that telling a judge that you couldn't have been at the murder scene because you were in another state is a defence. I.e. the facts support the claims of the 'defendant'. People only get defensive when they feel they are being accused of something.
This issue almost inevitably involves one side saying things like "just on this side of misogynistic" (WTF?) and the other getting offended and therefore defensive.
I was going to call it a "conversation" but it's not. It's one side that feels it has the moral high ground because it is representing a minority (in the situation) preaching about how bad everything is and the other side saying "if you're going to accuse me of being part of the problem then you can fuck right off".
"So have a look around your office. Seeing mostly men? Then you’re the problem.
Beg your fucking pardon? I am the problem? I don't mean to be rude but you don't even fucking know me, mate.
"Seek out bright young women. Mentor them. Give them the access they want and the environment they need to flourish."
Ahhh, I see the problem. Let me re-write that for you: "identify people based on gender and single them out for special treatment so as to assist their advancement (flourish[ing])". Yes, that sounds right.
"And if you should find yourself in yet another sausagefest, hold the men there to account. There is another gender."
Hold them to account? For what? Having a penis? What would you have them do? Should they perhaps feel guilty - ashamed that they are male? Should they have boycotted the event perhaps? Are they allowed to go if their employee has paid for them to go or should they sit their boss down for a lecture about gender equality and why going to the conference would be perpetuating the problem?
It is great that you are taking a stand on this but you are an in-demand speaker and just because you can pick and choose and get flown around to the place to sling buzzwords at people doesn't mean that the rest of us do. You are not hurting for money and, with column inches to fill and new technological developments and threats to explain to ABC audiences, you undoubtedly get more invitations to speak than you can accept and even if you didn't you are still far, far better off, financially, than the vast majority of 'sausages' reading this article. So what about where it's not so easy. What about, say, in a hospital when your child is sick? I don't mean to get personal, but would you refuse to admit your child to a hospital if it didn't have programs actively promoting male allied health workers and female surgeons? Would you yank your children out of a school that didn't have programs in place to promote more male teachers?
Yes the nursing and teaching professions are always offered as counterpoints but that's because they are excellent comparisons and, in my case, ones I know very well due to the professions of my family as well as my extended experience with the health sector. Try finding a male live-in nurse. Or, worse, try finding a male behavioral therapist and male speech therapist for someone with ASD who reacts more favourably with men than women.
Now, I am not saying that people are glossing-over or ignoring the gender imbalance in those industries but you can sure as hell bet that female psychologists don't write articles saying "look around your practice. Seeing mostly women? Then you are the problem".
Are these women "the problem"? For the record, this was the first (non-sponsored) link. What about these women? Are they the problem?
Hell no. And nor should they be made to feel like they are.
Perhaps we should blame "Hollywood" for telling men they "don’t have a meaningful role" in therapy, allied health, care, teaching and development professions an thus engineered their exclusion from these female-dominated areas. As an aside, do you know that people in nursing actually cite IT as a comparison, asking why, if women are breaking into IT, can't men break ino nursing? One of the big problem here is a sort of sexist assumption that is a form of begging the question. It is simply assumed that men enjoy advantages across the board so if they are under-represented in some profession then the reason must be that they're all too busy looking down the shirts of the women in middle-management - through the glass floor/ceiling separating them.
You are an in-demand speaker and that must be lovely for you. But just because you can pick and choose and get flown around to the place to sling buzzwords at people doesn't mean that the rest of us do.
The seems to be something about riding so high a horse that engenders a particularly accute myopia. I've heard you speak before, Mark and you seemed a really nice guy but you've made a mistake that many others with similar convictions do, which is of the form:
"I am part of MAJORITY and accept there is a problem with MAJORITY's treatment of MINORITY and therefore as a member of MAJORITY I am qualified to accept the blame for and on behalf of the rest of the members of MAJORITY."