Don’t hire geeks for their cool hobbies

Not only is there massive institutional sexism in computer programming, things get worse as you move into the areas I feel most enthusiastic about. The light side — open-source projects, innovative startups, socially-engaged organisations — tends to be more male-dominated than the megacorps we love to hate.

One reason for this is that it’s a world run by guys in their 20s and 30s, with neither management experience nor formalized procedures to back them up. People trying to wing it are likely to fall back on their own prejudices. Geek Feminism gives one example, jobseeker interviews which involve talking about hobbies:

hiring based on hobbies has two major possible implications for software jobs. One is that it’s easier for people who hack on open-source code in their free time to get a software job
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The other possible implication is that “interesting” hobbies don’t necessary have to involve programming, but you do have to have a hobby and it does have to be interesting to your interviewer, which probably means it has to be something that wouldn’t be a surprising interest for a hetero white cis male software engineer
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You’ll be disadvantaged on both counts, of course, if your spare time gets spent taking care of your family or doing the household work
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Because status hierarchies in geek circles are frequently about who has the assets (in both time or money) to do the coolest projects in their spare time, I often feel excluded when other people talk about what they do in their free time, and guilty because I don’t have enough executive function to do much after work besides recharge so I can do more work the next day.

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