Every so often, the technology industry is given an object lesson in the foolishness of trying to be female-friendly. The recent affair at PyCon, in which one, and possibly two, male developers lost their jobs for the crime of holding a private conversation within earshot of a woman, is only the most recent example. But what got me thinking was the response of some technology white knights, who lamented how the woman's action "damages the reputation of everyone trying to make this industry more female-friendly."
And yet, what is the point of making an industry "more female-friendly"? Consider the television, film, and publishing industries. I don't think anyone would dispute that all three are considerably more "female-friendly" than they were 30 years ago. And yet, all three of them are also suffering from declining revenues and observably reduced quality despite their female-friendliness. Has Hollywood benefited from imitating When Harry Met Sally instead of Star Wars and The Godfather? Has fiction improved because authors increasingly aspire to be the next JK Rowling or Anne Rice instead of the next JRR Tolkien or Frank Herbert?
Meanwhile, the supposedly female-unfriendly game and technology industries appear to be doing rather well in comparison, the current cyclical downturn in the game industry notwithstanding. This leads to the obvious question: what is the expected benefit of these proposed female-friendly policies to either an industry or its consumers?
UPDATE: It appears game and technology companies are not the right place for would-be thought police to seek employment.
"Effective immediately, SendGrid has terminated the employment of
Adria Richards. While we generally are sensitive and confidential with
respect to employee matters, the situation has taken on a public nature.
We have taken action that we believe is in the overall best interests
of SendGrid, its employees, and our customers. As we continue to process
the vast amount of information, we will post something more