Brenda Konkel's Gender Balance Resolution

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Marvell
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Postby Marvell » Thu May 17, 2007 5:56 pm

jimoo wrote:I never said "coincidence", statistical chance does not = coincidence IMO.


True - and that's a good point.

jimoo wrote:2nd paragraph: It is more like a heave from half court, you are missing WAY WAY too much information to get within even the three point line of making that determination. You don't know anything about the pool of these candidates, or about the qualifications desired compared to those qualification as they are distributed in the population. You're missing WAY too much information to get to the conclusion you came to. Again, this is my opinion.


Fair enough. But what I'm saying is that these questions are beside the point - if the gender bias is upstream from the process by which someone becomes 'qualified,' then analyzing the statistics solely in the context of whether someone is 'qualified' or not is a pretty obvious waste of time, no?

jimoo wrote:In general, a level playing field does not result necessarily in a completely evenly distributed outcome, especially with small samples sizes.


Agreed. But even given the small sample size and the greater statistical variance that goes with that, I honestly can't understand how anyone would look at the swing between 19% and 50+% and not think that the difference was meaningful.

I guess that when it comes down to it I'm enough of a rationalist that I believe the numbers over the warm and fuzzy stories people tell themselves.

Don't tell anyone, though. If this gets out my post-modernist cred is shot.

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Postby peripat » Thu May 17, 2007 7:10 pm

When the State of Wisconsin decided to address gender equity the methodology they used involved compiling lists of the number of men/women holding each job title (of which there are a great number many of which are very similar). As a result most clerical jobs were upgraded, but also a number of professional level positions which just happened to employ more women than men at the time they did the position survey. They didn't look at the history of the positions (or much of anything else) so many of the job titles upgraded may have been mostly held by men two years before or two years after the survey.
I guess I'm just saying...slippery slope & way more work than anyone wants to believe

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Postby jimoo » Fri May 18, 2007 8:12 am

Marvell wrote:
jimoo wrote:

jimoo wrote:In general, a level playing field does not result necessarily in a completely evenly distributed outcome, especially with small samples sizes.


Agreed. But even given the small sample size and the greater statistical variance that goes with that, I honestly can't understand how anyone would look at the swing between 19% and 50+% and not think that the difference was meaningful.

I guess that when it comes down to it I'm enough of a rationalist that I believe the numbers over the warm and fuzzy stories people tell themselves.

Don't tell anyone, though. If this gets out my post-modernist cred is shot.



Well, 1st of all, I never said they weren't "meaningful". They probably are, but HOW they are meaningful we have no idea. Jumping to the conclusion that the meaning is that there is discrimination based on gender is a bit far fetched.

Also, I believe the numbers. But numbers in raw data doesn't really tell you much. In school I did a lot of scientific experiments where you had distributions of 10/90 in one sample and 85/15 in another and after analysis it turned out the difference was not statistically significant.

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Postby Woe Now » Fri May 18, 2007 11:06 am

Brenda Konkel wrote:Before anyone gets their nose too out of joint . . . women should be qualified for the jobs are hired for . . . and if there are men who are far better qualified, they should be hired.


Really? I didn't hear you complain about the hiring of Debra Amesqua. I'm SURE she was the best qualified to be fire chief. :roll:

Christ, you got a three-fer with her. It was like hitting the lottery for ahmmmm....progressives.

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Postby magic moose » Fri May 18, 2007 11:19 am

jimoo wrote:Also, I believe the numbers. But numbers in raw data doesn't really tell you much. In school I did a lot of scientific experiments where you had distributions of 10/90 in one sample and 85/15 in another and after analysis it turned out the difference was not statistically significant.


In this case, they are significant.

Size matters here. Of 4 or 5 positions, it's hard to make any kind of case. With 5 of 28, we get into some extremely suggestive statistical territory. According to the numbers, "something" is happening that involves gender. And that "something" is statistically large enough for me to doubt whether we are hiring the best candidates - and at the very least I want to know more.

We can approach this where we assume that the status quo is unquestionable and fine unless we are
100% iron-clad, absolutely Al Gore lock box certain of its not-fineness, or we can acknowledge that hiring is very possibly less than optimal (with current evidence) and gather the information needed to make sure we ARE actually picking the right folks for the job. This isn't a conviction, and even if it were, I might observe that convictions have been secured on less information.

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Postby Marvell » Fri May 18, 2007 12:15 pm

jimoo wrote:I never said they weren't "meaningful".


Sorry - I didn't mean to imply that you had.

The 'meaningless' comment was all Harris's.

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Postby jimoo » Fri May 18, 2007 1:59 pm

magic moose wrote:
jimoo wrote:Also, I believe the numbers. But numbers in raw data doesn't really tell you much. In school I did a lot of scientific experiments where you had distributions of 10/90 in one sample and 85/15 in another and after analysis it turned out the difference was not statistically significant.


In this case, they are significant.

Size matters here. Of 4 or 5 positions, it's hard to make any kind of case. With 5 of 28, we get into some extremely suggestive statistical territory. According to the numbers, "something" is happening that involves gender. And that "something" is statistically large enough for me to doubt whether we are hiring the best candidates - and at the very least I want to know more.

We can approach this where we assume that the status quo is unquestionable and fine unless we are
100% iron-clad, absolutely Al Gore lock box certain of its not-fineness, or we can acknowledge that hiring is very possibly less than optimal (with current evidence) and gather the information needed to make sure we ARE actually picking the right folks for the job. This isn't a conviction, and even if it were, I might observe that convictions have been secured on less information.


With 5 of 28 it is nearly impossible to make any case. 50 of 280, or 500 of 2800 then MAYBE. But a small sample size of 28 will get you nowhere.

I think you have the effects of sample size backwards.

Something may be happening concerning gender, but we have NO IDEA what that may or may not be. There simply is not even close to being enough data.

I have no idea how you can pull such conclusions from such data, unless, as I suspect, you have a bias that you WANT to see a particular problem in this case.

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Postby magic moose » Fri May 18, 2007 3:22 pm

Ironclad causality, no. Rarely is. But ironclad shouldn't be the threshold we aspire to unless the cost of action severely outweighs the cost of inaction. If I required ironclad causality for every action of mine, I wouldn't leave the bed very often.

And 28 IS enough to garner statistical significance! Fact's a fact. In a labor pool of equal qualification and availability - 5 of 28 or less will happen 0.046% of the time by chance - less than once in 2,000 times. Seems small if you look at it, but you can't just eyeball the math here.

Now, say, you have a labor pool in which a male candidate is objectively qualified 65% of the time, 5 of 28 or less still occurs 3.9% of the time - less than 1 in 25.

I'm flipping coins, yeah, but until we get a study, all we've got is coin flippage, and armchair foron analysis.

It's interesting, and I'd like to know why. The alternative is "it's not worth the time." I disagree. Even if everything is happening as it should in every respect, knowing has value.

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Postby Beer Moon » Sat May 19, 2007 8:11 am

magic moose wrote:In a labor pool of equal qualification and availability ...


You don't know that.

The labor pool in these positions, like most jobs, is equal to the ratio of gender in qualified applicants.

Unless you suggest that they selected City Manager hires from the population at large?

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Postby bluethedog » Sat May 19, 2007 9:39 am

Beer Moon wrote:
magic moose wrote:In a labor pool of equal qualification and availability ...


You don't know that.


MM admits that in the last 3 paragraphs...did you stop reading after the first two?


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