I vote for women

UPDATE: I voted!  I tried and gathered all last-minute available information. I found this website rather useful. In the end I defaulted twice. The comments also pushed me to look for some relevant statistics. I may do another post about that later. In the meanwhile look e.g. at the first chart here (Approval in mid-August of first year). Look at the last five presidents. What do you think of sex as a proxy?

Tomorrow is election day in my city, Newton MA. I am happy to participate in this election because I feel that at the local level my votes can make a difference. This is also because I am asked to cast an unusually large number of votes, something like 10 or maybe 20. This number is so high that for the majority of the candidates I will have absolutely zero information, except their names on the ballot. In such cases I have decided to vote for women.

I think many things would be a lot better if women were in control. Because women tend to have a greater appreciation for life, health, and the environment. Their actions are also generally less myopic.

This default vote is overturned by the slightest relevant information I have. In one such case, I won’t vote for a candidate who advocates a more vibrant Newton, and growth. I will vote for the opponent who instead advocates protecting the city. I want Newton to stay the way it is: dead.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much discussion of the issues I really care about, like heavily protected bike lanes.

11 thoughts on “I vote for women

  1. Tomorrow is the day I have to finalize graduate school acceptances at the CS department at University of Nowhere. I am happy to participate in this process because I know that these decisions have a major impact on the future of those accepted. This is also because I am asked to decide among an unusually large number of applicants, something like 50 or maybe 80. This number is so high that I am unable to gather enough information to completely decide, and many applications seem pretty much equivalent to me. In such cases I have decided to accept the men.

    Women tend to have a greater appreciation for social life, personal health, and a positive working environment. Their actions are also generally less myopic.

    Men are therefore better graduate students: they socialize less, take less time to care for themselves, endure poor working conditions, long hours, and deadline sprints. They are myopically willing to work on the research problems I give them.

  2. This post is made by a graduate student in TCS at a well-known school, after consulting with other TCS graduate students of varying backgrounds (men, women, whites, non-whites, etc.). The views below are entirely my own (except when stated otherwise), but everyone I talked to expressed similar opinions. I would stand by my opinion publicly, but I post this anonymously as I am a junior member of this community, and you are in a position of power in the TCS community.

    I believe there are justifiable reasons for biasing your votes in favor of women, including:
    1. A belief that there is bias (conscious or unconscious) against women, so biasing in favor to correct for this;
    2. A preference for diversity in politics, as women are currently far outnumbered by men;
    3. An interest in political positions which have unambiguous strong correlation with gender, for instance, women’s rights.

    However, I find your stated reasons for voting for women to be quite objectionable: “Women tend to have a greater appreciation for life, health, and the environment. Their actions are also generally less myopic.” I believe these to be unacceptably sexist opinions. It is not only offensive to men (who are implied to have a lack of appreciation for life, health, environment, and are myopic), but also women: this stereotypes women into their traditional/conservative role: “caring, motherly figures who care about so much more than just themselves, and offer a relief to the shortsighted, profit-oriented mans-world out there,” to quote a woman grad student in theory who I spoke to.

    Suppose instead you said “I will vote for men because they’re less emotional and thus have a temperance which is better suited for politics” (which is also clearly not true, given the current disastrous state of the presidency). I think most members of our community would find this view unacceptable. Similarly, saying “I will vote for white people because they’re more trustworthy.” This is essentially what is implicitly being done by employers (see http://www.nber.org/papers/w9873), and as a society, we agree this unfairness must be fixed.

    I think the most troubling part is to publicly profess these opinions when you are in a position of power in our community and a role-model to many. In particular, as a junior member of this community, I am afraid to post this non-anonymously for fear of repercussions.

    At the very least, I hope this post convinces you to rethink your views about men and women’s gender roles in society. I think some sort of public response, apology, or clarification of your views is in order. It is possible that I and others have misinterpreted your message, but your second paragraph was quite direct.

    1. Dear TCS Anon,

      thank you for your comment. My impression is that our views are similar. Let’s consider your point 3. You are saying that there are positions which have unambiguous gender correlation, and you include women’s rights among those. Would you also include peace? That’s what I meant by appreciation for life.

      Let me give an example. If someone had to make a decision regarding launching or not launching a mass attack killing half the world’s population, would you prefer that this choice be made by a uniformly selected man in your country or by a uniformly selected woman in your country? I would prefer the latter; even though the margin is very small, I think it’s non-zero.

  3. While I strongly advocate fighting for women empowerment, this is not the way to do it. I know tons of men who make it a point to throw sanctimonious hot air every time a women related issue is there, but allow their wives to do all the cooking, cleaning, and diaper changing. I am tempted to pigeonhole the author into this category.

    This is clearly a pathetic attempt to pander to women. It is one of the things we lots of people do so as to underscore that we care for the women cause. Don’t take it so seriously.

    1. My post isn’t about “women empowerment” as you put it. It also isn’t “hot air” but actually quite practical: I already cast two votes following my strategy, and I’d like others to at least consider it.

  4. To extend the point someone else made, I shall vote for women with better hair if presented a choice between two women. Better hair suggests better health and healthier women make better decisions~\cite{perfunctoryResearchSuggestingAboveSweepingConclusion}.

    I understand that sometimes when you really have nothing to choose, one opts for superficial/arbitrary things to break ties. You really have no options. You could of course toss a die but let’s say we don’t want to do that. Now, the universe of possible scenarios where you cannot be objective in selecting one candidate is huge. You chose to make a post about one particular scenario. I claim that this particular selection is just to paint a certain public picture of yourself. It is to pander to women (it is the current cool thing to do), and nothing else.

    I don’t know what options were available to you, but let’s say in the set of equally matched candidates, you zoomed in on the set of women because of your reasoning. What if the cardinality is > 1? How would you choose between them? At this point you can’t look at the “information” again because the initial set you formed was after you figured out they turn out equal? How would you decide between these women? Age? Color? Hair Texture? Amount of lemon they like in their hummus? Or Last name? I want to repeat my point here. If you really have three women who come out equal on all objective ways you have of assessing candidates, your final decision to choose one is going to be sort of arbitrary. I dare you to release what evaluation criteria you would use in this situation. Whatever it is, I am sure you will offend people out there. However you made a show-boaty post about the initial arbitrary decision. So I don’t think your intention behind this post is to inform. It is to put up a facade.

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