Female English major says women can be nerds

“Women Cracked Wartime Codes. They Can Fix Tech Today, Too.” (nytimes)…

It wasn’t industrial might that enabled the Allies to win World War II, nor huge oceans that protected the U.S. from the consequences of years of incompetence:

It’s not too much of a stretch to say that inclusion — the willingness to welcome genius — is one reason the right side won the war. The country also benefited from the contributions of other marginalized groups, including Navajo code talkers, Tuskegee airmen and other black troops (including women) serving in a segregated military.

The Google heretic comes back to haunt us:

More than 70 years after that war ended, it is astonishing to see doubts re-emerge about women’s ability to do high-level intellectual work. Far from being put to rest, old prejudice has found new expression in naysayers like James Damore, the Google engineer, now fired, who suggested in an infamous memo that women are shut out of top jobs in Silicon Valley because they are not “biologically” suited to the brain work of tech.

(But doesn’t this mischaracterize what the heretic said? Damore’s point was that typical women preferred to do things other than stare at screens, right? Not that women were less capable of staring at screens?)

We could kick the North Koreans all the way to Mars if only we could dilute our military’s toxic concentration of white cisgender heterosexual males:

The same animus lies behind the Trump administration’s eagerness to exclude refugees, and behind the proposed ban on transgender people serving in the military. In gratuitously acting to exclude willing citizens from military service, the president has declined to avail himself of the array of ingenuity and courage this nation has to offer. … we’re losing a key military edge and could lose a technical one, if we give in to the notion that some groups are more gifted than others.

(Is the author right about this? On the one hand, no transgender person has ever been accused of steering a Navy ship into a collision with a freighter. On the other hand, aside from Chelsea Manning, for how many transgender soldiers do we have a public record of their contributions to our nation’s security?)

What’s the educational and career background of the author of this piece that advocates for more women to be included in the world of nerds (regardless of whether additional women actually want to be in that world)? Her biography says “Liza [Mundy] has an AB from Princeton University and an MA in English literature from the University of Virginia.” She seems to have worked primarily as a writer since completing her studies in English.


  1. Joe Shipman

    November 12, 2017 @ 9:52 pm


    She misinterpreted what Damore said because she’s a stupid woman who doesn’t want to admit she’s a stupid woman so she is oversensitive and sees people calling women stupid even when they’re not.

    Stupid men are much easier to deal with than stupid women because they don’t take everything personally.

  2. Neal

    November 12, 2017 @ 10:46 pm


    “But doesn’t this mischaracterize what the heretic said? Damore’s point was that women preferred to do things other than stare at screens, right? Not that women were less capable of staring at screens?”

    This is more accurate than her one sentence summary but maybe not exactly right either. He did write about preferences, but he also wrote about other “traits” which could be construed as being more related to suitability than preference. However, even if his argument involved traits which impact suitability (not a claim I’m making here), he was careful to say that he was talking about traits with significant variance between individuals and overlap between men and women. Claiming that he wrote women are “not suited” for the work significantly mischaracterizes his argument. The most one could say is that he argued that women on average are slightly less suited for the work. Also, he did not say anything about cognitive ability. To the extent that he argued that women are less suited to the “work of tech”, he in no way argued that they are less suited because it is “brain work”.

  3. philg

    November 12, 2017 @ 11:55 pm


    You’re right, Neal. I added “typical” so that I don’t fall into the trap of mischaracterizing Damore’s heresy. Now it is “Damore’s point was that TYPICAL women preferred to do things other than stare at screens” (because, of course, with nearly 4 billion women on Planet Earth there are quite a few who do enjoy staring at screens and arguing about the merits of PHP versus node.js).

  4. ScarletNumber

    November 13, 2017 @ 7:34 am



    Do you come here just to virtue signal?

  5. Will Sutton

    November 13, 2017 @ 9:52 am


    With (M->F) transgenders, they seem vastly over-represented in crypto / security. Meaning they like it and are good at it. I suspect Alan Turing would have transitioned if he were alive today. If we want to “get better at cyber” as Trump says, it wouldn’t hurt to be more accepting. The FBI’s cyber division has a similar lament: can’t we just let these people smoke weed and work for us? [See New Yorker article on Adrian Lamo].

    The problem with putting US boots on the ground in muslim countries, is that it legitimizes jihad to expel the infidels in a large portion of the population’s eyes. But what if all the boots were Muslim? If I recall 2015 well enough, ISIS was occupying significant territory with 10,000 poorly equipped soldiers. Could we not take 20,000 refugees, send them to Paris Island, give them the best equipment ever invented, and send them back to easily wipe out that “JV team”?

  6. Neal

    November 13, 2017 @ 10:50 am


    ScarletNumber: I come here to strengthen my ideas about the world and maybe help others do the same.

  7. Lord Palmerston

    November 13, 2017 @ 12:34 pm


    In the linked article
    > the absurd stereotypes… that women are not as intellectually gifted as men.

    Absurd stereotype might not be absurd

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