A VA Reader Says That Immigration Hurts Women In Technology Professions
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Re: Randall Burns's Bill Gates Lies about Guest Worker Visas

From: Deena Flinchum [e-mail her]

Well said, well said. However let's not forget that another way of subverting the wages of US citizens is to bring an H-1B in at a job title that doesn't actually reflect what work that person will actually be performing. Hiring a high level technology worker at a programmer's salary and then having him perform the higher level work doesn't show up in your salary analysis. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those $60K Microsoft H-1B's are in just this category.

The H-1B worker won't complain—he's in the US and doing better than he would in India. And frankly most non-IT folks wouldn't know the difference in these jobs. A doctor brought in as a nurse and then put to work as a doctor would be noticed. An Oracle DBA (database administrator) brought in as a lowly programmer (a common job title for H-1B's) probably wouldn't be.

Most people—even Congressmen—can distinguish between what a doctor does and what a nurse does. Not so with Oracle DBAs and programmers.

Also, I firmly believe that the importing of H-1B's is a major cause of the decline in women in the IT profession. Most H-1B's other than nurses and teachers are young males. Certainly those in IT are. Could businesses be using this to get around family-related leave? Who's more likely to use such leave, a female US worker or a guy from a third-world country where family is a woman's responsibility?

A CNET News report of June 22, 2005 says, "The percentage of women in the information technology work force declined from a high of 41 percent in 1996 to 32.4 percent in 2004, according to a report …… by the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA) trade group." [Study finds too few women and minorities in tech By Ed Frauenheim]

This report was primarily decrying the decline of women in IT. The ITAA, a big promoter of increasing H-1B visas, suggested that the biggest part of this decline was due to the fact that women were over-represented in administrative jobs, which had declined more than technical jobs. But even after accounting for these jobs, it noted that "women's share of the IT work force has declined from 25.6 percent to 24.9 percent." Those administrative jobs can't all be data-entry clerks.

The report also suggests that "a reduction in flexible work arrangements following the dot-com boom might also account for the reduction in the representation of women in the IT work force." Flexible work arrangements like family related leave, perhaps?

And they wonder why women aren't going into IT majors in college at a higher level.

(See more Deena Flinchum letters)

Randall Burns writes: The world economy is racist, sexist, inegalitarian—not to mention homophobic. The more the US integrates its economy haphazardly with that of the rest of the world via WTO managed trade and open immigration, the more the US will come to share those characteristics.

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