My wife’s friend A., a mainframe programmer, got a new job recently after she’d been out of work for half a decade. She’s legally blind and deaf (although not Helen Keller levels) so she’s not a high draft pick, but back before H-1B got fully cranked up, she worked steadily for two decades. Of course, bringing in a whole bunch of Pakistani men on H-1Bs over the years didn’t exactly make the workplace a less harassing environment for a blonde.
But that’s not the point, the point is that the Real Enemy of American women is Haven Monahan.
Government resistance to releasing H-1B gender data frustrates advocates
By Sharon Machlis and Patrick Thibodeau
Computerworld | Apr 1, 2016 3:02 AM PT
When the U.S. begins accepting applications for new H-1B skilled-worker visas today, we can be certain that tech workers from India will make up a large portion of the requests.
What we probably won’t know, though, is how many of those applicants are female.
While program data shows which job categories, countries and companies are awarded the most visas, the federal government says it is not tracking applicants’ gender — although the question is asked on the visa application form. The U.S. begins accepting H-1B visa applications on April 1 for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will not release the gender data. It has rejected a Senate request for the information, as well as public records requests from the IEEE-USA and Computerworld.
“No H-1B visa should ever be issued to an unidentified person — and you can’t know who a person is without knowing their gender,” said Peter Eckstein, the president of the IEEE-USA.
If the USCIS “doesn’t know by now, it’s because they don’t want to know how bad it is,” said Eckstein, regarding the gender of H-1B workers.
The IEEE believes a high percentage are male.
Gender information about H-1B visa holders, critics say, could answer some questions about the program’s impact on the workforce.
The Anita Borg Institute, which advocates for women in technology, believes “it would be very helpful to have better data on the gender diversity of H-1B visa recipients,” Telle Whitney, the president and CEO of the institute, said in an email.
“Our anecdotal experience is that most H-1B visa recipients are men and that this can have a negative impact on increasing the participation of women in the technical workforce,” said Whitney. “It is likely that this also negatively impacts underrepresented minorities.”
… In 2013, Karen Panetta, a professor of electrical and computer engineering at Tufts University who was representing the IEEE-USA, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and told it that as many as 85% of the visa holders are men.
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has unsuccessfully sought information about the gender of H-1B workers, cited Panetta’s testimony in seeking an amendment to the 2013 Senate comprehensive immigration reform bill.
Grassley’s amendment prohibited all employers from displacing women 180 days before or after they apply for a foreign worker. The amendment failed, although the comprehensive bill passed the Senate. It was not taken up by the House.
Gender data is a curious omission considering U.S. government initiatives such as TechWomen, which is aimed at supporting “women in leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East”. And, there’s also the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s stated aim of “increasing the participation of women and girls — as well as other underrepresented groups — in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
Computerworld filed a FOIA request for H-1B gender data last year and was told that providing such information would be “unreasonably burdensome.”
“In order to determine the gender of H-1B applicants, USCIS staff would have to manually search each applicant’s immigration file, an unreasonably burdensome and costly requirement because it would require agency personnel to request, ship and manually review thousands of immigration files,” wrote Alan D. Hughes, associate counsel at the Commercial and Administration Law Division of the Department of Homeland Security Citizenship and Immigration Services in denying Computerworld’s appeal to receive gender data.
True, but I’ve heard of this breakthrough device called a computer. You can have somebody program it to count up what percentage of the programmers the U.S. government is inviting in from the Subcontinent are male.
In other words: The government chooses to keep track of applicants’ country of origin but not their gender.