Black Women in White Male Industries

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You have chosen in this paper a topic that has both national and international significance. How indeed inclusive, fair, and just are so called “inclusion or set-aside” initiatives? How open and accessible are the programs to new immigrants and minorities? These are all very interesting questions that your paper raises.

But you don’t fully address whether or not the rational approach considers such programs to be either fair, effective, and even legitimate. Are these programs acceptable or legitimate in the eyes of a policy analyst or maker who subscribes to the rational choice perspective? Why and why not? Your paper also seems to contain a few sentences at the end that are not properly paraphrased but yet are not under quotation marks. This needs to be paraphrased or removed or quoted to avoid plagiarism.

Please find below your Paper 1 Grade and your reviewed paper with my track changes and comments, including some of corrections or suggestions mentioned above. You can make these corrections to improve your score

Paper 1 Grade (Tentative, Revise and Resubmit)




Brief Introduction and Outline



Discusses themes in the readings



Draws from and summarizes key readings-at least 3 different readings and authors



Initiates and sustains a central thesis and argument



Scholarly and organized writing with sources and citations









Grammar, Punctuation, and Style





Black Women in White Male Dominant Industries:

Are Set-Aside and Inclusion Programs Really Assisting?


When you spend your whole life being marginalized and excluded, you can develop what they call a chip on your shoulder. Resentment. Frustration. I will not say that this has happened to me — but neither will I say, that it has not. Taking a hard look at oneself is as difficult and challenging as it is to look really at others — without prejudice, bias, or judgment. As part of the new orientation towards social justice, the so-called social policymaking warriors like to think that they are taking the side of the marginalized, the forgotten, the repressed and oppressed, minorities. Individuals like myself who have tried to look for equality — only to find that principles and ideals are fine to talk about, but in the real world, human beings act for motives separate and distinct from the ideals that we all presumably share. I seek to represent the so-called “beneficiaries” of the public policies that pertain to diversity and inclusion. Basically, inclusion and set aside initiatives are not independent of, or different from, affirmative action. Within the construction sector, for instance, such programs form part of positive actions. Hence, this paper aims to explore the topic of inclusion and set-aside initiatives for Black females, with a goal to gauge how successful they have been in achieving their purpose. To this end, the paper provides the background, the rationale behind inclusion and set-aside initiatives, and the initiatives’ advantages and drawbacks, prior to arriving at a conclusion.

Background to my issue

I don’t know why exactly, but I always wanted to be different — to make an impact. When I immigrated to the United States six years ago, I wanted to make my way in a career that black women normally did not go into. I did not want to cook, cater, clean, care for children — in short, I did not want to take part in those activities that my ancestors had taken part in as slaves in the States, or anywhere else in this world. I set about researching which field was “no-black-woman-land” and I found it — the Oil and Gas industry. It was here that I wanted to go. I knew there would be obstacles, but I also knew that there were programs that had been developed to help minorities, women, the disadvantaged and small business enterprises so as to help create opportunities for those not fortunate enough to be part of the power structure, the elite, the privileged. However, what I soon found was that these so-called programs for the disadvantaged were quite restrictive. For instance, a black company was required to own assets (refineries, etc.), and white women were considered disadvantaged — because of something as natural as their sex. I found that black women had to compete with black men for the same contracts while white women did not have to compete against white males. In this industry, the blacks are set against one another — as though there was some underlying desire on the part of the Establishment to see them run one another out. All the while the white woman is considered our equal, even though she had access we didn’t have, be it white money or fronting for her white husband. What I found was a complex web of racialization, racism, white privilege and the “frontier myth and the romanticized cowboy hero” (Miller, 2004, p. 47). A black woman in the Oil and Gas industry was a like an alien walking on earth, speaking and talking like a human being — but obviously from some other galaxy. I was tolerated — as much as I had to be — but I was never accepted on the same level as the white woman or the white man. I ended up asking myself the question: “What policies are underpinning these programs, and who are the policymakers that came up with these policies, and why? Are these set-aside and inclusion programs really assisting?”

I am reminded of the study by Williams, Kilanski and Muller (2014). They wanted to know why the diversity programs initiated by the U.S. oil and gas companies in the 1980s failed to address issues of inequality within the sector. They interviewed women about their workplace experiences and found that in spite of the objectives of these programs, they only ended up reinforcing gender/racial stereotypes and solidifying male dominance. I read their interviews with considerable attention, identifying with the experiences of the women — affirming that what they said was true: my life was a perfect illustration of that fact. What I could not help but wonder was why something like the color of one’s skin or the sex of one’s anatomy could be viewed as a such a factor, such a variable in that person’s ability to lead, to climb, to provide, to be.

Rational policymaking and social issue

The document presents the synthesis of knowledge on the rational policymaking theory, based on the reading and my experience of discrimination within the oil and gas sector. It builds upon the common understanding of what rational policymaking is and draws on some key references on the relevant subject. This rational model tries to understand all the alternatives, considering all the consequences, and select the best options. It is concerned with the best way (best in terms of promoting the realization of the programs objectives) to organize government and their processes to assure the adequate flow of information, accurate and unbiased feedback, and the weighing and measurement of values (Clemons & Mcbeth, 2001, p. 43).

Each state in the country proscribes its own connotation and legitimacy to ‘set-aside’ programs and may vary by way of their implication. Some states have established these initiatives in their legislative framework, whereas others have instituted them as social initiatives for guaranteeing equality. However, on the basis of criticisms by the analysts with regard to legality of initiatives not based in law, such initiatives ought to be able to survive judicial review, as their basis is economic and social equality, as part of the constitutional clause on “Equal Protection.” The initiatives are formulated with an aim of successfully increasing individual entrepreneurs’ and small companies’ participation in the city contracts, in economically advanced areas. Hence, one can argue that set-aside initiatives are indeed legitimate.

I aim to seek further information about this particular concept, research topics or case studies that will allow me to apply the rational policymaking theory, to assess if it helps to identify the weak parts of policymaking in the target region with the following rational model objectives as a minimum:

1) Define the problem

– (Re)Define the sense and the role of side-aside and diversity programs in industry and business development, and assess (from my personal experience as a start) if the problem has been adequately defined in the context of its policy;

2) Assemble evidence

Gather as many resources from credible bodies, institutions and government on current policies, disparity studies, case studies, and in-person interviews. Further investigation of other policy areas such as global warming, transport, agriculture, fisheries, regional policy and tourism and how these policies are impacted by side-aside and diversity programs;

3) Construct alternatives

Develop alternative methods of addressing the problem where current methods fail and link those to strategic efforts;

4) Select criteria

The criteria for solving the problem has been assessed and must comply with certain standards. These standards are known as “competitive public procurement bidding standards.” They are usually identified in a specific statute, or they are developed through case law or both. Competitive bidding must standards dictate that:

(1) the bidding process must be open and transparent;

(2) the government must be fair and unbiased, and;

(3) the government must place all bidders on a level playing field, and;

4) where the contract is set-aside for a certain minority group, that group is correctly classified, and the criteria for classification is deemed fair.

5) Project outcomes,

The expected or desired outcome of the project is clear and should by no means seek to disguise or attempt to “pose” as being assistance if it is not. The targets set as outcomes should also not be the be-all-and-end-all. The current trend is that institutions set low targets and when those are met, they no longer engage and the efforts.

6) Confront trade-offs,

The trade-off of addressing the issue or of not addressing the issue is acknowledged

a. Trade-offs are described and agreed upon upfront. This can be in the form of discounts, tax breaks, job creation, etc.

b. Outcomes of trade-offs are clear and should be recorded, communicated and celebrated.

c. Costs associated with trade-offs are evident as both the institution and the minority business are gaining from the trade-offs. Currently, this is not considered as ROI (return on investment) by neither party.

7) Stop, focus, narrow, deepen and decide,

The process/project have received adequate reflectionanalyses and decision-making.

a. A period of substantial reflection and review of each of the issues/criteria has been made.

b. Communication with stakeholders has taken place to ensure optimal reflection and information sharing. Interviewing minorities firsthand to understand their challenges are also encouraged.

c. The adequate focus has been achieved; there is no extraneous intervention or exposure to the superfluous material, and every aspect has been examined and verified to form the basis of a solid strategy.

d. The project has been sufficiently narrowed so as to address the problem succinctly and efficiently to ensure that most stakeholders will benefit.

e. The project has sufficient depth so as to be successful and worthwhile and will not just end up as a proposal that sits on a shelf and gathers dust. It must be realistic and practical (achievable).

f. A decision has been reached regarding the issue/project, and consensus has been reached with at least the majority of stakeholders. Giving the stakeholders “ownership” is also very important to garner ongoing support.

8) Tell your story

Ensure that a narrative has been constructed that details and describes the process utilized, how the impact will be measured, communicated, and celebrated.

Pros & Cons of the rational policymaking model

One positive of this model is that it attempts to improve the content of public policy. Some of the negatives include the gap between planning and implementation. It specifically looks at the technical competence but does not speak to the role of people, entrepreneurs, leadership, management, etc. I also think that simple solutions may be overlooked.

Non-rational model theory for public policy

Non-rational indicates a class of public policy making that is heterogeneous in nature and designed to subdue the challenges that are brought about by the rational theories. This type of policy making has been referred to through such terms including; procedural rationality, bounded rationality, and satisfying. To date, there isn’t a universally acknowledged definition of non-rational theories. Nevertheless, there are various characteristics that distinguish this model from rational models of policy making.

Characteristics of non-rational model

Non-rational model of policy making brings out the ideal of optimization. Optimization involved maximization, or even minimization, of the potential of a given variable across a number of possible alternatives. For example, the satisfying theory has the level of aspiration being the chrematistic. This means an individual operating under this theory has to choose the alterative that best meets or even exceeds the set aspiration level (Gigerenzer, 2001). The aspiration level, which is normally pre-set, allows the individual to make a decision without necessarily having to evaluate all the alternatives.

Non-rational theories are descriptive in nature. Basically, this model of decision-making involves psychological plausibility of actual humans, that is, the capabilities and the limitations of the typical/normal human. Non-rational theories can therefore be said to be oriented towards describing the process and the outcome involved in making a decision. Based on this characteristic, this model is illustrated as the best that can be done by an organism with limited time and knowledge of an issue.

Lastly, searching is an essential part of non-rational model of policy making. In non-rational model of policy making, searching is done under simple stopping rule and not optimal stopping rules. Search in this model can take either kings of information; alternatives or cues. An example of an alternative is either a house of a spouse, while cues would be the reasons for choosing a given house. Of the various classes of non-rational theories, two are concerned with these types of search; aspiration theories are concerned with searching for alternatives whereas fast and frugal heuristics are concerned with search for clues.

Non-rational theory sources

The majorities of non-rational theories depend on cognitive building blocks for example, aspiration levels, stopping rules, and search heuristics. However, and given human beings are not only intelligent but also emotional, emotions are part of the sources for non-rational decision-making. Emotions have been shown to contribute to the decision-making process just as done by fast and frugal cognitive heuristics (Gigerenzer, 2001). For example, falling in love can be viewed as being a powerful stopping rule that brings to an end the search for a partner and at the same time helps to strengthen commitment to the partner. The guarantee for commitment is in this case is emotion and it’s able to do so effectively than a non-emotional mind would. Likewise, parental love has the power to prevent cost-benefit computations therefore the questions of whether it is worth to endure the pains of childcare don’t arise at anytime. As a result of love, parents focus solely on the task of protecting and providing for their offspring. Other powerful emotions include disgusts, anger, and fear which have the potential to fasten decision-making even to the point of having no decision to be made.

Social norms and social imitations are another source for non-rational decision-making. These too serve as guidelines and they limit learning and information search (Gigerenzer & Selten, 2001). An example of such social heuristics is ‘prefer friends preferred by other” or “eat what others are eating” has the power to guide behavior and prevent the search for more information. In addition, such heuristics have accrued benefits for example, for the above two example, the benefits would be reduced likelihood of social disapproval and food poisoning respectively. These types of social heuristics are found throughout social and economic societal structures.


Pursuing the analysis of this model instigated me towards an exploration of other models as well. Personally, I found the strategic planning framework of the public sector most appealing. The framework strives to integrate the rational and incremental public policy strategies, seeking to bring together routine requirements and long-range future strategies. The matter is not perceived as entirely defined by the current political scenario, and does not overlook risks. It adopts a dynamic outlook towards the future, employing a politically-sensitive, uncompromising, and outward-looking focus. It emphasizes decision-making (as opposed to the rational framework), whilst integrating rational evaluations with political and economic and political evaluations (as opposed to the incremental framework). It tolerates debate and is thus, participatory, in addition to, clearly, being debatable. Lastly, it focuses on the entire issue’s fate; that of secondary issues is not important.


Clemons, R., Mcbeth, M., (2001). Public Policy Praxis: A Case approach for understanding policy and analysis.

Gigerenzer, G., & Selten, R. (Eds.). (2001). Bounded rationality: The adaptive toolbox. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Gigerenzer, Gerd. (2001). Decision-Making: Nonrational Theories, International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol. 5, pp. 3304 — 3309

Miller, G. (2004). Frontier Masculinity in the oil industry: The experience of women engineers. Gender, Work & Organization, 11(1): 47-73.

Williams, C., Kilanski, K., Muller, C. (2014). Corporate diversity programs and gender inequality in the oil and gas industry. Work and Occupation, 41(4): 440-476.