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Women in Technology Expand / Collapse
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Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010 8:33 PM


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Comments posted to this topic are about the item Women in Technology


Best wishes,

Phil Factor
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Post #842525
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2010 11:49 PM
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Phil Factor (1/5/2010)
Some estimates describe an alarming percentage fall from 40% to 20%. Clearly something must be done to reverse the trend.</A>[/B]


Why?
This comment assumes that a balance of the sexes must exist in the industry for it to be properly fruitful/successful/valid. That's like saying we should have more women in the mining industry.

Having SOME women in the industry is essential, just like it is essential to have cross-gender input in many industries, but clearly 20% is enough for the industry as a whole to achieve it's present goals. If this were not so, there would be enormous pressure and incentive from the captains of industry and politics to improve the situation.

IMO, one of the main reasons women are not attracted to our industry is they are simply not interested. And why would they be? While women are perfectly capable of thinking logically, it is men who display this characteristic at a lower level of their thought processes.

Now, don't misread what I just said!
I'm not saying women can't do the job. Clearly, they can; and just as well as men! But for many women, their thinking patterns are predisposed another way. This is what brings a different perspective to any endeavor.

I am NOT saying that women are inferior thinkers;

Simply saying that we need more women in the industry is just not supportable by the facts; and that, I suspect, is why there is little intention other than lip service given to resolving the "problem".

Cheers
Post #842558
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 12:59 AM
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Unfortunately, in my 20+ years of experience as software developer (started at 13 years old age to work professionally - for money), I'm still waiting to see the first lady programmer. I'm not talking about seeing a lady that is working and doing the job. I'm talking about seeing a lady, that I can recognize as a true programmer. I thought once that I have met one, but it turned out that I was mistaken.

So, why we "should clearly do something"? There seems to be no such thing as lady programmer nowadays. I don't know why and I don't think I'm a sexist. It is only an observation.
Post #842577
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 1:35 AM
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Queensland University of Technology had an interesting campaign to help increase female enrolment in Information Technology entitled "Go for I.T grrl!" which, while the intentions were good, came across as condescending in my opinion.
Post #842586
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 1:44 AM
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Erm, "Lady Programmers"? Has SqlServerCentral.com ever written about "Man Programmers"?? No. So it's "Programmers" and "Lady Programmers" then. Hmmm. Maybe our terminology gives something away about our own attitudes...
Post #842591
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 1:55 AM


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Mark Chimes (1/5/2010)
Phil Factor (1/5/2010)
Some estimates describe an alarming percentage fall from 40% to 20%. Clearly something must be done to reverse the trend.</A>[/B]


Why?


If there previously were 40% and now are 20% it indicates that there's some bias at work. You can't say that women aren't interested, if that was the case, that 40% would not have occurred in the past. Maybe there's some cultural bias that's people's interests away from IT. If that's the case, we could be losing potentially top people who are interested but who avoid the profession because of some bias, and that's bad for the profession as a whole.

While women are perfectly capable of thinking logically, it is men who display this characteristic at a lower level of their thought processes.


Citation please, or is that your opinion?



Gail Shaw
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Post #842594
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 2:05 AM
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As a lady with two postgraduate degrees in computing science, who has a full-time occupation as a developer and Microsoft SQL Server certifications - I hope that I do qualify as a lady programmer. If not, please tell me why.

I think that the reason there isn't more women in IT generally is because we get siphoned off along the way - either by being directed into softer roles by management, or by customers not wanting to work with you simply due to your biology.

I think also that women are put off by a largely male-dominated environment since it is harder to for a lone woman to work in, particularly if there are some colleagues/customers who are, shall we say, very interested in your physical attributes and appearance. It's really difficult to listen to lewd comments day in, day out, and it is even harder if your customer are doing it. I don't have this in my present role so I'm lucky, but I have had this experience and it is very isolating. I don't dress in a way that invites attention, not that it should matter.

I think that, since people don't expect you to have technical skills, there is sometimes no management support for women programmers. For example, in previous roles I have been directed towards a 'softer skill' job rather than a more technical one. When I have questioned this, the reason I get back is 'some customers don't want women to do programming work'. Additionally, customers don't always want to be speaking with a geek with no social skills (you're not all like that, but face it, there are some geeks you would never put in front of a customer!) so I've been put in front of the customer instead. Since you're actively not being exposed to technical project work, it can be deskilling.

As a customer-facing consultant, I have been asked to be replaced by a male colleague because the customer's internal IT team do not want to work beside a woman. I have had experience where brand name companies have said that they don't want a girl IT technician because 'it would upset the male IT team members and the existing equilibrium of the internal IT Team'. What happens then is down to the management. I have had supportive managers who have said 'well, if you're going to be sexist, we don't want your money since your request probably isn't legal and she is our best programmer'. On other times, more often a man does go out to do the job, with support from me 'behind the scenes' because I have more experience. So, I don't get credit for my work and nothing changes.

If I do get past the door, then sometimes my work can be actively sabotaged e.g. my work deleted, files removed and replaced with rubbish and so on. One customer I had were excellent - it was the customer who spotted that a contractor colleague was sabotaging my work, and they said that they had no room for sexism in the workplace and threatened to stop the project until my company had sorted him out. Needless to say, he was questioned- when asked why he did it, he said that (wait for this) 'that he did not like working for a senior woman'. In the end, he was taken off the project, which I then completed. This sort of thing just puts women off, and I'm very glad to have had a good reputable customer who defended me.

To summarise, I think women don't program because there are too many social obstacles along the way. The earlier comments about women not being able to think logically are simply a sideshow, which directs attention away from the fact of how women can be treated and sidelined in the workplace. You would not get away with saying this sort of thing about people's colour, creed or religion - so why about biology and the role of the individual? As an experienced, bitten forty-year-old-ish programmer, I feel I've achieved a lot of things I'm proud of, and the fact that my programs are still running at customer sites should speak for itself... along with the fact that my blog has only ever attracted questions from guys who need help.

We're individuals with different skill sets and experiences, and for people to dismiss you for one simple criterion alone means that they are the ones missing out on an opportunity.
Post #842597
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 2:07 AM


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back in the days of mainframe programming, COBOL, Natural, Fortran etc, there were a lot more woman programmers. IMO this was due to the structured training programs and courses that were offered for this which allowed anyone, provided they passed the aptitude tests, to do the courses. Back then I'd say programming courses had a 50/50 male female split and graduates were then placed in suitable roles supporting large mainframe applications. It is the advent of client/server and PC based programming that has seen a shift more to male domination where learning and training has become a more teach-your-self kind of thing and where keeping up with the latest and greated gadgets and technology is what men seem to be more interested in.

thanks

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Post #842599
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 2:11 AM


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Not all the women in IT initiatives are useful. There's a group in my area that I refuse to support and I will not attend their meetings. Why? Both group membership and meeting attendance are women only. Men are not invited and, at least at the TechEd events, not welcome. My personal opinion is that's harming things, not helping.

Also, the one meeting I did attend was partially a 'pity-party'. "Woe is us", "There's no place for us in big companies", "We are discriminated against", etc, etc.
That doesn't help. Sitting and wining, especially when it's in a women-only clique, sends the wrong messages.



Gail Shaw
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Post #842601
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 2:18 AM


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Jen-574053 (1/6/2010)
As a lady with two postgraduate degrees in computing science, who has a full-time occupation as a developer and Microsoft SQL Server certifications - I hope that I do qualify as a lady programmer. If not, please tell me why.


Ditto. (Though here it's one postgrad degree complete, one in progress)
However I do prefer the term "developer" rather than "programmer". Personal preference mostly.



Gail Shaw
Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008, MVP
SQL In The Wild: Discussions on DB performance with occasional diversions into recoverability

We walk in the dark places no others will enter
We stand on the bridge and no one may pass

Post #842602
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