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Women and Men - Same or Different? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 7:19 AM


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Thanks, Wendy, and some interesting thoughts.

I do think that we need to help nurture women more to think about, or try, technology. There is definitely a lean from kids to go in their own direction, but I think it's more important to ensure that our kids know there are choices, and encourage them to try IT roles if they have an interest, not be put off by stereotypes or peers.







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Post #997534
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 7:37 AM
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Grant Fritchey (10/4/2010)
Hey Wendy! Excellent editorial. 110% agreement. You really couldn't have put it any better.

BTW, regarding boys & girls & toys, I have twins, one boy, one girl, our intention was to raise them identically, same toys, all that stuff, because we really do believe in equal treatment, equal opportunity, everything you're writing about. Well, unfortunately, we ran full tilt into, what I assume, is nature. The girl automatically rejected any toy that wasn't pink & fluffy & girly. The boy gravitated straight to boy stuff. There was a bit of cross-over, but our equal approach was superceded by the kids wishes. For what it's worth.


Evolutionary psychology enters into the discussion here. We are mammals, and mammals universally display somewhat different behavior between genders. This can range from subtle (dogs) to extreme (cattle), to somewhere in the middle (primates--us). This is not arbitrary, over millions of years different behavior strategies are optimal (in a reproductive sense-- which is all that natural selection 'cares' about). The most successful ancestors (male and female) were the ones that provided the majority of our physical and psychological structure. [There is a whole lot about the reasons for these strategies that is too long, and off subject, to examine here]


Experiments with baby monkeys given free access to toys showed that the females paid much more attention to the doll-like toys, and were much less interested in the others.

This does NOT mean that people are rigidly cast into specific roles, but it does suggest that some patterns will be observed.

Which is my point: We probably will always show an overall statistical difference in how genders persue their careers and life choices. But we must, absolutely, be sure that arbitrary expctations are not used to impede anyone's employment or legal rights.



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Post #997551
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 7:37 AM
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Bravo! Exactly the same situation here - the DBAs are females from the seventies, the network guys are younger and, you guessed it, all guys.
Post #997552
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 7:47 AM
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Seventies-era DBA responding here...

Here's a telling difference - I take drumming lessons so I can play in a pipe band with the boys. At my last lesson my teacher asked me when I'd join a 'real' band. My reply? I'm not ready - I don't know the repertoire, etc. I need to be fully prepared before even trying. His replay? Nah! Jump right in! You'll learn the music soon enough.
The point? I wanted to be totally competent, to ace any tryout.
He wants me to take a risk and reach beyond my grasp.

At work, I have an MS from Johns Hopkins. SO over-qualified! There's no way I'll ever use anything I learned in that program.
So maybe there's something to it, in taking a risk?
Somehow it feels more logical to be over-qualified than to take a leap and fail?

Anyway, I see men taking more risks and demanding more pay, whereas women will take the job that is convenient, at the pay that is offered.

True or not true?

Post #997566
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 7:59 AM


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cmcc (10/4/2010)

Anyway, I see men taking more risks and demanding more pay, whereas women will take the job that is convenient, at the pay that is offered.

True or not true?



I'd say not true. While some men might try for more pay, what I typically have seen with many people, men and women, is they take the pay offered. Most don't ask for more, especially in an interview.

I think men are more likely to take a job that requires more of them time when they have a family than women, but I think that's a cultural thing where so many husbands expect their wives to do more of the home care. A generalization to be sure, but I think a lot of men struggle with their wives being on equal, or higher, footing in the job market.







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Post #997580
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 8:09 AM
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cmcc (10/4/2010)

Anyway, I see men taking more risks and demanding more pay, whereas women will take the job that is convenient, at the pay that is offered.

True or not true?



On the whole, males are more risk taking than females (just look at young men's insurance costs).

This is true outside our species, as well as within. In most species, including our ancestors, it was the aggressive males that acquired the most resources that contributed the most genetically to the next generation (interestingly a good percentage aggressive males also tended to die without reproducing, but of the males who reproduced, they made up the biggest share). Aggression does not pay off the same way for mammalian females. With substantial time and resource constraints, a conservative strategy was far more effective. Get going early and be sure you remain alive to care for the young, almost the opposite of the optimal strategy for the males.


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Post #997591
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 9:12 AM


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Generalisations are dangerous at best, so (deep breath) here come some:

I think men and women tend to show different kinds of intelligence at work.

Men seem to have a higher TIQ (technical IQ) - they are often more adept figuring out the bits and bytes of technical problems. (Apologies to Ada Lovelace and Grace Hopper, two clear exceptions.)

Women seem to have a higher EIQ (emotional IQ) - they are more intuitive about reading personalities and understanding the relationships and politics of the workplace.

Both kinds of intelligence are needed for an IT department to succeed, and neither seems more or less dispensable than the other. In work, as in life, men and women need each other to be complete.
Post #997624
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 9:21 AM
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Without trying to explain why this is, back to the stone age, let me say that I think the Technical IQ vs. Emotional IQ has some validity, but I think it has more to do with interest than ability. I have taken advantage of quite a few scripts from sqlfool.com. "That female" has a better grasp of "the details" in SQL server than I do, without any doubt. She's been more interested in it that I have been... for a longer length of time. There are other good examples. I think your hesitation to generalize is a good impulse. At least in this case, I don't think generalization has any usable value. When I'm presented with work that is well formed, organized, and thorough in this field, I don't have a clue as to the sex of the author without checking the name.

With respect.
Post #997628
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 9:26 AM
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To me, this is a very easy issue to deal with.

The legal barriers to women progressing equally in the workplace have been removed.

If women aren't choosing to enter the IT field, that's their choice. If they don't like their choice, they can change it. Not my problem.

So, if women who choose to enter the IT field aren't progressing equally (in pay or promotions), I'm interested in why.

Now, any group of people, be their group based on cultural, socio-economic, regional, or biological reasons, may well have a "group pattern" for handling a given situation.
It doesn't matter what group you pick that has such a pattern, some members of the group use a different pattern successfully. That means that members of the group have the capability to choose a different pattern and use it successfully.

So, the question isn't about ability, it's again about choice.

I have a sports hobby. I wear knightly armour and perform medieval martial arts with swords, maces, axes, spears, etc.

I have a fighting style, my "group pattern" if you will.

When my opponent rings my helmet with a sword blow delivered full-force at 25+ mph, I could complain that's unfair, because my style is just as valid as his (or her) style. But the reality is, if I'm on the receiving end of a buffet from that person on a regular basis, my style - or my execution of it, simply isn't up to par.

I don't complain about it. I just learn what they are doing better than I am at this task and I copy it. Then I do better. My style evolves and improves because I change it to what works better.

Sometimes someone has a natural advantage that I can't copy. They might be 6' 6" tall with wrists like my thighs. I could whine about it and continue to get clocked. Or, I could use my noggin and figure out something I can do that they can't, something that their massive size gets in the way of, and use their size and strength against them. Will I have to work a bit harder? Yep. But once I figure out an improvement to my style that neutralizes their inborn advantage, so will they.


So, rather than piss and moan about not getting equal pay for equal work, why not learn what career and job negotiating strategies work best and use them?






Post #997635
Posted Monday, October 4, 2010 9:30 AM
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David Lean (10/4/2010)


Sure a female doll & doll house may be hard for him to relate to. But buy him a few "Star Wars" dolls (action figures) & a doll house (Battle Star base).
I bet he'll play with it for hours.



Too right about enjoying star wars toys (never thought of them as dolls). Clone Wars are so cool!! Even his dad enjoys playing with them. Sorry traditionalists but Rex is the best!! However that said it is all about combat rather than changing nappies, outfits and taking them for walks!!!
Post #997639
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