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Why are we still talking about Women in Tech? Expand / Collapse
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Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 6:34 AM
Right there with Babe

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karen_cote (10/6/2010)
I got a chuckle out of the 'geek factor' - that's exactly why I decided to enter the field! Finally, after being the odd-girl-out, I fit in.

There is such a drive today to make everyone gain soft skills and present a 'businesslike' front for management, that something is getting lost - I'm surrounded by a growing set of women 'analysts' with no computer background at all, who are designing systems and making a huge mess because they don't have the computer background to understand the implications of what they're doing.

There are so many roles today, why do the geeks need to change to accomodate management's idea of political correctness? The type of 'oddness' that defines a geek also defines their imagination and ability to synthezise and think out of the box. I wouldn't give up my nerd herd for any price, even if it came with more women and a larger paycheck!


Great comment. It is important the realize that equal opportunity is essential, but the people going after the opportunites in different fields may not have the same makeup.

There are peculiarities to the IT field that do not necessarily exist in other science and technical fields. While there is no behavior exclusively male or exclusively female, many people who gravitated to the IT world started out as teenagers obsessed, and I mean obsessed, with manipulating computers (and also, parallel, obsessed with gaming). Psychologically this obsessive behavior (which is often pursued to the detriment of other social contacts) is far more common in young males than young females (who tend to vary their interests more). So the 'geek' mindset (lots of intelligent people are not geeks) has a biasing effect on the field.



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Post #999207
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 6:44 AM
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Interesting debate this morning - "we need more women in _______". The question that needs to be asked is 'Why?' Are we just after statistics? Do we want more women because it makes us feel better to be able to say 'the IT world is now x% female'?

I understand the need to open the door and communicate the breadth of what is available in IT, the salary, opportunity for personal growth, the many different areas, etc. And I understand the need for IT to have people with all kinds of different outlooks and life experiences.

But why the push? Why do we have the need to manipulate or to social engineer something? Why can't we let people be who they are and gravitate naturally to what makes them happy? Is it because managers/companies wouldn't do it if not made to do it? I'm curious. I'm also curious about the salary discrepancy. What are the details? Does a woman going back to work after raising kids with say 4 years experience make as much as a 26 or 28 year old man with the same experience?

I have this rosy view, because I have had good managers the last 10 years or so, that most managers hire the best 'people' they can find for the job type and salary range and that any displaying gender or race bias are dinosaurs, soon to be extinct as they are probably making other poor judgement calls. I suspect this is my wake-up call.
Post #999217
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 6:52 AM
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What a great post.
Post #999228
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 7:04 AM
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WillC9999 (10/6/2010)
"I dragged my toddler into the data center complete with pillows and blankets for off hours calls"

Should this be regarded as a good or bad thing? It's a hell of a committment for a person, particularly a single parent sturggling to make ends meet, but is it in the best interests of the child?


It is a matter of perspective for both children and their parent(s). I remember my Dad taking me or siblings on calls when he was a Veterinarian. Was it good or bad for me at 4 to watch a calf being birthed with the assistance of chains? It was merely the result of me being with him when an emergency call came in. It sure generated a lot of discussion later--again, communication!

The good part was my daughter learned that a working parent has to juggle priorities between career and family--sometimes I could take off during the day for events (comp time is great!); and sometimes she went on emergency outages.

Thank God for the ability to work remotely now!
Post #999249
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 7:57 AM
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When my daughter was six years old, we went to a school sponsored book fair. I bought her a book that included a kit to create a battery. When I paid for the merchandise, the woman at the register said, "I didn't realize you had a son.".
I proceeded to explain in simple terms that the battery kit was for my daughter, and that she was interested in understanding and learning more about science and technology.
The woman at the register still didn't "get it".
Now, ten years later, my daughter is in high school and she is the only female in her programming class.

One of the reasons that women aren't in IT is because the stereotypes still exist. We can talk about the Mommy-track and its impact, but we still need to encourage young girls that its OK to love math and science.

I'm in IT and I'm in my mid 50's so I've been in the workforce awhile. The environment seems more positive for women and families in general. We are definitely headed in the right direction.
Post #999326
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:05 AM


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grahamc (10/6/2010)
In IT, is there really that much of a difference of pay between men and women? I used to work for a development house and the difference in pay between the male developers was shocking
...


Good question. I had a survey that said there was, but I can't find the link now. I suspect there's some difference, but not sure why.

We definitely have different salaries between people in IT. I've found that it's up to me to push for the highest salary I want, and many people (women and men) don't want to negotiate.







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Post #999342
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:08 AM


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WillC9999 (10/6/2010)
"I dragged my toddler into the data center complete with pillows and blankets for off hours calls"

Should this be regarded as a good or bad thing? It's a hell of a committment for a person, particularly a single parent sturggling to make ends meet, but is it in the best interests of the child?

I am not sure I am best placed to answer as a man without children


People have been taking their kids to work for all kinds of jobs. Is it good or bad? Who knows, but I've seen doctors, policemen (in office, not in field), etc. take kids to work when they've been called in.

I've taken my kids in at times, for short periods when I needed to. It happens. Both my little kids have gone to presentations I've given, and I think it's a good experience. They see Dad working, and understand that I meet my commitments. A good lesson to them.

I took my son when he was 9mos old to a company meeting since my wife was out of town. He slept in my arms, and management understood that these things happen. Companies have no issue with invading personal time if something is needed; they ought to understand when personal life invades company time.







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Post #999345
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:09 AM
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Clarie DeWayne (10/5/2010)
As a woman in the production side of the IT/DBA business, let alone as a single mother, I believe it is very difficult for women to be fully dedicated to both family and a 24 hour support requirement at work.


Agreed, and I've talked about this before, especially with the hubby. Recognizing that generalization doesn't cover all cases, I still have to say that by and large, women still provide the majority of the child raising today, and that we often arrange priorities differently. One of the things I would like to see in my lifetime is an increase in the value that companies and individuals put on families. Right now, maternity leave is still iffy (and short), paternity leave is still rare, and being a parent is still considered secondary to being a provider, no matter what we may say.

We're on a good trend, but it's up to all of us to keep the ball rolling.
Post #999349
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:11 AM
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Steve Jones - SSC Editor (10/6/2010)
grahamc (10/6/2010)
In IT, is there really that much of a difference of pay between men and women? I used to work for a development house and the difference in pay between the male developers was shocking
...


Good question. I had a survey that said there was, but I can't find the link now. I suspect there's some difference, but not sure why.

We definitely have different salaries between people in IT. I've found that it's up to me to push for the highest salary I want, and many people (women and men) don't want to negotiate.


Exactly... I do a lot of negotiating to get my day-rate. Usually along the lines of first discussion the rate with rate and explaining what I expect. Either the company is happy with it or not. Then when its time to have my contract renewed, its time to negotiate again. By then I should have proven myself sufficiently to warrant an increase.

I know that the UK has a "general rule" that if you want a big increase, find another job.

Post #999351
Posted Wednesday, October 6, 2010 8:12 AM
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This is a great deal for management. The carrot is that if you keep doing the job in "acting" or unofficial capacity long enough, including the nights and weekends, you'll get the title and salary "someday."


Yep, and this is why one of the great lessons of this generation (ish) has been to change jobs if you want a raise. That's another thing that the higher-ups in companies will have to get smarter about, if they want to keep talent!
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