Today we have a guest editorial from Jen McCown, one half of the MidnightDBA team. I asked Jen to write on this simple statement: are women and men different? This week is filled with guest editorials that tackle this subject, and I hope you enjoy them. - Steve Jones
In IT in America, overt sexism is all but gone, opportunities are more or less equal. Pay isn't, but we're talking about the reasons why, and that topic has the President's eye. So, why are we still talking? Because we're not done yet.
We want to eradicate the last of the That's-Not-For-You-Missy cobwebs. We want to find out why we're making less, and narrow the wage gap. And we want to find and avoid whatever is keeping women out of choosing a career that is interesting, rewarding, and well compensated.
We're at the point where stories of discouragement are becoming a rarity, but women are still writing blogs and articles, and still telling stories. This is exactly the right thing to do - talk about it as it comes up, and let the debate circle around again. The more a good idea is communicated and passed around, the better that idea takes hold.
Now, to the wage gap. I believe this is a fairly complicated subject... we can't always boil it down simply to "Woman A usually makes less than Man A for the same job" (though the February 2010 Pipeline’s Broken Promise report shows that this is sometimes the case). What other contributing factors exist? Inquiring minds really do want to know.
I may well be biased, but IT is an excellent field. I get to solve problems and be the caretaker of the core of the business. What I do MATTERS, and I'm well paid for it. Plus I get to sit down for a living (ask anyone who doesn't whether that's important). Who wouldn't want this job? More to the point, why don't more women want this job? Is it the "geek factor" that's been posited? Are we still somehow under the impression (and influencing our daughters) that computers are a guy's thing? The more we discuss, and the more children's IT programs we implement, the better off we are.
Someday, we'll run out of "women in technology" things to talk about. That will be a good day.