I’m happy to report that Barbie is now a cognizeti, a digerati, … yes even an IT Professional! This year’s new Barbie is Computer Engineer Barbie.
Several months back, I encouraged all my friends and followers on Twitter to vote for the IT job for Barbie in Mattel’s recent public job selection for the eponymous doll. That encouragement was founded in an experience I’d had years earlier – becoming a dad to a very beautiful baby girl. When I was growing up as a kid, I clearly recall how odd it was for a woman to have a career outside of a handful of “traditional feminine jobs” like teacher, nurse, telephone operator or secretary. It wasn’t until years later, as a new dad, that I realized how asinine this preconceived notion really was (and, in fact, still is in many cultures around the world). I even wrote about this a few years ago in my personal blog, where I mentioned how I’d love to see my daughters grow up and take on an IT career.
Sadly, many IT professional societies report dramatic imbalances in gender demographics. For example, the IEEE Computer Society reports that their membership is only 7% female. Similarly, universities in the USA shows about a 10% representation of female faculty and 14% of their students in computer-related majors.
One of the things I’d always found to be rather amazing about PASS was it’s strong emphasis on Women in Technology (WIT). In fact, as far as database professional societies go, PASS was the first to work hard to make WIT prominent within its culture (although I believe that the International Sybase User Group had a WIT group before PASS). I’d like to also give credit to the women within PASS who made this happen. I can’t even begin to list them all here, but without them, WIT at PASS would not have been possible. A few women who immediately come to mind include Rebecca Laszlo, , Kalen Delaney, Denise McInerny, Kathi Kellenberger, Stefanie Higgins, Lynda Rabb, Kimberly Tripp, and many many more.
All of these outstanding women deserve accolades for making PASS a welcoming place for women. Don’t think that it’s a big deal? You should attend an IT conference without a strong WIT community – you’ll see the difference in 30 seconds flat. (I’m not going to name any names here. But attend the top conferences for certain IT companies headquartered in Redwood City, California or Armonk, NY and you’ll see what I mean).
So, thank you ladies, for making PASS in particular and the overall Microsoft SQL Server community much better for everyone by making it better for women. I hope to see this trend continue and for your contributions to continue to improve our community.