Why are we still talking about Women in Tech?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Why are we still talking about Women in Tech?

  • I for one look forward to when

    Someday, we'll run out of "women in technology" things to talk about. That will be a good day.

    becomes a reality. It will truly be a good great day indeed!

    Wayne
    Microsoft Certified Master: SQL Server 2008
    Author - SQL Server T-SQL Recipes


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  • 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. It seems more women are going into the Development side, but the Production side with the grueling work hours does not attract as many women into the field.

    I believe my compensation has remained consistent with men because I have negotiated appropriate salaries and demonstrated a strong work ethic and commitment to do whatever it takes to return a broken server to health as quickly as possible. My daughter knew by the age of 4 the ring tone on my cell phone for an, "Uh-oh, broken server" call.

    Back in the "bad old days" before remote computing was the norm, I dragged my toddler into the data center complete with pillows and blankets for off hours calls. She knew where the hot cocoa was kept, and she had her stack of "keep myself occupied until I fall asleep" always packed and ready to grab at a moment's notice. Now that she's 15 (already?) and working remotely is normal, she works out rides or sleep-overs with friend's for the weeks when I'm on-call or have off-hour projects scheduled.

    Women can have both a family and a demanding career; it's a matter of priorities, compromises, communication and commitment.

  • Back in the "bad old days" before remote computing was the norm, I dragged my toddler into the data center complete with pillows and blankets for off hours calls. She knew where the hot cocoa was kept, and she had her stack of "keep myself occupied until I fall asleep" always packed and ready to grab at a moment's notice.

    They might have been the bad old days - but it's good to see that your employer valued you enough to allow that. We're not allowed in the server room unaccompanied - never mind kids!

    🙂

    There is no problem so great that it can not be solved by caffeine and chocolate.
  • Are women able to contribute as much as men in IT? Absolutely.

    Can *anyone* working part-time over a prolonged period in a senior role do as good a job as someone working full-time. Unlikely.

    Isn't this the nub of the issue?

    And I would love to see the genuine end for the need to this kind of debate. Ditto skin colour, background, country etc etc.

  • Companies are always going to look for ways to save on salaries ( and any other cost ). In this economy the employee doesn't have a strong position unless their skills are rare. Since many these days seem to think that "collective bargaining" ( some form of Union or Association ) is socialistic or evil, it's up to the individual to get what their worth.

    Male or female, people should earn what their worth, generally according to prevailing averages for their skill and location. Now, I'm seeing another area besides gender where some aren't earning what their job would normally provide. This is the "acting" expert. In other words, someone male or female who has been doing the job but never got the title or salary.

    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."

    This is the situation I find myself in. For a variety of reasons, ( e.g. paying off my mortgage this month ) I now feel in a position to put my foot down on this . So I'm announcing that I'm "out of town this weekend" more and more when weekend production/database tasks come up.

    Sure, they can just appoint someone else, or even hire from outside the company, but at some point you have to maintain your self-respect and force the issue on companies that are "behaving badly."

  • 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!

  • Clarie DeWayne (10/5/2010)


    Women can have both a family and a demanding career; it's a matter of priorities, compromises, communication and commitment.

    You said it.

    "Keep Trying"

  • 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 :crazy:

    Same place used to always promote the same people, give the same people the increases (especially when the increase "pot" was small), etc. It has never been about what you know (or how good you are at your job), its about who you know!

    I work as a DBA (contractor) for an investment bank - good money

    My fiancee works as an IT BA (contractor) for a media company - earns the same as me, was earning more until I moved to my current position

    Ok, not exactly comparable jobs, but still........

    :hehe:

  • "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 😉

  • 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.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • 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.

  • What a great post.

  • 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. :w00t:

    Thank God for the ability to work remotely now! 😛

  • 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.

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