Women and Men - Same or Different?

  • Comments posted to this topic are about the item Women and Men - Same or Different?

  • This sure is an interesting topic.

    I wrote about it in my blog ()

    My question was more why there are so few women in ICT in general.

    In my opinion the difference starts already at school.

    In general there still is a roll pattern that says that women need to take care of the children, the household and that men are the once gaining the money. As long as this pattern isn't broken, I don't believe men and women will be equal. So yes, there is a difference.

    Women need to do more to get the same opportunities and to get payed to same for the same job.

    Fortunatelly, the place where I work handles a different kind of paysystem, without the difference in gender. Guess I'm lucky.

    Vera

  • interesting article...

    And in true SSC fashion the answer is:

    "it depends"

    😛

  • Computing appealed to women far more in the seventies when I did my degree and the emphasis was on programming and not on networks, hardware, games or similar aspects of IT which appeal to the men. We see computers are a tool to do a task, whether that is creating a program to run the business, or one to enable us to communicate with friends. It's like a car - we can drive it without knowing in detail how the engine works.

    Then men went on to design the computing courses and they became the study of "the engine" - hardware/networks etc and that made them appealing to men and girls derided computing as a geeky boys thing.

    I work in a team of six in application development and four of us are women of that seventies computing era. We don't do hardware and networks, that is "the other side" - of the room and somehow a great divide. No women there.

    Maybe the rise of social networking and its appeal to women as a communication tool will change matters.

  • I just have one problem with women (not all) in the work place. The thing is lots of them do not want to think for themselves and hey, just before you go of on a tangent, I have seen some mighty impressive women in my years of working. I had encountered an IT network lady working for a company that I gave software support for. She earned a much fatter salary than me but whenever she got stuck and I was there she would ask me to please help with a network problem. Remember I said I gave doftware support and was never trained to do networking. I just basically stand there and she fixes it herself. Unfortunately my wife is also like that. Whenever a problem arises, hubby must please fix. Hey, I love her and I continuously try to give her a lift in life.

    Then I must say that there are men like that as well so, yes if they are up to it they can earn the same salary as me.:-P:-P:-P:-P:-P

    :-PManie Verster
    Developer
    Johannesburg
    South Africa

    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. - Holy Bible
    I am a man of fixed and unbending principles, the first of which is to be flexible at all times. - Everett Mckinley Dirkson (Well, I am trying. - Manie Verster)

  • Interesting article.

    I think the answer is - 'it depends'. Of course women and men should be given equal reward for equal work. However how different genders choose different career paths is a mystery for me. Are all people of the same gender even the same??

    With my young children (age 6 and 4) I have noticed how they seem to have almost 'in-built' preferences without being directed by us as parents. My 4 year old girl is mad on pink, dolls, make-up(!!) and clothes and dressing up. We never pushed her in this direction. My son is into star wars, toy soldiers and building things. He would not be seen dead in anything pink and playing with dolls. He wears anything that is put out for him (within reason as I do not think he would wear a dress) and is not fussy about going through his entire wardrobe to decide what to wear.

    However to contradict the typical stereotypes that this suggests we have noticed other preferences with my daughter. We have loads of Lego around. Whenever it is out she will build things alongside her brother. So much so that we have brought her some of her own. Whenever I am trying to do some DIY she will join her brother in fetching out the Toy tools and 'helping' me. This has been entirely by her choice - I guess she just enjoys joining in with what is going on. What this suggests to me is that my daughter is more adaptable to situations. I have never seen my son playing with dolls because they happen to be around.

    Perhaps this is the key difference in that if girls are given the chance they will tend to be more adaptable. For example women get into all sorts of sports - for example playing Football, whereas not as many boys will try traditional female sports. Perhaps this is similar in the workplace with women increasingly trying different roles that were once male only environments, whereas men tend to follow traditional roles and shy away from jobs that are seen as women roles.

  • I was disappointed by this article. I felt cheated of an opportunity to gain insight. Clearly you are well qualified & possibly able to provide new input on a complex topic of "Compare & contrast Women & Men".

    Instead you avoided the question & substituted a no-brainer question of Equality. Jumped on the popular answer of yes. Then took a quick stab as Pay Consistency & glanced off a heavily discussed but rarely concluded Nature vs Nurture debate. In short, Nothing new.

    I put it to you that No - People do not like to be treated equally. They like, & deserve, to be treated FAIRLY. We are all unique, we all have different priorities & biases. eg: Giving all your employees the same computer is annoying. Some would prefer a huge screen while others desire portability & battery life. Some desire a social work environment away from home, others detest peak-hour would love to telecommute from home. That is why the world is full of different product offerings.

    On pay equality. Few people would ask their manager for equal pay with their peers if they knew they were currently paid more than their peers. So not all women want equal pay, only those who think they are paid less than their peers do. As an aside I've never heard of "women" pushing for wage equality argue that that their male & female peers based in India should also be paid as much as the male equivalents in USA.

    I'm not disagreeing with your request of equal pay for equal work, statistics show you have a case.

    My point is "the most obvious answer is rarely the best".

    On avg gender & social variations. Most of the best managers I've had were female. Yet it is also common for 2 female employees to create a morale "black hole" as they attempt to bitch & enlist the rest of the office to "take their side" in some personal vendeta/dispute. Understanding these types of gender related differences might permit one to customise their approach to others, thus improving their happiness. I thought you might have touched on something like that in your article.

    "Treat everyone as they would like to be treated” ... that is not always the same as treating everyone equally.

  • tim.kay (10/4/2010)


    He would not be seen dead in anything pink and playing with dolls.

    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.

    I watched my twins (boy / girl) play with the same toys. When they were alone it was interested to see the completely different scenarios they played. My son was typical; conflict & preparing for conflict, just like the movie taught him. My daughter had all the lego dudes & action figures talking & chatting with each other. They very rarely destroyed anything or blew it up.

    Genders with the same social background are very similar but they often come at the issues from quite different perspectives.

  • 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.

    ----------------------------------------------------
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  • Party On Dudes!

  • 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.

  • 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.

    ...

    -- FORTRAN manual for Xerox Computers --

  • Bravo! Exactly the same situation here - the DBAs are females from the seventies, the network guys are younger and, you guessed it, all guys.

  • 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?

  • 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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