EppsNet Archive: Women in IT

What Can Be Done About Gender Diversity in Computing?

6 Oct 2015 /
Gender

That is the question posed in, among other places, the October 2015 issue of Communications of the ACM.

Since gender is no longer a biological imperative connected to one’s physical anatomy, there’s now a simple answer to this. Men (and women, but that’s not relevant to this question) can identify as either gender, independent of reproductive organs and chromosomes, and a thoughtful consideration of the uniqueness and validity of every person’s experiences of self requires a societal stamp of approval.

Google or Facebook or any organization that wants to improve its gender diversity metrics can offer some modest incentive (could be financial, could be you use the women’s locker room at the company gym … use your imagination!) for workers to identify as female. Have a 50 percent female workforce by Friday!

Now that I’ve written this down I’m thinking that maybe I should be starting up a diversity consulting firm rather than giving the idea away for nothing. Room for expansion: Racial identity is fluid now as well (see here and here).

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Occam Has Mislaid His Razor

18 Apr 2013 /
William of Occam

William of Occam

Silicon Valley Discriminates Against Women, Even If They’re BetterPBS NewsHour

An academic says that Silicon Valley is “not a meritocracy.”

He doesn’t offer any evidence to support that. He just looked around and noticed more men than women in the high-tech workforce.

The fact that there are more members of Group A doing X than there are members of Group B doing X is not evidence that members of Group B are being discriminated against in their efforts to do X.

In particular, he says that only 3 percent of tech firms in the Valley were founded by women, as though founding a tech firm is a fun thing that everyone should want to do.

Founding a startup is an ultra-high-risk activity that requires insane amounts of time and sacrifice. Do you want to have friends? A social life? Do you have a family? Do you want to have a family? Do you want to see them sometimes?

The fact that more men than women are founding startups is not evidence that women are being discriminated against. The simplest explanation is that women just don’t want to do it as much as men do.


Free Advice for Women Considering an IT Career

27 May 2009 /

I’d just finished reading another tiresome “why oh why aren’t there more women in IT?” article when I found a former colleague on LinkedIn . . . he lists his job title as “Analyst, Software Quality Assurnace.”

Would you hire him as a QA guy? I wouldn’t, and that’s even before I saw how he misspelled “Assurance.”

The IT “profession” is chock full of idiots like this. Why anyone thinks women are missing out on something if they don’t work in IT is a total mystery.

If I had a daughter, I would tell her to be a meeting planner or a flight attendant . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Women Leaving IT Considered Discouraging?

26 Mar 2005 /

Women represent nearly half the workers in the U.S. — 46.6 percent. However, they always have been underrepresented in I.T. Even more discouraging is the fact that the percentage of women working in I.T. jobs is not growing but dropping.

Woman leaping through doorway into field

Why is that discouraging? Who exactly is discouraged by it?

Here’s a simple explanation: Maybe women don’t want to work in IT. Is there nothing more rewarding that a woman can do with her life than work in IT?

IT in the post-dot-com era is a stagnant industry. A lot of people in it would like to get out of it, but they need the money.

I don’t encourage my son to get into it, nor would I encourage my daughter to get into it, if I had one . . .

Thus spoke The Programmer.