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Attracting Women Into Computer Science

simoniker posted more than 10 years ago | from the trying-harder dept.

Technology 1174

Frisky070802 writes "U.S. News & World Report has an article about attracting women into Computer Science. '...That sense of isolation and inadequacy is one reason the number of women earning computer science degrees in this country has plummeted over the past two decades--with women dropping from 37 percent to 28 percent of graduates--at the very moment their presence in other scientific and engineering disciplines has soared. 'You look at the national statistics,' says Rick Rashid, senior vice president of research at Microsoft, 'and you just have to be appalled.'' It describes how some companies have even started summer camps to attract high school girls into high tech."

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Don't... (5, Funny)

cwebb1977 (650175) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945949)

Just don't show them how we use that one-handed keyboard.

Aim a little lower.... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9945950)

How about just "Attracting women" for starters....

Re:Aim a little lower.... (1)

NETHED (258016) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946037)

Its funny, cause its true.

Thanks for the tea covered keyboard.

Re:Aim a little lower.... (5, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946107)

Bold, new initiatives like this have to start with small and vaguely achievable steps, so, for starters, just work on not repelling women.


showers (0, Redundant)

w1r3sp33d (593084) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945961)

not for them you sicko's! for the smelly geeks that keep driving the girls away! That's how you get girls into IT.

HOWTO (5, Informative)

Brainix (748988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945963)

For those interested in encouraging women to become involved in Linux (and computer science), there is an interesting HOWTO [tldp.org] .

Re:HOWTO (5, Funny)

linsys (793123) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945972)

Here is a quote from that HOW-TO:

3.3. Don't call people bitches

Using the word "bitch" (and several other words) is derogatory to women, no matter whom the word is referring to. I wouldn't have bothered to include this except that it's apparently not as obvious as I thought, as I have recently heard Linux developers use "bitch" in a serious manner with apparent nonchalance"


I couldn't stop laughing when I read that...

Re:HOWTO (1)

Mxyzptlk (138505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946034)

Yeah well, how about programs that abort [fragment.nl] ?

Re:HOWTO (5, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945975)

I think the fact that there is a HOWTO for this speaks volumes about why there are not more women involved in IT.

Re:HOWTO (5, Insightful)

Brainix (748988) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946016)

I think the fact that there is a HOWTO for this speaks volumes about why there are not more women involved in IT.

I'm not sure what "volumes" it speaks, and I'm also not sure if you've read the HOWTO, but I feel the need to comment.

The HOWTO is more about the mentality (specifically the attitude towards women) of many people who are involved in technology, rather than about the female mind or technology itself. The HOWTO suggests that such attitudes tend to keep women out of technology, not the nature of the female mind or technology itself.

Sorry if I seem a bit defensive. I am male. But I have a younger sister who can run circles around me when it comes to math/science/technology.

Re:HOWTO (2, Funny)

Alranor (472986) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946100)

From that HOWTO:

Remember, most women would rather chew off a leg than be rude to a man to his face,

I really want to know what planet whoever wrote this document is from.

Re:HOWTO (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946104)

Informative? This HOWTO is awful!

"Don't make sexual advances towards women"

er...1)in which profession hobby is it ok to do this? and 2) I doubt this is a reason women avoid computer science, not that I'm any expert, but it just sounds idiotic. Men are making sexual advances on women at anytime of day and place, and I doubt that prevents women from computer science. The rest of this howto just seems to be making victims out of women. "If there is one bad apple in your group of 25 users, women will stay away. Ok... and there are no bad apples outside linux users groups, and women don't stay away from those other things. "Women are less confident of their computing knowledge". Yech. How can anybody write this. My gosh, what a broad sweeping load of crap. This HOWTO seems like a crock of shit. Just my flamebaited opinion. n/t

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (5, Funny)

laserbeak (794029) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945964)

Well you know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like a woman. You just have to read the manual and press the right button.

Re:Obligatory Simpsons Quote (0, Flamebait)

Errtu76 (776778) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945996)

Well you know boys, a nuclear reactor is a lot like a woman

they're both designed to explode?

Re:Obligatory Simpsons Quote (3, Funny)

Yorrike (322502) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945997)

Homer : Son, a woman is a lot like a... a refrigerator! They're about six feet tall, 300 pounds. They make ice, and ... um ... Oh, wait a minute. Actually, a woman is more like a beer. They smell good, they look good, you'd step over your own mother just to get one! But you can't stop at one. You wanna drink another woman!

WTF (3, Insightful)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945970)

Why do these figures matter? How about we look at how many men become nurses, or how many men become child minders (I remember a news story on one guy being accused of attraction to children for getting a job like this, even though he never harmed a single child in any way).

I don't care if theres 10%, 50% or 103%. It just isn't important to monitor such trivial things. As long as you can do your job why should it matter if you have a penis or a vagina?

Re:WTF (1)

linsys (793123) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945983)

Well didn't you hear about the crisis??

"Telle Whitney, president of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology in Palo Alto, Calif., who has been sending up alarms about the gender crisis for years"

I didn't either but it's good to know Telle Whitney is working to resolve this "CRISIS"???

Re:WTF (3, Insightful)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945987)

I was just about to mention how many nurses are women until I saw your post. Some majors are just preferred by one sex over the other. It doesn't mean schools should start a huge new politically correct campaign to convince women it's their duty to go into the sciences. People should study what intrests them, schools should leave it at that.

Re:WTF (4, Insightful)

Ba3r (720309) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946030)

The preference certainly is taught by society; and changing the traditional roles of women is something not easily overcome because many have what they think is a preference, but is probably heavily influenced by role models and experience (like female nurses).

That being said, I am not against gender roles in society, and extreme androgeny offends my better senses, but I will readily admit this is mostly due to my upbringing (and of course my hormones that tell me that a women is not attractive when she looks like a man).

Re:WTF (5, Insightful)

BabyDave (575083) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946060)

But what about women who are interested in CS, but are intimidated away from it because they see it as male-dominated? What about men who would enjoy nursing, but are afraid of the stigma (real or imagined) attached to male nurses?

Sure, don't try to force a 50:50 ratio no matter what, but it's good to encourage the breaking of badstereotypes, so people don't feel the need to take crap like that into account when chossing a career.

Re:WTF (3, Insightful)

Catskul (323619) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946086)

I agree, this push to get women into technology does the women who want to be there a dis-service. When people who were coaxed into a major that they didnt really want to be in, I think they tend to shine less when they enter the work force. If you get to have alot of disintrested women entering the Tech work force, it creates a stereo type that will unfairly be applied also to the women who actually wanted to be there, and went into tech on their own. This is the same problem that exists with affirmative action. Treating the symptoms only makes the problem worse.

Re:WTF (5, Insightful)

seraphina (722336) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946010)

Actually, it's just as important that we get more guys into childminding and nursing as well as getting more women into IT. As a female grad student in a male-dominated lab, it's essential that these role models exist. They are few and far between - the two female profs here are both slightly mad with no life outside of work. It's important to show women that you can do IT/tech/science jobs and have a life. In an ideal world it wouldn't matter if you were a man or a woman. But it does, so I think programs like these will help us get towards a more sex-neutral workplace

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

linsys (793123) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946039)

"it's just as important that we get more guys into childminding and nursing as well as getting more women into IT"

And why exactly is it important? Last time I went to the hospital for a major problem was when I got hit by a car and I woke up in the emergency room with my pants off and a female nurses fingers up my a** (no kidding I guess that's how they test for internal bleeding), and I didnt really care if it was a man or woman...

Now I agree no one should be denied a job based on gener, but because they are choosing not to makes it a crisis?

Re:WTF (2, Insightful)

SpaghettiPattern (609814) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946084)

the two female profs here are both slightly mad with no life outside of work. It's important to show women that you can do IT/tech/science jobs and have a life.

Look at your male profs, see if excell at their jobs and then see whether they have a life or not. Men without lives are probably more accepted than women without lives. I wouldn't be surprised to hear far more women than men have social lives.

Re:WTF (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946058)

I'd agree with you - to the extent that so much focus is put on race/sex/ability/etc. here in the UK that I think the biggest hinderance to getting a job is being a middle-aged white male.

It's got so far that people are saying x% of lawyers need to be black, or y% of IT professionals need to be female, or z% of your workforce need to be under 5'3". I'm seriously waiting to see some figures saying that companies must employ a certainly percentage of people who are incompetent.

At the start of the article, a woman says that she couldn't imagine being employed in the profession. Maybe it was the wrong profession for her? I've found that in IT, it comes down to a lot more than studying. MOst - if not all - IT pros I know are naturals. If you want to get into IT and you are not a natural, you are going to have an uphill battle on your hands, especially as employers have a duty to themselves to hire the best employees for the job, not someone based on sex, height, ro any other skill not related to the job in hand.

Re:WTF (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946113)

Yea, UK is becoming a fucking mess with this bullshit..

Forgot to mention our police force though..

Re:WTF (5, Insightful)

j-beda (85386) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946065)

Why do these figures matter?

Generally speaking, we as a society are better served if a broad spectrum (no pun intended) of our population are involved fully in all aspectss of society. If any field is over-dominated by one segment of our population, we run the risk of making errors in decision making and direction and value. Perhaps rather than "error" it would be more accurate to use "sub-optimal decision" or something like that.

If all doctors are males, perhaps we are less likely to have advances in health issues for females. If all child-care workers are females, perhaps our children will have difficulty creating healthy relationships with males. If all street-seepers are Western Antarticans perhaps no one will ever use the more efficient broom-twist developed in Eastern Antartica.

If all (or an overwealming majority) of any group is homogenous, there is the danger of not having a wide enough number of viewpoints to be able (or likely) to arrive at optimal solutions.

Thus, it is generally a good idea to encourage participation in a variety of fields by a variety of people.

Of course the optimal use of limited resources to encourage diversity, and the optimal level of diversity, and the relative importance of diversity in a variety of fields, is not obviously clear. It is left to the reader as an exercise...

The comp sci numbers quoted seem pretty good comared to physics... I think med school and law school are currently more than 50% female.

Re:WTF (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946088)

Last time I checked PCs and Macs were genderless and worked the same in everyones eyes..

Doctors are needed with both genders for embrassment reasons (how many girls want a guy poking around inside them for a test?).

Where as a PC dont care what flesh bag touchs it as long as it doesn't do it no harm.

Re:WTF (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946069)

Well the problem is actually in both sexes. When there is a large off balance in sexes the minority usually get discriminated against either actively (Where people do or say things to the minority) or passively (Where they just shun out the minority). Of course when the man is the minority there is little media attention to it, for some reason, but there is definitely a lot of discrimination against men in most cases it is a lot worse because men have to take sensitivity training (Actively and passively threw their life and modern american culture) while the woman don't get the same influence.

Re:WTF (5, Insightful)

djtrialprice (602555) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946108)

I used to think like this. What does it matter what the percentage divide is? We shouldn't be looking to get more women into computing. We should try to get the best people into computing, regardless of their sex.

However, after reading somet HOWTO about how to ease women into IT (I thought it would be funny) it actually changed my opinions.

Little subconcious things that us males do to women in IT segregate the two sexes e.g. hitting on them. Also, (I've been guilty of this in the past as a University Lab demonstrator) if we were helping a guy out with a problem we'd explain what to do / talk them through it. If it's a woman, we take their keyboard and do it for them - thus they learn nothing.

Oh, and really, we are one of the biggest cliques around. It's hard to get into. I just think we could do more to get women into IT, not by treating them differently but by trying to treat them the same.

Well gee (5, Insightful)

Epistax (544591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945977)

Many boys are given legos. Many girls are given dolls.

Go figure.

Re:Well gee (2, Funny)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946021)

Which is why men build machines/gadgets and women break them? /me ducks

Re:Well gee (5, Interesting)

Khali (526578) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946052)

Many boys are given legos. Many girls are given dolls.

My sister and I were both given Legos when we were young. We were both given dolls too. And it happens that I'm now into computer science, while she's baroque music. So even when given the same opportunities as kids, grown up by the same parents at the same place and going to the same schools until we were 17 year old or so, we have completely different interests now.

So, either we were born with differences, be they related to gender or not, or there are just too many factors to be taken into account through one's life and any individual signal we pick and try to analyze is completely undistinguishable from the overall noise.

Re:Well gee (1)

Epistax (544591) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946062)

I'd just like to pre-respond to the obvious reply, by saying that I chose the word "many" as not to be talking about absolute terms. Many boys are also given dolls (that is, action figures) while there might be some girl's toy which also might stimulate something other than "Accessories!" (er but I would not know).

What I am really getting at is nature vs nurture and I am willing to say many of the societal disparities between women and men aren't natural (while some are).

Re:Well gee (2, Insightful)

Mxyzptlk (138505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946064)

Hehe - my mother brought up me and my brother during the 70's, and she thought that we should be raised independently of us being boys - all in the name of equality.

Oh boy, did those dolls suffer... :-) We were a bit disappointed that the dolls didn't have an exciting internal design, like watches or radios.

More informaton please... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9945978)

"...some companies have even started summer camps to attract high school girls into high tech..."

Some? SOME!? Names, addresses and lists of current vacancies for said companies would be more useful...

So? (2, Interesting)

essreenim (647659) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946013)

Yeah, highschool girls at work. Thats a Summer camp I want to be a part of. *in my dreams*

But really, having read the article, I wouldn't rule out what we already know. Women are smarter. Computer Science just isn't as lucrative as many, if not all other booming tech industries. So there are less women studying CS, and still many studying other technical course. What of it?
If I knew what I know now (all of it could have been known without my degree : ( ) I would have done something else and just taken CS along as a side order....if I was a woman, alas ..!!

Controversial suggestion (4, Insightful)

danormsby (529805) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945979)

Do we want to be attracting more women or do we want to be attracting the best people?

I've never been comfortable with the social engineering of equivalising M/F ratios in any given discipline.

Re:Controversial suggestion (1)

SpiritOfGrandeur (686449) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946033)

I would rather attract the hot women in to the field!

Us nerds need eye candy too...

Think about it if we would stare at a screen all day long our eyes would burn out... with a little eye candy you are saving our eyes!

Re:Controversial suggestion (2, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946135)

Well done. A perfect illustration of the reason so few women choose CS.

The 19th century called... (4, Insightful)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946044)

and they want their sexism back. You're correct that we do want the best people, however it would appear that some of the brightest and best are not going into the field. In College, the smart women were all math majors. They were more than qualified to pursue CS, but there was so much blatent sexim in the department they were discouraged from entering the field. Its not so much as encouraging as it is not discouraging.

Re:The 19th century called... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946067)

What, there are smart women?

Re:Controversial suggestion (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946091)

. . .at the very moment their presence in other scientific and engineering disciplines has soared.

Quite frankly, my opinion is that the best people are simply being wiser about their career choices at the moment.


Re:Controversial suggestion (1)

jcasey (264935) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946101)

"Do we want to be attracting more women or do we want to be attracting the best people?"

Bottom line is it really does not matter... companies will pick who they want/need regardless of who is in the selection pool.

If you really dont care about the quality of work that your IT group produces but are more concerned with running an IT group as cheaply as reasonably possible, then perhaps this is a good thing - half weights may be attracted to places that are move diverse(gender wise).

Those outfits that want hard core nerds will continue to pay top dollar. The only downside that I see is that there will be more people to sort through.

Honestly, I dont think that introducing girls into the mix will scare away the nerds :)

Re:Controversial suggestion (2, Insightful)

Analogy Man (601298) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946106)

It was my observation in college that in the mean, the women were generally better students in traditional male fields. Probably because to deal with the bull, they needed to have aptitude and brains to make it worthwhile.

On the other hand a complete knuckle dragger male would go into engineering...because his dad was one.

I have also observed in industry that having diversity of viewpoints is a good thing (avoid intellectual in-breeding and group think). One way to help achieve that is have people from different cultural backgrounds.

Summer Camps for Teenage Girls (4, Interesting)

MOMOCROME (207697) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945980)

you've got to be kidding me.

We all know how unattractive CS people can be, especially the ones getting red in the face over frequent online arguments about KDE vs. Gnome.

To imagine these hard-up saps actually trying to pull off a frickin SUMMER CAMP to ATTRACT some TEENAGE GIRLS into the sorry world of the code monkey, why that's the most cock-eyed, half baked plan I ever heard of!

Maybe when this fails to play out (and it will, seeing as how anyone with a brain can see right through the scheme), perhaps they can regroup and try to trick these girls into the backs of their vans, with some candy bars.

sheesh. this is why there are marketing departments, people. You just can't let the code monkey crowd interact with the public.

Re:Summer Camps for Teenage Girls (1)

deutschemonte (764566) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946053)

I can just picture Milton from Office Space hanging out the back of some black cargo van shaking a snickers bar at teenie-boppers as they arrive at the camp.

Then Lumberg walks up: "Umm, yeeeaaah, umm, I'm gonna need you to just...close these doors and move the van to the underground level of the parking deck. And umm, while your down there, can you take care of that little cock roach problem we've been having."

Milton: "But I, but the, but but."

Lumberg: "Yeah, thanks."

Milton: "I'll just burn the place down"

Re:Summer Camps for Teenage Girls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946078)

You may seem a bit harsh, but I fully agree. The lack of social skills in the CS set is a natural barrier against females. There will be a few exceptions if and when they fit the personality profile, but many women would rather pursue careers where they can use their social talents.

I'm not trying to be disrespectful to CS types, but you almost have to have a lack of personality in order to crunch over networks and code for hours on end. It doesn't make you a bad person if that's the way you are, but it gives you a natural advantage when there isn't that pesky need to be social.

In spite of the disproportionate number of males in the field, gender should never be an issue.

Re:Summer Camps for Teenage Girls (1)

jabex (320163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946092)

To imagine these hard-up saps actually trying to pull off a frickin SUMMER CAMP to ATTRACT some TEENAGE GIRLS into the sorry world of the code monkey, why that's the most cock-eyed, half baked plan I ever heard of!

Not quite, the only flaw I can detect here is that of age... a summer camp to attract some 18-22 year old girls into the sorry world of the code monkey would be, in fact, the most brilliant plan I have ever heard of.

yeah this is silly (0, Troll)

ronaldyang (167602) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945982)

until you consider how few women you work with. Don't you wish you had a coworker to bone while your wife was at home watching the 1.75 kids? Hells yeah biotches

Re:yeah this is silly (1)

linsys (793123) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945995)

No, see I don't want to work with that girl, I want her to be in "Customer Service" so if things go sower I don't have to deal with her... :)

This is ridiculous (1)

Neo's Nemesis (679728) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945988)

The figures don't matter much to one when we look how much is the contribution of men/women towards social and technological upliftment. Its just that the interest of women differ from that of men's. You cannot say that just because there aren't many women graduates, its going to harm us.

If you work on this theory, you might also conclude men not taking up cookery courses, or stitching classes.

Figures seem high (3, Interesting)

Shard013 (530636) | more than 10 years ago | (#9945994)

Even that 28% seems fairly high to me. At my uni in computer science I would say probably not even 10% are female. I'm in Australia too.

Re:Figures seem high (2, Interesting)

I_am_Rambi (536614) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946109)

thats about right. My college there were two females in my class. One graduated early, so now there is only one. This is out of roughly 20. I don't know how many females are in the other classes (I personally know of one, but I know they are more, just don't know who they are). Even if my university is low, I've heard of other colleges where the ratio is almost 50/50.

Re:Figures seem high (2, Interesting)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946131)

Sounds close to me - in first year. The female drop out rate was pretty high in my courses, so the numbers were lower my the end of it.

socializing? jobs? money? (1)

Luciq (697883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946002)

I can think of any number of reasons why CS enrollment would drop:

CS = programming = coding away in a small cubicle with little social interaction (just the image - not always the reality)

Maybe they're after fields with a better job market or better pay? Or maybe they're just realizing that the Dot Com heydays aren't coming back any time soon.

"That sense of isolation and inadequacy " (1)

jkrise (535370) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946004)

I think that's the prime reason why so many Men enter computer science!

What's the point? (1, Flamebait)

Cereal Box (4286) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946005)

You can call me sexist if you want, but I'm not convinced that women in general are as capable as men when it comes to disciplines like engineering or Computer Science. I'm not saying that there aren't women who are talented in these fields -- they're just not as easy to find as these politically-correct types would like to believe. There will always be talented women who are drawn to Computer Science and they don't need special programs or camps to "convince" them that they will enjoy studying Computer Science.

Re:What's the point? (1)

Mxyzptlk (138505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946046)

I'm not convinced that women in general are as capable as men when it comes to disciplines like engineering or Computer Science

Would you care to elaborate on that?

Re:What's the point? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946132)

"Would you care to elaborate on that?"

Well, I've never seen a woman work for 60 hours non-stop and completely rewrite the core of your software to run twice as fast. Unlike guys, they have a hard time managing to forget to, like, shower and stuff.

More seriously, I've never seen a female programmer who came close to the best male programmers I've worked with. Then again, I've only seen about half a dozen female programmers...

Certainly the idea of trying to encourage women into programming seems bizarre to me, particularly when so many jobs are being outsourced at the moment... if I had kids I wouldn't encourage my son to go into programming now, let alone a daughter. But if a company wants to hire me to run summer computer camps for teenage girls, I'd be more than happy to oblige :).

Re:What's the point? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946137)

Of course he wouldn't. He has no proof, and no chances of getting laid with that attitude, so no it doesn't look like he'll elaborating on something he has no evidence for.

Re:What's the point? (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946120)

I'd like to agree with you on this. There are fundamental gender differences. Most flaming PC people need to be struck with flaming death, as they're simply a bunch of illogical zealots.

Let me itinerate: yes, men tend to be better at engineering-like disciplines. Women, however, tend to be better at disciplines that require a large degree of socializing, networking (of the human kind), and reading peoples' reactions (empathy) - such as psychologists (or is that psychiatrists? I can never remember which is which).

Too many flaming PC folks reduce the problem to "men vs. women", wanting women to be 'treated as well as, if not better than, men' and end up making fools of themselves and reducing their cause to meaninglessness at the same time. By no means does the validity/quality of one career choice reduce the significance of another! The pay a doctor receives does not negate the significance of a nurse. Underlings get paid less. Get over it.

I hate feminazis. They're just rabid men-haters anyway.

Re:What's the point? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946124)

You can call me sexist if you want
Yeah, like "you can call me racist if you want, but people with non-white skin just aren't as capable when it comes to disciplines like engineering or Computer Science."


Why is this even a problem? (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946006)

I don't see a problem here. If women don't want to work in a certain field, then that's their decission. If fewer people with smaller shoe sizes chose to work in IT (or politics, or any other field unrelated to shoe sizes), I wouldn't care either.

Why is this important? (4, Insightful)

houghi (78078) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946012)

I have Karma to burn:

Why do we need any percentage of male/female for anything or everything? When the phonecompanies still used operators, it was women who were better in handling all these calls. They were better in 'multitasking' then men were.

In the Netherlands, the phonecompany did exams for operators and made no difference in male or female. However the women were just better at it. They just hired the best qualified people.

If women are not interested in those things, so what? It is not that we discriminate against women, that would be extremely bad. It is not as if we let the women study and then not give them a job.

Being equal is not the same as being identical.

A common sentiment, I'm sure. (1)

Hockney Twang (769594) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946014)

If women aren't entering the CS field, it's not the fault of the CS field, it's because women don't want those jobs, and you shouldn't try to find ways to make it falsely appealing to them, because they'll end up disatisfied with their jobs, and seek something more rewarding. It's like saying "there aren't enough african americans in the 'Saving Dixie' confederate history program." Gee, maybe it's because they don't care as much as certain others.

It's all about marketing (1)

tyrani (166937) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946015)

There are very few women going into CS programs. I know that sounds obvious, but that really is the problem. People feel more comfortable among others who have the same interests, ideas, gender, etc.

So, once women stop looking at CS programs and I.T. jobs as male dominated, then more women will be attracted to them.

Interpretation... (1, Funny)

Oestergaard (3005) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946019)

Attracting women to computer science


Attracting women that are into computer science

You choose. Personally, I find the latter to be the most difficult by far :)

Re:Interpretation... (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946080)

Or Attractive Women In Computer Science ;)

The reason's simple... (-1, Troll)

spungo (729241) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946020)

It's 'cos, as everyone knows, they can't park - and in the olden days this used to cause the breakage of many a hard drive, and they've since been discouraged.

Single sex classes (4, Interesting)

Mxyzptlk (138505) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946022)

Sweden has used classes that only women can participate in. The women said it made them not feel as singled out as they would have been in mixed classes.

Of course, studies has shown both that mixed sex classes are better, as well as single sex classes... It is probably best to offer both alternatives.

Single sex companies? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946063)

Last time I checked, you need to be able to work productively for a real company - and that means dealing in a efficient manner with both sexes.

Re:Single sex classes (1)

zambotsu (607783) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946138)

There's no need for any of those "single sex classes". After all this is Slashdot, we're all over-qualified.

Not just tech... (1)

uvatbc (748669) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946032)

I dont think that is a problem confined to tech or IT. I think that everywhere in the world, women are shying away from any work that requires them to be fixated to their work place, away from their families or whatever they believe is the topmost priority in life.
Somehow, we men tend to take family ties and relationships for granted more than women ... and put work/money above all else.
(I'm pretty sure someone has already done some research relating to the different priorities in the lives of men and women.)
Perhaps this is more of a natural consequence of the way our work is, in addition to the different priorites women have.

I think that any techie's work usually destroys his chances of having a stable relationship and sours any existing realtionship - parents, friends, fiances, whoever. Men would probably tolerate that to some extent, women do not.

the ratio is better balanced.. (4, Interesting)

BobWeiner (83404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946036)

...in India where there's a 70 / 30 ratio of men / women in Computer Science. Given the cultural push towards education over there, computer science isn't stereotyped as a male oriented field as it seems to be here in the US. This is also true in fields such as engineering.


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946079)

Given the cultural push towards education over there, computer science isn't stereotyped as a male oriented field as it seems to be here in the US. This is also true in fields such as engineering.

Exactly. There's tremendous cultural inertia - if you grow up immersed in a culture that reflects certain gender imbalances, there will be a tendency to continue them, for good or bad...

Just think of all the dud coders you have to deal with - and consider that you're only scooping from half of the pool. How many great coders might have been girls if they'd had a little encouragement?

Do people wonder how to get more men into.. (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946040)

Nursing degrees?

at the very moment their presence in other scientific and engineering disciplines has soared.

Chemical and civil engineering, from what I can tell, are enjoying larger numbers of women. I graduated EE in 2000, and my girlfriend graduated from Mechanical Engineering last May - and the numbers of women have not increased substantially up or down in either of those disiplines from what I can tell over that timeframe. (Sample size 1; standard disclaimers apply)

With regards to women and minorities, I feel that engineering and CS are perhaps the fairest degrees; when the pencil hits the paper, the answer can be determined to be right or wrong within a reasonable margin.

Another point (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946041)

Another point I thought of a few minutes ago seems to also explain this a little.

Women enjoy social interaction and get rewards through others in most professions (Seen many male people working at a doctors reception? unlikely).

Men are happy to work with blocks (A fits into B, B becomes C, C goes vvrruumm), 99% of things to do with PC are blocks. You have Gigs on the HD, you have the ram needed and what you got. All these are basic blocks, code is simplely blocks of predefined commands linked together to make something else.

Women won't find the satisfaction most men will from watching their latest proggy run or finding a bug after several hours of searching. They tend to perfer a friendly smile and a light conversation, not really that complex is it?

But hey we're at Slashdot, only women we see here are blow up :)

Re:Another point (5, Insightful)

Draoi (99421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946122)

Women won't find the satisfaction most men will from watching their latest proggy run or finding a bug after several hours of searching. They tend to perfer a friendly smile and a light conversation, not really that complex is it?

*sigh* And that is just such a gross generalisation. I find that debugging is one of the programming tasks that women tend to excel at. Their approach seems to be quite different a times to that of their male colleagues. In programming teams, it often seems to be the case that when trying to squish a particularly elusive bug that member of the opposite sex will quite easily point out.

*shrug* - just my own observation.

But hey we're at Slashdot, only women we see here are blow up :)

Hardly surprising, with an attitude like that! ;-)

Maybe they're just not fucking interested? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946042)

Did that ever occur to you? That maybe, just *maybe* they want to study something more interesting than some dessicated old Comp Sci professor's toy language?

See? Job market is looking up. (1)

devphil (51341) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946047)

From the article:

"Over the next seven years, our hiring needs are going to be huge," says Wayne Johnson, executive director of HP's university relations worldwide.

And "our" refers to "USA's," not just "HP's". The article gives reasons for it as well.

Keep this mind next week, when /. trots out its regularly-scheduled "all the American programming jobs are going away, panic!" article.

We need more women in computer science! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946048)

So pompous indians who are willing to work for
peanuts can take their jobs, too!

Does Jane Compute? (1)

Draoi (99421) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946068)

Anyone interested in women in computing should read the book "Does Jane Compute; preserving our daughter's place in the cyber revolution" [bookhq.com] by Roberta Furger. Don't be put off by the silly title & the gratuitous 'cyber' word - it's an excellent look into the whole area of female geekdom & how we bring up our kids.

(Yeah, I've a 5-year-old daughter & she's fearless around computers. As it should be!)

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946073)

Anyone else noticed the lack of penguins and polar bear too? How queer..

let's see what's missing in tech for women... (4, Insightful)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946075)

Other women... check!

Jobs... check!

Men with money... check!

Men with power... check!

Men with style... check!

Men that will leave them alone when asked... check!

Un-sexist men... check!

Yeah, that's a lot of motivation to spend 4+ years at college in a tech degree. Seriously though. Would you want to go to a sports school to get a science degree, or somewhere like MIT for sports? No, you wouldn't, as you would not fit in nor would you likely enjoy the social atmosphere.

I'm sure the social aspect has a large amount to do with it, but it's also likely that that technical fields simply don't appeal to most women. Women seem to be pre-disposed towards "social" tasks, and don't think in an engineer-like fashion anway (so psychologists say).

School.... (1)

Clemensa (800698) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946076)

I went to an all girls school. We had lots of computers, but we were actively discouraged from persuing computer-related subjects at University level. Even in computer class, we learnt to touch type, and that was about it. Asking questions was met with a dirty look and a hurried explanation that never actually answered your question. I think this is an attitude that quite a few schools like mine have adopted - I know our school wanted us all to be lawyers and medics....computers are not seen to be a thing that girls can do. When I mention I'm in computers now, people froom school tend to assume I'm doing data input, or working with sales of computers...

Re:School.... (0)

REBloomfield (550182) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946133)

This is offtopic, but your mail isn't shown publicly. I read one of your previous posts, and just wondered, are you studying with the OU?

like automechanics (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946077)

There are few girls in IT like there are few girls that are automechanics. They are just not appealed to the profession.
Check out all those Lan parties where girls can enter for free. It does not really attract that much more girls.
Same in IT, it's technical and they just prefer social science, communication stuff.

Give It a Rest (5, Insightful)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946090)

Ten minutes after it's publicly posted, and the vast majority of comments either say "how about attracting men to childrearing? Why isn't that an issue?" or "well, maybe they just ain't interested! Social engineering sucks!"

I've not seen any evidence that women are somehow biologially inherently uninterested in the computer science field. You can talk about interactions all you like, but I dropped out of a pretty damn decent CS program because I realized I want human interaction, which is why I'm now in _IT_ rather than in programming -- so I get to deal with people. There _are_ CS-oriented environments and jobs that offer more interaction.

My concern is that what we're seeing is artificial -- that women are either dissuaded from entering/staying in the field or are not as encouraged as men. This is bad both because we might be missing out on excellent people out there just because they don't have a penis and because if we discourage women from entering profitable fields (offshoring notwithstanding), we end up perpetuating an earning power inequity between men and women. This sucks because, well, when I get married I'd like my wife to make at least as much as I do (and ideally, much much more. Really, a sugar mommy wouldn't be so bad :) ). And when I have a child, if she's a daughter, I'd like her to have as easy of a time getting into a profitable profession as a son.

So yeah. Honestly? I don't care about men in nursing; both because I don't think society has much to gain by pushing men to accept lower-income jobs (next, lets try to get affluent white kids to take up a career as janitors! That'd be useful!) and because, even in nursing, we see an earnings gap (male nurses get promoted faster and are paid more, on average, than female nurses).

Oh, and forgive me for being a selfish asshole, but the other reason I'd like to see more women in CS is because I'd like to finally be able to talk shop with my loved one; I've known exactly three very attractive women who were in IT (and had a relationship with one of them). We need more.

Re:Give It a Rest (5, Insightful)

CrankyFool (680025) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946102)

Oh, one more point:

I've personally witnessed issues with women in CS in terms of how clients and coworkers interacted with them. It verged from annoying (in my first IT job, I had a coworker who had about eight years of experience. There were customers who she'd tell something who would then turn to me to confirm/deny this, because, well, apparently having a penis made me really, really smart) to creepy with racist overtones (like the person who argued that the Indians who were harassing female coworkers were just adjusting to our own culture and in their culture it was perfectly OK).

And then we can pay them less (2, Insightful)

smchris (464899) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946093)

Ideally, the demographics of IT should mirror the demographics of hospital workers. Then we can be competitive.

Not that I'm cynical or anything.

My 2 cents (1)

MisanthropicProgram (763655) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946095)

she was overwhelmed by her workload and regarded any test scores that were less than stellar as proof she didn't belong in a department that seemed to be a de facto boys' club. "I felt, 'This is way over my head. I'm just not good at it, and I shouldn't be here,'" Liu recalls. "I couldn't imagine I'd ever make it into the workforce."
The above has nothing to do with her being a woman. It's all about her having standads that are too unrealistic. I know that some of the guys felt the same way.

American doctoral programs, where foreign nationals still snag half the Ph.D.'s.
It's a great way to stay in the U.S. without having to go through a lot of the normal imigration B.S. One of my grad classmates is doing this. She's racking up grad degrees just so she can stay in the county with her husband - nothing to do with her career objectives. Also, our educational system is a great "export"!

Faced with forecasts of a looming brainpower shortage-- When there are actually jobs for those people, here in the U.S., I'll take statments like that seriously.
I've worked with too many programmers who were engineers and scientists (including a few Ph.Ds) who went into computers just to get a job.

three words (1)

kewsh (655090) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946097)

too much stress

Safeguards? (1)

Ulky (199350) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946099)

Surely you need to be a bit selective when your doing this, after all it could have a detrimental effect on the working/conference enviroment. You should make sure they:

Re:Safeguards? (1)

Ulky (199350) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946112)

Hit return at wrong moment...

- Don't ming
- Don't burst into tears as soon as anyone speaks to them
- Like beer

Who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946103)

The market is saturated with too many people in this field. So what if there are fewer women pursuing the career? I hope fewer people *at all* pursue it. That's good news for my job outlook.

And why does every career have to have exactly 50% men and 50% women? Women go into things like liberal arts and psychology. You know - things where they don't have to worry about getting serious about their career and they can just blow a few years at college looking for Mr. Right - who does go for the real career like computer science (to support her lazy ass).

cute mascots (1)

ChronoWiz (709439) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946111)

We obviously need more cute mascots like the BSA Piracy Crusader Weasel!

I thought this said Attractive women in Comp Sci.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9946114)

That's really a stretch

Engineering is Worse (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946128)

Why are they worried about fewer women in Computer Science? Proportionaly there were about 3 times as many women in the CS program at my University than in the entire Engineering program. And I just graduated this year. Why are they worried about CS then?

Yet more AA. (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 10 years ago | (#9946130)

Fucking affirmative action....

Nothing in moderation. Yes, Allow the females into comp sci without undue burden. But don't hand it to them on a silver platter.

I mean it's not my fault the average punkager idea of a good time is "like getting drunk and stuff". You know what I did when I was in high school? I learned how to develop software by writing stuff I gave away.

Sure I went out and did the other teen things [movies, parties, etc]. But I didn't obsesss over being the most coolest person ever in school. Mostly I didn't give a shit what others thought so I didn't waste time trying to impress people. Sure that made be "uncool" in most circles but then again I don't care.

There is nothing stopping a 15 yr old male or female from picking up cygwin on their computer [which must be windows cuz linux is uncool] and learning how to write hello world.

They CHOOSE not to. Now they can LIVE with the consequences of being "popular".

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