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Breaking Gender Cliques at Work?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the be-nice-gentlemen dept.

806

An anonymous reader asks: "No-one likes finding themselves being the 'odd one out' of a clique, and gender barriers make them harder to break. The question is simple: what can a girl in IT do when she finds herself on the outside of those cliques of boy coworkers? Or inversely, what should groups of boys at work be doing to be more welcoming for that lone girl in the IT office?"

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Bring in unisex bathrooms... (5, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017865)

...nothing breaks down barriers like hearing someone from the opposite gender breaking wind.

Best bet (4, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017870)

Get the guys castrated so they don't wet themselves and yell "OMG B00bIES!"

Best bet: a good joke (4, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018062)

I suggest breaking the ice with a good joke, like:
Q.) What's the definition of a macho man?
A.) Someone who shaves his balls with a weed wacker

or for the opposite gender:

Q.) What's the definition of a macho woman?
A1.) She suck-starts her Harley.
A2.) She kick-starts her vibrator.
A3.) She rolls her own tampons.

or my personal favorite, always a hit with a ladies:
Q.) How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A.) (preferably delivered interupting the other party) That's not funny!

These jokes are gauranteed to make an impression on the opposite sex.

Hahaha... (4, Insightful)

remembertomorrow (959064) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017876)

I can already foresee the "Quit being nerds and actually try to talk to her" posts already.

She won't bite. :o

Re:Hahaha... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017892)

...hard.

Re:Hahaha... (0)

Kindgott (165758) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017972)

She won't bite. :o

Maybe, if you're lucky, she will!

Re:Hahaha... (4, Interesting)

Alex P Keaton in da (882660) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018065)

We had a new woman in my department. It was even worse b/c she was very attractive. We all wanted to invite her out with us after work, not because we were trying to score with her, but because we wanted her to be part of the team. We never invited her, because we were all worried about sexual harrassment. It is tough to ask a young woman out with us, because we are worried about her taking it the wrong way. She ended up leaving the job after a few months. My advice to a woman who wants to be in the clique, is to initiate friendships. Men in many workplaces are so worried about getting called down to HR (Who hasn't sat through sexual harrassment training) that we ignore women and avoid eye contact...

Re:Hahaha... (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018268)

We all wanted to invite her out with us after work, not because we were trying to score with her, but because we wanted her to be part of the team. We never invited her, because we were all worried about sexual harrassment.

I think I'm missing something here. How would 'Hi, we're all heading off to the pub now, do you want to join us?' be construed as sexual harassment?

Re:Hahaha... (4, Insightful)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018321)

He-said, she-said. That's how. Sexual harassment in the workplace is like child porn. It doesn't matter if the accusations are true, because once they're made, you're blacklisted.

Re:Hahaha... (2, Insightful)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018415)

I think I'm missing something here. How would 'Hi, we're all heading off to the pub now, do you want to join us?' be construed as sexual harassment?

I totally agree. This is absurd. You cannot (legally) be accused of sexual harassment for asking a co-worker out, whether its with a group or for a private date. The Harassment doesn't begin until he/she says no and you keep asking anyway, or there is some other extenuating circumstance.

I think the GP and his co-workers need to review the materials they were given at their company's sexual harassment policy review meeting. Or maybe his company hasn't ever had such a meeting, which might explain their confusion on the matter.

It's not that easy... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018483)

You cannot (legally) be accused of sexual harassment for asking a co-worker out, whether its with a group or for a private date.

Actually, asking co-workers out on dates is forbidden by many corporate anti-harrassment policies. Sometimes the policies specify that multiple requests for dates is an act of harassment; other places that I've worked just mentioned that liasons between co-workers are frowned upon as a matter of professionalism.

So, you might not go to jail, but you might be fired for it. Adherance to HR's policies is usually a contractual obligation, after all; and they all frown upon dating co-workers.

Re:Hahaha... (4, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018334)

Who hasn't sat through sexual harrassment training

I haven't. But I'm getting better with practise.

Re:Hahaha... (1)

kitanai (966388) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018426)

The reason some people are worried about sexual harassment is because there IS sexual harassment. I've had to "accidentally" reply to the wrong email address to shame someone to stop asking me out!

But, if you want to avoid all that, here are four easy steps:

1) Remember - she's an I.T. geek. She probably loves her computer and her graphics card as much as you. Talk about this stuff and shy away from sex talk.
2) Make sure she's into gaming. If she's not, write her off as a lost cause.
3) Beer, beer and more beer. Or wine if she really really has to. But beer for you. No hard spirits.
4) Make sure she makes friends with one older, married person in the team and that they are part of social events. If she's feeling pressured, she'll cling to this person because she knows they don't want to bang her.

Re:Hahaha... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018535)

4) Make sure she makes friends with one older, married person in the team and that they are part of social events. If she's feeling pressured, she'll cling to this person because she knows they don't want to bang her.

You obviously haven't met the older, married people I used to work with. They could out letch out perv and out grope the younger single guys without the slightest bit of problem.

Re:Hahaha... (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018474)

That sounds like a huge overreaction - if a few people are going out after work*, and you invite her along, that's hardly "sexual harrassment." It doesn't matter if she looks like Marilyn Monroe or Merle Haggard. I'm sensing more of a lack of social skills.

*unless, of course, "going out after work" means heading off to a swingers club.

Re:Hahaha... (1)

Odin_Tiger (585113) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018547)

While I agree with you for the most part (with respects to avoiding anything that could be remotely construed as sexual harassment), the solution to the issue seems pretty clear to me: Gang up on her. Seriously..."Hey, we're all going down to the bar (or Fred's house to watch the game or the LAN gaming center or the indoor rock climbing gym or the movies or...) together tonight, you should come, too."

lawyer (3, Insightful)

tritonman (998572) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017886)

I would suggest getting a lawyer because you should be able to have several sexual harrassment suits on your hands, you won't need to work there much longer.

All kidding aside, I have worked several times where there was one girl who joined the crew. It never really made a difference to me, I didn't sit there with my other male co-workers and talk about how she didn't deserve to be here and had to prove herself worthy or anything crazy like that. I never did anything special to make her feel welcome, nor should I have had to.

I have been on the other side of it though, when I was hired as the only in-house developer for a company and I was pretty much the only guy in an office environment with about 10 ladies. I never really felt out of place, but I had to put on headphones to get any work done because all they did was yak and gossip all day...

Re:lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017926)

And..? Any luck??

Re:lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017945)

Anyone who refers to girls as "ladies" probably isn't looking to get lucky.

Sorry, ladies.

Re:lawyer (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018025)

I would suggest getting a lawyer because you should be able to have several sexual harrassment suits on your hands, you won't need to work there much longer.
This is exactly why I refuse to have anything to do with any of my female coworkers. It is *far* too easy to get slapped with a sexual harassment complaint these days. I've never been hit with one myself (and I think my refuse-to-deal-with-them policy is why I've been safe), but I've seen coworkers hit and fired for it. Simple stuff, like asking if your female coworker would like to go to lunch has been enough to get coworkers written up at companies I've worked for. No guy would hesitate to ask another guy what his lunch plans were, but ask a female and you're heading for trouble.

Is this extreme? Yes, it is. But I like having income. So I simple refuse to have anything to do with female coworkers that isn't directly job related. No friendliness, no joking around, no post-work activities, no weekend/holiday party invitations. Seriously, this is how guys feel comfortable keeping their jobs because the sexual harassment system is completely screwed up.

So to the women asking how they can "fit in", the answer is that you can't. Some group of ultra-feminists with get-em-fired happy lawyers have ruined it for the rest of you. In an office full of men, we're scared to death of you, because even a wrong look can take away our ability to support our families. So please, for everyone's sake, just leave us alone.

Re:lawyer (3, Interesting)

ChrisFedak (611386) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018308)

I'm not questioning your anecdotes, but chances are good that there were factors in the SH suits that resulted in firings that you weren't privy to. The guidelines for Harassment at my office are quite clear, and it doesn't take 1337 social skills to be able to follow them, and demonstrate that you followed them. The kind of people crazy enough to file a SH suit over being asked to go for lunch with "the guys" are something of a rarity. People don't deserve to be ostracised because of something someone else did sometime who happened to have the same gender.

What can a lone girl to gain some acceptance? Visit your coworkers (on your team) in their cubes to ask for help, comment on the stuff they have there. Guys have things in their cubes for a reason. Try inviting groups to go for lunch. If you have a boyfriend or husband, mention them every now and then, it'll put you in the safe zone, where they can treat you like one of the guys. When all else fails, just invite yourself along when the cliques gather. People can only resist the instinct to add to the tribe for so long.

As to the converse, people shoudl go out of their way to welcome new hires. Make sure they know where people eat lunch/have coffee and that they should come along. If you're worried about sexual harrassment, approach the new girl in the office in pairs. It's much harder to interpret an invitation to a social occasion as an advance if it comes from a group.

Re:lawyer (2, Insightful)

PrayingWolf (818869) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018508)

I entirely agree with you.

What I've found is that any relationship with a woman not belonging to your family will eroticize one way or another - sooner or later. The woman might actually have a desire for *that* kind of attention and will complain about harrasment only to fullfill her fantasy. All this is unspoken and unconscious and people tend to believe women are truthfull and so on...

I have a female co-worker and she has been harrassing me for quite some time. I've told her to stay away from me and she has learned slowly to do that. Once she complained that I don't treat her like the other co-workers. The truth is: I can't, because she reacts COMPLETELY differently to everything I do or say.

Quite frankly, I don't believe in men and women in the same workingplace. I think its a form of mental abuse to force people into that situation.

I await better times, where there is (among other things) no feminism

Re:lawyer (5, Interesting)

Bonker (243350) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018385)

The lawyer thing is actually a pretty serious detriment to male-female interactions at work.

Most IT houses these days have pretty strict sexual harassment rules. Even small computer centers have "Harassment Awareness" training of some kind. The idea that sexual harassment == being sued and/or fired is hammered in to IT workers to the extreme.

Worse, there are no end of horror stories about an innocent comment or action being construted as harassment by overzealous HR departments. How many times have we all heard the old saw about an unscrupulous woman pressing sexual harassment charges? It's mostly urban legend and closet sexism, but the idea is still there.

The net effect is that even very well-adjusted male IT personell are wary of offending a woman, should it result in loss of employment. They'll avoid conversations with women at work, not out of sexism, but out of a sense of personal safety.

The unfortuneate not-so-well-adjusted IT guys are TERRIFIED. The guys who had trouble talking to females in highschool and college suddenly find themselves under threat of legal action when they enter the workplace, as well as ordinary crushing rejection.

If a woman wants to interact with these guys, she's going to have to make the first move.

No, a woman shouldn't have to prove anything upon entering the workplace. Unfortuneately, the climate that's been created by an oversensitivity to sexual harassment means that a woman has a lot to prove. Sad, but true.

She's got to prove that she won't sue someone for a social mistake.

nudge nudge (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017893)

I'd suggest throwing out random Monty Python quotes. The best one for this would be walking up to the guys and saying, "Nudge nudge, wink wink, know what I mean, know what I mean, say no more..."

That's an interesting question... (1)

GundamFan (848341) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017906)

Another question is what kind of age diffrences are we talking about here? That could make a big diffrence.

I think you will find most people don't try to exclude others, but are most cofortable with people they already know or share similar intrests with. If it doesn't affect your ability to work effectivly I would say don't worry about it... coworkers should respect hard work and dedication, and if they don't find a more proffesonal work place.

Oh dear... (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017908)

The question is simple: what can a girl in IT do when she finds herself on the outside of those cliques of boy coworkers?
*sigh* It's probably not a "clique". It looks like a clique because you're applying female social interactions to a male environment. Guys don't work that way. Guys usually interact with others they feel comfortable with rather than explicitly ostracising others. They're probably giving you a wide berth because they don't know how to interact with you. Being far from "people persons" in the first place, your gender is just making it that much harder for them to become comfortable with you.

If you want to be social with the guys, talk about cool technology, fun video games, military hardware, or the latest in high horsepower vehicles. (Come on, if you're in technology, you should be interested in at least some of those topics?) That should allow the guys to relax a bit and forget that you're female. Worst case, stay on the job long enough and they'll get to know you. :)

from the be-nice-gentlemen dept.
What? I wasn't going to say anything. (AKAImBatman tries to look innocent.)

Perfect summary (2, Informative)

siberian (14177) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018074)

Men and Woman just don't realize how differently we view the world sometimes.

Well, ok, Woman don't understand how Men view the world sometimes. Men on the other hand do have a vague instinctual understanding of how to not piss a woman off and number one on that list is "Keep your distance until you get a signal."

Re:Oh dear... (1)

spx (855431) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018099)

Yea, what Batman said!

There isn't enough karma on /. (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018214)

...to add to this comment. You should rarely attribute malice to a lack of male interaction. It typically only occurs in those groups which are "girlie" men - those particularly proud of their looks or physical prowess (ie - those which act more like females in their social interactions). As Batman said, find some common interests with your coworkers. Look for an excuse to go out to lunch with the group, even if you don't say much. Personal connection is all you need to make to be accepted most of the time. If you must, bring in some "trinket" that you feel might be a common interest - novel, magazine without "orgasm" or a photograph of any hollywood star printed on the cover, electronic item with "geek" quality. iPods don't count.

A word of warning, though - do not go outside your comfort zone. If you're not a Monty Python fan, don't quote them. If you don't get jazzed over hot rods, don't discuss 'em. Don't take up golf just to get in the mix if you're not an athelete.

Wow, have we fallen so far? (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018355)

Don't take up golf just to get in the mix if you're not an athelete.


Golf... Athlete?

 

Re:There isn't enough karma on /. (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018407)

Don't take up golf just to get in the mix if you're not an athelete.

I guess the slashdot crowd has a pretty liberal definition of "athelete". Golf? - it's just walking around in the woods looking for your ball... I get more exercise cooking.

Re:There isn't enough karma on /. (4, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018557)

Ok, I understand that Golf isn't exactly, say, marathon running. But you get more exercise COOKING? What do you, cook on a treadmill? Buy 50-lb bags of sugar and flour and lift them repeatedly? Chase after the pigs and cows you're going to eat personally?

Re:There isn't enough karma on /. (1)

rgravina (520410) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018495)

Don't take up golf just to get in the mix if you're not an athelete.

Ha that's hillarious! That must explain all the ripped execs you can find on the golf course!

technology, video games, military hardware (1)

hernyo (770695) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018349)

I F**ING HATE people being able to talk only about cool technology, fun video games, military hardware, or the latest in high horsepower vehicles regardless of their gender. I'd better quit my job if I had to spend over 33% of my life surrounded with these assholes.

Additional information: I'm male, software engineer.

Re:technology, video games, military hardware (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018463)

Additional information: I'm male, software engineer, and gay .

There, fixed that for you

I'm pretty lucky... (1)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017915)

I work for a pretty large customer service/financial services company, and there's a fairly large group of us that go out on a regular basis that is mixed between men/women and various ranks too. The bottom line is A) treat everybody the same, and B) accept the fact that you will be treated the same (i.e. no different whether boss or subordinate, man or woman; at least outside the office on the former) If you want to be included in a group with "unwritten rules" like a clique, you have to go to them, not the other way around and expect them to change their values and beliefs to accept you. If you don't want to do that, then you don't want to be a part of that clique (which is neither good nor bad, it just "is")

Conundrum... (2, Funny)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017917)

The question is simple: what can a girl in IT do when she finds herself on the outside of those cliques of boy coworkers?

Your male coworkers know that "shag the boss" (double points if she's a woman too), or "occasionally go topless" would actually be good tips, but their value is probably lost in the blazing glare of stereotype-validation. (shrug)

be friendly? (2, Insightful)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017923)

there's only 1 thing anyone can really do to break through cliques no matter what the gender boundries... be friendly. If you want to incorporate yourself into a boys only group, just be friendly and courteous. Try to find opportunities to make conversation and joke around. IT and computer people are usually introverted and aren't used to conversing with people of the opposite gender (and lots of times with people of the same gender) so it will be usually up to you to break that barrier.

Re:be friendly? (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018046)

IT and computer people are usually introverted and aren't used to conversing with people of the opposite gender (and lots of times with people of the same gender)

I strongly disagree with that. When I was in university, I found that the "IT and computer people" were often way less introverted, and will to talk to others than people pursuing other careers. When you go into the engineering building, you see people huddled around the table, discussing the latest assignments and test. You go to the liberal arts building, and you see people huddled in corners, with their face burried in books. The people in my class often got together to go out and have fun away from school, and we still do hang out a bit, even though we're all graduated and working. whereas, I didn't know that many people in other programmes who went out with people in their classes in large groups, and most of them didn't talk to anybody who was in their class, apart from a few close friends.

Re:be friendly? (3, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018354)

You know what? I agree with this. I have a liberal arts degree, and it's virtually impossible to have a conversation with anyone who is serious about it. They *always* have to best you with some more obscure ethnic group, societal problem, or scholar, and they have a more esoteric, subtle, and nuanced understanding of whatever subject. Your part of the conversation is to say "tsk, tsk". And it is a personal, moral failing on your part that you're not crying every night over whatever issue they just proved themself more nuanced that you.

Now, of course, I believe there are a lot of problems all around the world, but jeese, I like to feel good about something once in a while. And I like to go out and do something entertaining every so often. Now there are a lot of 'regular people' who are studying liberal arts, but the 'alpha geeks' or liberal arts are seriously mororse and dystopic.

On the other hand, college-age computer geeks are unabashedly enthusiastic about their nerdy interests. It's nice to see this group blossom ;)

I guess the engineers cordon off because their study load is so difficult, they have to have study groups all the time.

I'd suggest... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017925)

I'd suggest you start talking to the guys. Or, dress like a slut and show off your tits.

Easy: (4, Insightful)

gentimjs (930934) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017932)

For the gals: Just show up. Us guys in IT will be more than happy to have some women around.
For the guys: Dont try and hit on the women, and they will hang around more often and for longer.
This all seems pretty obvious.

Re:Easy: (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018259)

Unless you got the opposite. I had a female co-worker who was hitting on me by showing off her thongs and leaning over my shoulders when I was showing her something on the computer. That finally cool off when I pointed out that I absolutely hated thongs and she started were normal panties, and the touching grew less. I wouldn't mind having a relationship outside of work, I just don't want everyone in the department to know about it.

There is no clique (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017935)

Perhaps there really is no clique. I mean, are they telling you they don't want to talk to you? Do they completely ignore you whenever you try to talk to them? Or is it just that they have completely different interests, and don't talk about the same things as you. If all the guys at work talk about the previous night's baseball game every day, then try to watch it, or at least the highlights, or at least figure out who played and what the score was. They're not going to stop talking about the game, or start watching Star Trek instead, just because one employee doesn't like baseball. Where I work, most of us have kids, and talk about them. However there's people who don't have kids, and probably feel left out of the conversations, but that doesn't mean the rest of us are going to change our conversations just to suit them. However, if they start up an interesting topic, there's no reason we won't join in.

Re:There is no clique (1)

LionKimbro (200000) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018158)

What do you mean by the word "clique?"

I don't understand all the negative connotations of the word "clique."

Cliques are things where every one knows everyone else in them, and they all talk together.

That's what this sounds like.

This girl is "out": she doesn't know everyone else yet, she does not yet talk with them all comfortably, thus she is not in the clique.

Her question is how to get "in," which is a perfectly reasonable thing to want. A number of people have posted good suggestions.

I guess I just don't understand why people fear cliques. If a clique is doing something bad, or not letting in someone that should be in, then I could see that being a problem.

But if it's just a clique... C'mon, cliques are everywhere. They're there for a good reason, even.

Re:There is no clique (1)

superstick58 (809423) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018436)

I think if you just lighten up a little you would do much better. It seems that "thinking" about how to fit in is a surefire way to not fit in. If you find a common ground with someone, i.e. you both like to go to the bar, you both like to play a sport, you both like a show, you both like etc. etc. all you have to do is ask that person/group to join you in that activity. I've had great success at integrating not only gender but racial groups in common activites such as recreational sports leagues, weekend happy hours/parties, sporting events, trips, etc. All I have to do is send out an e-mail with an invite. As nike says.. just do it.

Same thing for any other clique (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017946)

In-groups and out-groups can form along racial, ethnic, religious, etc. lines as well as along gender lines. In all cases the goal is to find common ground between the two and build from that. Both sides have to look for it; the out-group needs to find ways to make themselves familiar, while the in-group needs to avoid doing things that may portray a hostile attitude or environment.

It's a hard problem, actually, so asking for surefire things to do isn't likely to generate much that's helpful. It's a little easier to integrate new hires in than resolving existing lines of division. The latter case often requires some leadership from management.

Let them know you are human and geek (2, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017948)

Geek guys are intimidated by women. The really odd thing about it is that geek guys are more intimidated by women they are attracted to, but that their attraction does not match the general population. In other words, the women that geeks are most intimidated by are the ones that "normal" guys would be less intimidated by.

But as for the fix, be human. You won't be able to pull that one off without work. Find what they play, practice it, then invite everyone to a LAN party. If you don't want it at your house, it's perfectly acceptable (socially, check with your boss for employer rules) to have the LAN party at work after hours. If you host a LAN party of the game that everyone likes best with delivered pizza, you will go a long way towards being "one of the guys." And, I don't know how to say this, try, but don't look like you are trying. And yes, it is hard to integrate into any existing group, especially if there is something that identifies you as different.

Re:Let them know you are human and geek (1)

cavemanf16 (303184) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018377)

If you don't want it at your house, it's perfectly acceptable (socially, check with your boss for employer rules) to have the LAN party at work after hours.

Hahahaha! You haven't worked at very many big companies, have you? I got an email from the "computing policies" group just for having installed Winamp a while back. How likely do you think it will be that I can pull off an install of 3Gig's worth of the latest FPS on my crappy laptop?!

Family games! (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017953)

At our workplace, we have a small-but-dedicated group of lunchtime gamers.

Over time, some of our female co-workers have joined us from time to time to play the games. They're usually nice and simple table-top games with straightforward game play and the like. The girls frequently enjoy themselves, as the games are not overly geeky, so even the non-tech females join in and play. We've had a few who could win some of the games fairly often.

Every game seems to develop it's own slang and silly sayings which correspond to some of the game events, which adds to the overall fun of the game for all involved.

We game because it's more interesting than having to actually have conversations which go much beyond the superficial. =)

I would definitely say table-top gaming can be a good way to include people -- though it kind of depends on having at least one board-game-geek to be the provider of the games. One of our member is constantly finding new games to play, and finding ones which fit well into a lunch-hour and have good game mechanics. I suggest Board Game Geek [boardgamegeek.com] as a good starting point as it has a lot of resources and reviews. Some of the non-geek female co-workers have actually gone out and bought some of the games, and other gamers have started buying copies of them to play with their families on the evenings and weekends.

As far as how a guy breaks into a mostly female clique, I suspect most Slashdotters would desperately love to know that one. So if anyone has more insight into that general conundrum, tey should post it. ;-)

Cheers

Re:Family games! (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018106)

As far as how a guy breaks into a mostly female clique, I suspect most Slashdotters would desperately love to know that one. So if anyone has more insight into that general conundrum, tey should post it. ;-)

I have it on good authority that joining the Barbie: Horse Adventures [penny-arcade.com] focus group works quite well. :-P

career first (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017955)

Screw joining the clique. Start reading some management books and drive right over them. Any moderately talented, somewhat ambitious woman can make management in a year. If someone is blocking your progress, call them out and/or get another job. You don't have to sit still and you don't have to pander to a bunch of IT geeks.

Re:career first (1)

audj (980103) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018343)

you sound like the meanest bitch ever. you don't want to get to know anyone you work with in a technical field because it's too much trouble? woah. easy, lady. the estrogen's dripping from the walls. no wonder you don't have any male friends in the IT department. no wonder you don't have ANY friends in the IT department. who wants to be friends with someone who uses words and phrases like "drive right over them," "call them out," and "pander to a bunch of IT geeks"?

Easy, if you don't mind the odd job (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017958)

Easy, if you don't mind the odd job.

Be interested in what they're interested in.. (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017963)

In any cliche to be "part of the group" you need to be interested in what they're interested in. That's probbably going to vary even in different workplaces. It doesn't always have to be something specific, but can often be just having similar world views. If you can't be interested in at least some of the same things the group is interested in, you may never be part of "the group". Don't try to fake it, it's way too obvious when you do. If they all go out to lunch, get yourself invited along. If they meet after work and drink, try to get invited along. Start slowly, listen a lot and try to contribute to conversation. Don't get all offended if they start talking about porn-stars or fart jokes. There's still some people that may not accept you, but then that's always the case no matter what gender you are. As long you're in with "the collective", you're fine.

Maybe you won't be interested in being part of "the group" because you aren't interested in the same things. That's fine, try to develop friendships with individuals then. People have widely different interests outside of a cliche.

I've got it. (3, Funny)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017964)

Cut off your hair and tape down your boobs. For supplemental camoflage, try quoting the simpsons, family guy, and various slashdot cliches.

They'll mistake you for one of their own and no longer be incapable of making eye contact or simple conversation with you.

Re:I've got it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018093)

Isn't that a Shakespeare plot?

Re:I've got it. (1)

hernyo (770695) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018399)

Haha, this was funny to read in the middle of a serious conversation :)

Or: go to work half-naked and invite a geek per day to the restroom.

Sorry girls, this is meant only to be a joke. No offense.

Just Remember: (1)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017967)

Nothing says nice work like a nice firm pat on the ass

empower yourself (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017970)

Ugh, there's no need to focus on "gender issues". There are all kinds of "cliques" in this world and they aren't necessarily gender-based. (PS: why "boys" and "girl", is this kindergarden? How about "men" and "women").

Maybe you're just new, or you're smarter than them, or you're a different race, or you speak with an accent, or you have different skills, or maybe, you're just shy. Conversely, they might be scared of you! Sometimes guys in IT just have pretty bad social skills.

The first thing to keep in mind is that YOU are responsible for everything that happens to you. I know, this is kind of a foreign concept in our society, but bear with me here. If you want to be friends with your co-workers, you can. If you don't like your co-workers and you want a different job, you can make that happen too. If you want to change the culture in your office, become the CEO, or anything else, you are capable of it. Once you have this kind of confidence, making friends is easy. No need to blame something outside yourself ("gender clique") when you're perfectly capable of achieving whatever you desire.

I know that's a "big" answer to a "small" question, but there was a point in my life when I had a revelation along those lines and these kinds of "problems" just stopped happening to me.

For a specific answer, the best way to make friends with someone (or a group) is to to treat them like they are your friends and have been for a long time. Pretty easy!

So, let's assume these folks are your best friends. What do you do when you see them, say, together at lunch? You join them. You sit down and act as if it's totally appropriate to sit down and say hello, and you've been doing it for years. You have genuine interest in what they say, and you're eager to learn from them and appreciate whatever differences they have from you. You don't care what gender they are, and if they're cold or unreceptive, it's because you need to be a little more patient or try a little harder.

If for some reason they won't accept you as part of their social group, then that's fine too. You can just do your job the best you can, or better yet, leave and get a better job.

Think of some ideas along these lines, ways you can connect with your co-workers. Write them down, and then tomorrow, put them into action.

As for them, well, if they want advice they can Ask Slashdot themselves. You are the one asking the question.

Oh dear (1)

Evro (18923) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017974)

How many comments yet to be posted can be summarized with simply "put out"?

Why bother? (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017975)

They're not getting laid at home. As a woman, you probably are. Really.

But more relevantly, don't worry about the clique. Do your job and collect your paycheck. The good old boys' networks in the average workplace won't last long. I've been in two workplaces like that and both went bankrupt. They'll have their comraderie, but you'll have your actual achievements on your resume, and maybe you'll even decide to run your own business later on; women-owned businesses statistically do better, anyway.

Now I manage a fairly egalitarian workplace where guys don't crap themselves over women coworkers. We judge people by their skill and not their gender. I know this is anecdotal, but hey, I don't see us going down any time soon, so my theory of egalitarian employers doing better, is... unshaken.

I wish I had a clique at work. (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017983)

Right now, it's just me and my manager. I'm surrounded by nontechnical 50+ females all day who do user support for an application I know nothing about, so they have almost nothing in common with me. :-) Not that it's a bad thing, but it's different from what I've experienced in the past.

In a way, I'm kinda in the same position as the original poster. :-)

To address the original question, though: Do you have anything in common with the folks you work with? Are you into PCs, or tunes, or sports, or movies, or something that would open up some common ground?

How important are these cliques you're talking about in your workplace? In some offices, there are teams delineated by the work area in question, but "cliques" per se don't really exist outside of those teams.

I guess I've spent so much time working with technies in their 30's/40's/50's that I've never run into the issue of "cliques" before, so it's an interesting question for me, too.

Re:I wish I had a clique at work. (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018413)

I will trade ya.

Half my co-workers live in other states. Of those that work here, one is an ass, one I have nothing in common with, one is a lesbian who is busy with her partner and kids, one is busy with his sick elderly father, and the last one is my female boss. I work in a cube farm, and our teas cubes are far from each other. I have almost no interaction with anyone else in my building. Most of the people I interact with are in other states.

At least you can interact face to face with other people.

Organize a social event (1)

mr_rattles (303158) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017985)

Our team has a message board on our intranet with a forum dedicated to social events. Once in a while a social (usually either going out to the bar, a LAN party, team picnic, etc.) thread is created and everyone on the team is invited. The only way you would be the odd (wo)man out in this situation is by choosing not to go.

Try setting up a social outing like this and choose something the guys are interested in (drinking, board/card gaming, LAN party, etc.). It may take a few tries to get a good number of people to go but once you do it can really help break any barriers that had existed prior.

What can a girl do... (5, Insightful)

KermodeBear (738243) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017986)

This is the important question. A group of friends shouldn't have to change to accomodate someone - if someone wants to be a member, that person has to be the one to change.

I have found that girls mesh very easily with the boys, provided:
1) The girl isn't ditzy or an airhead. Now, a girl in IT is highly unlikely to be this way, but smart guys tend to like to be around other smart people.
2) A lot of guys don't like the girls around because they feel really uncomfortable that they might say "the wrong thing", and the next minute they are having a "sensitivity training" session with Human Resources. Don't be emo. Please. Take a joke for what it is - a joke - instead of taking it personally. Bonus points for telling a few yourself, it will help us relax.
3) Give it some time. Like anyone new to a group, there is going to be some discomfort while everyone figures out what kind of person you are.
4) Feminism is okay - Feminazi-ism is not.
5) If someone does something totally inappropriate - you know what I mean - feel free to follow the chain of command and get the other person in trouble. Don't go overboard though. There is nothing worse than someone who takes every little thing out of context in an attempt to be the victim.

At the last company I worked, there were two females hired in an otherwise all male IT department. One was something of a tomboy and she was instantly accepted as part of the group. GREAT sense of humor. The other was one of those types that would whine to HR the minute she thought something "inappropriate" was going on (and, honestly, it never was - we were pretty well behaved there). She ended up being the one noone talked to unless it was necessary - but, somehow, it was OUR fault.

That said, boys and girls ARE different. I don't see anything inherently wrong with single-gender groups. It's natural.

Re:What can a girl do... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018277)

A lot of guys don't like the girls around because they feel really uncomfortable that they might say "the wrong thing", and the next minute they are having a "sensitivity training" session with Human Resources.

That is sooooo incredibly true. She'd never be asked to after-work drinks, and usually not to lunch.

Re:What can a girl do... (1)

daigu (111684) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018518)

It's not natural. It also shows a larger problem at the company. IT departments should not be all male. Even if you think that there are fewer technically qualified women for some IT roles - a claim I personally don't agree with, there are plenty of roles in an IT departments where the traditional socialization of women helps them to have a leg up on their male counterparts - I'm thinking specifically of relationship managers, project managers, and so forth.

Men and women are different, and they communicate differently. This is true. However, I would argue that the ability to communicate and work with the opposite gender in a work setting is a key skill - one that is better learned from coworkers than from clients. It is also one where you have to meet them halfway rather than expect them to do all the work.

Show some skin? (0, Troll)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017987)

That's always worked.

Sometimes.... (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 8 years ago | (#16017993)

when you hear them talking up about this and that, try to engage (ambush, whatever) them and ride with the punches. If you get in their face long enough, they'll either accept you as one of the crowd or think you're amazingly annoying. Either way, you know if you'll ever be accepted. Since you're in an IT-type discipline, the best times to approach are when they're on general technology topics.

Don't let gender related humor fly. Guys love to raz each-other and if/when tey take pot shots at vaginas, don't just let it stand. It sets a bad presidence. If they take a shot at you, comment on their small member, or something as asinine. This is often how the guy work circle behaves. Its not necessarily as nurturing as the female side of the equation. If you want to break down those barriers, you have to learn to be 'kinda' a guy.

Maybe after all of that and you've effectively broken into the clique, you find that they're not really the kind of people you wanted to hang out with anyway. Its though being the odd one out, but sometimes it's for the best.

PS: This is from a man, so this is the perspective from my side =/

sleep with them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16017999)

if your a lotus notes admin, sleeping with the linux admins helps

Bring your strap-on, honey! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018201)

Because all Linux admins are gay and love to have their poopers reamed out.

Ease Off Trying To Date Her (5, Insightful)

logicnazi (169418) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018002)

Though I'm not a computer scientist I am a mathematician, another field inhabited by nerds with a large ratio of men to women. While there are definatly tensions created by this ratio I have never seen the men try to exclude girls or form a clique and not let them in. However, often shyness or lack of social skills will be interpreted by a more socially competent girl as a form of exclusion.

So if you are a girl I sugest just going up to them and being friendly. Likely what seems like exclusion is really just fear of talking to a girl or fear of looking like they are trying to pick you up. Often the prettier the girl the more she will intimidate the guys and the less likely they are to initiate conversation. Also remember that many nerds dispense with conversational niceities and tend to just launch directly into subjects they are comfortable with in conversation.

Going the other direction the big thing to avoid doing is glooming the girl, that is making yourself overly friendly and following her around in the hope that she will like you and start dating you. It won't work and it will make her uncomfortable around her. If you want to pick up a girl in this sort of situation be friendly but do so in reasonable doses and don't push yourself on her. Leave when the conversation naturally dies and if she seems to be recipricating your interest you can ask her out but don't follow her around just because she is nice to you.

In other words treat the girl as just another one of the guys. Don't worship her and don't ignore her.

Unfortunatly the biggest reason for gender tension I have seen is the catch-22 many tech girls find themselves in of wanting to be polite to nice but clueless nerds and fending off advances. Often this can make girls feel like they are under seige and make spending time with their male colleagues feel like walking through a mine field. Most nerd girls just want to be one of the guys (figuratively) and not have to worry about akward advances.

Re:Ease Off Trying To Date Her (4, Interesting)

forkazoo (138186) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018150)

Though I'm not a computer scientist I am a mathematician, another field inhabited by nerds with a large ratio of men to women. While there are definatly tensions created by this ratio I have never seen the men try to exclude girls or form a clique and not let them in. However, often shyness or lack of social skills will be interpreted by a more socially competent girl as a form of exclusion.


Yes, I think this is the key point. If a bunch of IT/math/whatever geek guys are all keeping their heads down, not talking, and avoiding eye contact, then they are doing everything in their power to make the girl feel welcome. Seriously. In the limited geek-understanding of social skills, one of the few key points that the smart ones manage to figure out is usually, "Don't stare at her boobs, don't hit on her. If I do that, I'll scare her away and she won't talk to me anymore." Personally, I'm still working on getting my social skills *up to* that level.

I have pretty much never seen a group of guys actively try to exclude a girl. Sure, it happens occasionally. But, it is pretty rare. Girls just seem to have different expectations of socialising from male geeks.

Re:Ease Off Trying To Date Her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018503)

Most nerd girls just want to be one of the guys (figuratively) and not have to worry about akward advances.

Actually, the first step I'd recommend for a girl is to figure out what she wants. There's no one right answer but it is important to be realistic. Some girls are going to be single and be wanting to have a torrid affair with the most hot-shot nerd they can find. Other girls are going to be already married with children and just looking for an environment that isn't too frigid or hostile.

In a work environment you can't really choose your co-workers so sometimes it's going to work out socially and sometime it's not. Sometimes all the guys will be looking for torrid affairs and the girl just wants a friendly work environment and other times the girls wants the torrid affair and the guys just want a friendly work environment.

Basically, either it's going to work or it's not and the best you can do is to try to understand the social dynamics so that you don't blame yourself if it doesn't work for reasons you have no control over.

Rarely, there will be couple different groups a girl could associate with in a work environment and in that case the key is to choose the right group. In that case, know what you want and trust your feelings.

IT Ettiquette (5, Insightful)

audj (980103) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018019)

There are certain No-Nos when it comes to IT guys.
1. Don't dress like a skank. It will remind them of girls they've seen in pornos, and they will be unable to speak (let alone think) in your presence. They also won't take you seriously or want to be your friend because you have presented yourself as out of their self-esteem league.
2. Don't talk about their interests if you don't want to hear their opinion. Don't start a conversation about Dungeons & Dragons unless you've brought your dice and have your character already started. Don't bring up William Shatner unless you want to talk about the differences between Star Trek III vs. Generations.
3. Don't pretend to know something you don't. If you try to debate the pros and cons of Linux when you've never even used it, these guys will know. These guys are the ultimate IT-lie detectors. It only takes one question to discover you know nothing about something you claimed to.
4. Don't take on the nerdiest guy and try to "break his shell." That shell has taken years to build up: years of bullying and swirlies, years of pirating software and music, and years of being pushed and locked in lockers. Puberty has destroyed their self-esteem, and you pushing to get to know them is going to make them crazy.

The big yes's:
1. Be yourself. The age-old adage rings true once again. The more exposure they get to a normal girl the better they will be with other girls.
2. Be approachable. Put a nice sign on your door reminiscent of the websites they frequent. "Come in and get to know me." "Send me an email if you want to chat." "Hi, I'm Audj."
3. Bring food. Cookies, pizza, and caffinated soda will make instant friends.
4. Be nice. If they're annoying, take a deep breath and say kindly, "Oh really?" Continue the conversation and remember that you're doing women around the world a favor by introducing them to the female gender.

What the female should do (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018028)

The most effective thing the lady should do is immediately file a sexual harrassment complaint against one or more of the guys. This will break the ice with them and lead to acceptance.

i've honestly not noticed a problem really (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018042)

hmm ... ok, i'm a female in programming and, as such, generally the only female programmer where i work. i've occasionally worked places where there's been one other female. anyway, i've never noticed any discomfort or "clique-ishness" in getting along, really. just the normal "i'm the new 'guy' and we're all a little shy" thing. since we're all geeks, we all tend to have at least some interests in common and so have things to talk about/bond over. now, when i worked game dev it was less comfortable being the girl, for some reason, but maybe it's just harder being the new guy there and not a gender thing at all. generally (in 'normal' software dev) i've never felt any issues from my coworkers. places where we're likely to not hit it off tend to be around politics and stuff like that, not gender differences.

i will say, though, the one annoying thing i've encountered is management. for some reason every place i've worked where there's been another female programmer, management seems to think the two of us would just LOVE to sit next to each other. every. single. time. "let's put the girls together!!" sheesh. like we'd automagically be bff and braid each other's hair or something. i usually don't even get along all that well with other girls (we don't seem to have much in common), so this chafes.

Re:i've honestly not noticed a problem really (1)

mdarksbane (587589) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018565)

Honey, is that you?

Just kidding, but my fiancee complained about the management problem all the time through college. Any group assignment they put her with the other girls in the class to make her feel at home, or something. She started specifically writing "I work fine with boys" on all of the pre-group information slips.

It's been my experience that there will be as much of a gender issue as the specific group decides to make of it. If someone ignores the fact that she's the only girl and just works as though she's a member of a team there shouldn't be any problems. The important thing is to make that first step, so the guys aren't worried about not knowing who you are. And if some idiot guy decides tries to talk down to you kick his ass - the other guys will appreciate you more for it.

IT chicks should dress like anime characters (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018077)

and boys should bathe once a week, even if they don't need it, to welcome the IT chick.

breaking into the guys. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018080)

what can a girl in IT do when she finds herself on the outside of those cliques of boy coworkers?


Show them ur tits?

easy (-1, Troll)

uberjoe (726765) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018113)

Have sex with the men. That way they'll like you.

opposite sex (1)

bobbonomo (997543) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018144)

For the males: Think of her as just another co-worker with a different interface to the human reproductive system. If it is "normal" to say shit or whatever then say it. Don't change language. For the females: Stop trying to prove this or that. Prove your competence because you are a techie not because your are of the opposite sex.

Racial height issues. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018162)

I know it's fun to only lament about scarcity of "women in IT" to Slashdot, but believe me, race does come into the picture. In my case, I am full-blooded Cherokee Indian, and a dwarf [wikipedia.org] . A lot of my coworkers just don't notice me. The worst affront to my dignity happened when I was coding late one night and completely stuck on a line of code (I actually remember the code in question, it was the first time I had seen Duff's Device [wikipedia.org] , actually in some code I had just gotten the task of maintaining). So, I'm completely stuck, looking at some code like this:

switch (count % 8)
    {
    case 0: do { *to = *from++;
    case 7: *to = *from++;
    case 6: *to = *from++;
    case 5: *to = *from++;
    case 4: *to = *from++;
    case 3: *to = *from++;
    case 2: *to = *from++;
    case 1: *to = *from++;
                } while (--n > 0);
    }


I had been looking at it in a trance for about 8-9 minutes, trying to step through it in my head. At one point the office cleaner, who had been tidying up the room, emptying waste-baskets etc, walked over to my desk, reached in front of me, and turned off my monitor! I turned around startled and looked at him, and he jumped and gave me the most shocked look I've ever seen in my life. Apparently he'd thought I was a prop or office toy of some kind. =(

I didn't tell anyone, but this is just one example of the kinds of challenges some of us have to face each and every day. Frankly, getting invited to the bar after work is the least of my concerns.

Lunch... (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018207)

I had woman co-worker who insisted everyone goes out to lunch and sit together at the same time. That was cool. After she left for a job closer to home, everyone went back to their old ways.

From one girl in IT to another... (4, Insightful)

ari{Dal} (68669) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018235)

I'm the only girl (and the team lead) in an all-male IT department. I've honestly never had any issues; it really does tend to be the women who are more cliquish than the men. In my experience, the best bets are:

1) Never flirt. It's just bad news all around,and encourages the office males to view you as a sexual being instead of a coworker. Not good.
2) Be friendly and just hang out. Go for coffee if they ask, invite everyone out for after-work beers. Ask if anyone's going out for lunch so you can all go somewhere together.
3) Be good at what you do. Do your work with care and deliver what you promise. Nothing helps break down barriers in the office like proving your worth.
4) Don't try to bullshit your way past someone who knows more about a given area than you do. One of my team members runs circles around me when it comes to java, I kick his ass at perl; it's all give and take, and we both know it. I give him the respect he deserves for that and don't try to pretend to know more than he does about java, and he does the same for me. Though, I think this goes regardless of gender.

Having said that, there are still areas of discrimination out there. The most telling comment I got was from the HR rep that hired me for my current contract. Her comment was something along the lines of "When I ask the guys if you're any good, they just say 'Yes, she really knows her stuff. She's good at what she does.' I knew that meant you were exceptional, because they didn't qualify it with 'Yes, she's good, for a girl.'"

The fact that there's still that kind of mentality in some places is just disheartening.

Maybe I'm an exception to the rule (1)

digitrev (989335) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018254)

But not all nerds/IT guys are socially incompetent. Some of them are actually fairly normal people. They just enjoy working with computers. Just because they're not socialities doesn't mean they can't handle human interaction. Be a nice person, and they'll probably be nice to you. Sure, you might get a Mike every now and then, but most people are fairly nice. As has been mentioned before, don't expect people to change. Just take part in the conversation, and be yourself.

Are you *sure* it's a gender clique? (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018286)

I'm probably going to get modded down for this, but how do you know it's a gender clique? Perhaps your coworkers simply aren't interested in you, specifically.

How competent are you, technically-speaking? If these guys are geeks, it's quite possible that they're actually being completely non-sexist, which means they're going to be just as harsh, critical, and obnoxious with you as they would be with any man. Of course, women tend to take such criticism a lot more personally than men do, so it might seem worse than it is really intended to be. If that's the case, the best thing to do would be to be a little more assertive, rather than crying to Slashdot. ;)

On the other hand, it's also possible that these guys are misogynist jerks who therefore aren't worth your time.

It could also be somewhere in between, i.e. there is some sexism but the guys are mostly unaware of it, and would probably be willing to change their behaviour if you pointed it out. In that case, proceed to point out an individual's sexist behaviour, BUT:

  • Do it with as few people around as possible. You are perceived to be at an advantage with anti-discrimination laws, and the bigger the scene that you make, the more threatened the other person is going to feel. This will make them less receptive to you.
  • Try not to have any records of the discussion. Again, if you're perceived as really trying to collect evidence for disciplinary action or a sexual harassment lawsuit, you're not going to make any friends.
  • Discuss specific behaviours, not blanket accusations of sexism. You're not going to make any progress with anyone who is consciously sexist, so there's no point in trying. Your goal is to change old habits of people who probably aren't sexist (and certainly don't view themselves as such) but are simply used to only interacting with other males.
  • Be prepared to support your claims with specific examples and sound reasoning. "I feel isolated and you are a male ergo you are sexist" will not win you any support. If you find that you cannot do so, then don't fall back on fallacious arguments like "I can't explain it but you're wrong anyway." No rational man wants to deal with "arguments" like that from anyone.
  • Be prepared to change your behaviour, too.

Finally, if nothing works, then just quit your job and go someplace more deserving of your talents. Don't make a big stink (or, at least, think very carefully before doing so) because that is guaranteed to isolate you, and it'll also have the effect of getting yourself labeled as a "troublemaker", making it harder to find a job at the aforementioned place that is more deserving of your talents.

"one of the guys" (3, Insightful)

cascadingstylesheet (140919) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018293)

I think I must break something to women readers (I know, all two of them ...):

You will *never* be "one of the guys".

The men may find you attractive. They may not find you attractive. They may or may not do anything with either reaction (other than mentally note it) but a reaction *will* be there.

There will be potential awkwardness and problems (and, of course, potential joys) that simply don't exist between coworkers of the same gender. That's just how it is.

None of this, of course, means that you can't be great friends and coworkers, have a great working relationship, etc. But that phrase ("one of the guys") always worries me. If the guys at work are telling dirty jokes to you / with you (and you are going along with because you want to be "one of the guys") they aren't experiencing it the same way as when they tell dirty jokes with the guys. They're getting an extra thrill out of talking dirty with a woman. Bonus points because she doesn't even realize it. Extra bonus points if you are unavailable or married.

Of course, the ones who seem the least uncomfortable or awkward, *by the "one of the guys" standard*, are the ones smoothest at fooling you ... complicated, isn't it?

But what do I know, I'm just an old-fashioned fossil who thinks that women should be treated with extra decency and respect. It's precisely because of that that I am not going to pretend that they are "one of the guys".

[Now a bunch of guys are going to post that this is bunk, it's just me, that *they* can see you as just one of the guys. Take careful note - they're the ones you need to watch out for! ;)]

A Blowjob (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018316)

No Seriously. This will break the ice and relieve tension.

Bawls (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018323)

Nothing says "IT fellow" like a nice case of Bawls.

those Brits have an answer for everything! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018405)

Do what I do when unfairly shut out of sorority sleep-overs: dress in drag.

Never really had a problem (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018422)

I've been on a couple of projects where there was a lone woman (either developer or QA), and they were always treated as just another team member. OTOH, both times we were all on new teams, so there was never that awkward "new kid on the block" phase.

I have a simple solution. (1)

skitz0 (89196) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018434)

Grow a penis.

Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018446)

Give head.

Honesty is the best medicine.

Been There (2, Insightful)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018484)

I've been that one woman in the office of men before and from what I've learned you are probably not nearly the outsider you imagine you are. Most geeks whether male or female share a lot of interests, so just be patient and be yourself. Probably the biggest thing they want is reassurance that if someone slips and says something "off-color" it won't result in some sort of "clamp down". If you can just be a geek among geeks everything will be fine, but it takes a little time to establish that.

Easy (1)

JumperCable (673155) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018487)

Start smoking. It's the 'insta-clique'. And that is where all the best tech gets hashed out.

Clique Breakup HOW-TO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018492)

1. Take your 9mm to work with you.
2. Find clique.
3. Put yourself into FPS mode.

expect sexual "harrassment" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#16018551)

In my IT shop of eight males and one female, there is constant sex jokes, references, and whatnot going on. Basically, male boasting and sex chatter. Knowing people makes these seem innocuous, but when someone new comes on board, there is always a look of shock on their faces. No one here is sexist, but the comments alone regarding sex could be grounds for a harassment case, even if someone over heard the comments which were not intended for their ears.

There is a chance that the men at your IT shop feel threatened, that they cannot continue their current lifestyle of sex talk because you might be too "sensitive" to it. If you're not, then break the ice with some off-colour remarks and see what happens.

I hope that you don't lose your job, though, since you might not know what the culture was like before your arrival. Larger IT shoppes will have more "policies" in place to prevent adults from discussing adult things, so tread lightly but be aware that the guys are probably used to being guys, and making them comfortable to do so will help them accept you.

Y'all act like it's so complicated (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 8 years ago | (#16018560)

Just have a sex change already.

Sheesh.

P.S. Just kidding. Sort of. In another fifty years, if humans are still meat-based, I expect we'll at least have access to a nanotech gender-change booth. Walk in, swipe your card, and boom. :)

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