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Not Enough Women In Computing, Or Too Many Men?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the rational-choices dept.

Technology 686

itwbennett writes "Do geeks really 'drive girls out of computer science,' as the headline of a LiveScience article contends? Blogger Cameron Laird doesn't think so. In fact, 'I don't think "gender issues in computing" is important enough to merit the attention it gets,' says Laird in a recent post. And maybe the problem isn't that there are too few women in computing, but that there are too many men. 'I'm waiting to read the headline: "Women too smart for careers with computers,"' says Laird, 'where another researcher concludes that only "boys" are stupid enough to go into a field that's globally-fungible, where entry-level salaries are declining, and it's common to think that staying up all night for a company-paid pizza is a good deal.'"

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too many everyone (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30478970)

I need a job.

My say on this (5, Funny)

Feminist-Mom (816033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479212)

As a 49 yo grandmother, feminist, and C programmer for 20+ years I feel highly qualified to comment on this. The answer is that in my experience merit alone has been the only factor.

Re:My say on this (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479310)

That's a racist comment.

Re:My say on this (5, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479414)

by Feminist-Mom (816033) Alter Relationship on Thursday December 17, @04:14PM (#30479212)
As a 49 yo grandmother, feminist, and C programmer for 20+ years I feel highly qualified to comment on this. The answer is that in my experience merit alone has been the only factor.

Stop Plagerising poor anon-cowards.
http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1482242&cid=30476526 [slashdot.org]

by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 17, @01:34PM (#30476526)
As a 49 yo grandmother, a feminist, and having had a long career as a C programmer, I find that offensive. Would they have said his father couldn't see it? This is just another racist characterization of women being incompetent with technology.

Re:My say on this (4, Funny)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479440)

Maybe she forgot to log in for that comment. Typical blond mistake, if you ask me...

Re:My say on this (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479456)

She probably didn't plagerize it. She probably posted anon because she knew she would be modded down. That is what ac is for.

Re:My say on this (2, Informative)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479558)

Actually, I just read her comment history, and it seems the coward plagiarized her first (another comment). Her original comment fit the original scenario unlike the AC's.

Re:My say on this (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479606)

Wow, 20 years of writing tampon-dispensing code? How hard could it be?

Hypocritical (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30478984)

"I don't think 'gender issues in computing' is important enough to merit the attention it gets,"

So why are you still talking about it?

Re:Hypocritical (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479252)

And this is exactly the problem: active denial of the FACT that we DO have a problem in our field. And it's not just gender, it's race as well.

Re:Hypocritical (2, Insightful)

antirelic (1030688) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479324)

Because like everything else, there is a cult that is dead set to create as many conflicts and divisions wherever they can create them. Also to get attention by creating that conflict (to make more dollars). There will NEVER be an "equal" amount of anything in any situation. This is simply a natural phenomenon, nothing ever stays in balance.

There WAS institutional discrimination in our society. Institutional discrimination has not only been eliminated, but has also been made "illegal". While there may still be situations where women/men/black/white people are discriminated by individual employers, but it is no longer "institutional". So instead of railing against the government, we now have the "humanists" railing against society, for everything they do not consider to be the way they want it.

How about this: Women dont play dungeons and dragons. Dungeon Masters must somehow be discriminating.

How about this: Women dont want to work in a cubicle farm, in front of a monitor, doing math all day for little thanx or social interaction. No no... that would go against the paradigm of perpetual class conflict.

Coming Right Up (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#30478988)

One calm, level headed discussion about the disparity of genders in the world of computer science where everyone agrees on the solution with no emotions, personal anecdotes, gender studies, centuries of suffrage, accusations, cherry picked statistics, flamebait quotes from message boards, reverse sexism or chauvinistic undertones trumpeted.

Yep, this one sounds like it might be even as tame as your average climategate discussion.

Re:Coming Right Up (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479106)

You must be new here.~

Re:Coming Right Up (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479232)

You also must be new here, aka wooosh.

Re:Coming Right Up (2, Informative)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479300)

Aha! My tilde cleverly negated your whoosh.

Re:Coming Right Up (0, Offtopic)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479570)

Since when is a tilde a negation? Isn't it supposed to be an exclamation point?

Re:Coming Right Up (2, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479320)

No, he used the "What I just said was retarded mark" ("~"), indicating he was being sarcastic.

Yeah right (2, Insightful)

iamacat (583406) | more than 4 years ago | (#30478998)

It's still a great field with good salary, sane work hours and prospects for advancements. It's just not as compelling as during dot com boom. Women should stop making excuses and go into any good field they like.

Re:Yeah right (1)

Hacker_PingWu (1561135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479138)

Depends on whether you're talking about IT/Business Computing, or Computer Science/coding...

...Because if you're talking Computer Science/coding, unless you've got a mighty strong background and specialization, and in the right part of the country...

...not only isn't it always a great field with good salary, the job'll often suck for what you get. There are still some jobs to be had in South and Central California, for example for $65k+ with a bachelors degree from a private or engineering school like Harvey Mudd, Stanford, or one of the Cal Tech/Poly schools... but frequently there's less jobs this side of the oceans, less pay and room for advancement, and the expectation that you'll frequently have to work full time and a half or more on projects on a regular basis.

Re:Yeah right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479566)

Depends on whether you're talking about IT/Business Computing, or Computer Science/coding... ...Because if you're talking Computer Science/coding, unless you've got a mighty strong background and specialization, and
in the right part of the country... ...not only isn't it always a great field with good salary, the job'll often suck for what you get. There are still some jobs to be had in South
and Central California, for example for $65k+ with a bachelors degree from a private or engineering school like Harvey Mudd, Stanford,
or one of the Cal Tech/Poly schools... but frequently there's less jobs this side of the oceans, less pay and room for advancement,
and the expectation that you'll frequently have to work full time and a half or more on projects on a regular basis.

Can't say I've found your experience to be common in the Baltimore/DC area. I know a few hundred developers from a number of companies, and they're all paid much better than 65k/year.

Let's make a deal (2, Funny)

snspdaarf (1314399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479000)

Company-paid pizza and a soda, or fix it yourself.

Re:Let's make a deal (1)

LitelySalted (1348425) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479028)

And NO anchovies. And the soda has to be Fresca.

Re:Let's make a deal (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479122)

Obviously it has to be Tab or Mountain Dew...

http://www.jonathancoulton.com/chords/code-monkey/

Cue The Moral Outrage (4, Insightful)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479020)

Cue the moral outrage for a person promulgating deragatory gender stereotypes.

Wait, it is a woman? Nevermind.

Re:Cue The Moral Outrage (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479186)

My girlfriend was offered a full scholarship into engineering/computing and turned it down. I went in. She decided to do biology and then med school, she paid it all. Now she makes 4 times what I make.

Yes, I do agree, she made the smart decision. But I choose to defend my decision of engineering/computers with the reasoning: I enjoy what I do, It's my hobby. She cannot do the same, while she enjoys her job, she isn't as enthusiastic about it as I am. She can't break out the knife and do surgery at home. Well, legally, anyway.

I do work long hours and get stuck at work for small increments in pay. This is how it is with many computer people. But remember, there is a BIG difference between JOE IT down the street, and the high-level db admins, enterprise architects, etc. Many of the 'regular' guys never went to university, and it is them who are diluting the wages. The people that did go to university are being stuffed into a field where more and more do-it-yourselfers are getting into it and undercutting costs. Truth is, most IT doesn't require a university educated guy when your nephew or a guy with 5 years 'experience' can do it almost as well...and even if there is a difference, not many small to medium businesses can tell the difference until something very bad happens.

Re:Cue The Moral Outrage (5, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479402)

Many of the 'regular' guys never went to university, and it is them who are diluting the wages.

I'm calling bullshit on that. I didn't get a degree, and neither did a lot of other people I know who are pulling in higher-level salaries. I've seen plenty of Java monkeys who got their ticket punched but were at a complete loss to write something that had nothing to do with their coursework, though.

-jcr

Re:Cue The Moral Outrage (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479576)

you better turn her into your wife pretty quick.

I don't see a 'successful doctor' (as you put it) hanging onto a nerdy computer guy forever.

Re:Cue The Moral Outrage (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479218)

A woman named Cameron, eh?

Re:Cue The Moral Outrage (1)

harmonise (1484057) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479342)

Named Jeanna, which you would know had you clicked the link to read the article.

I am seeing it. (5, Insightful)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479030)

The items he mentions are part of the reason I am trying to get out of IT.

IT workers are getting smaller and smaller salaries, having to compete with H1-Bs and out-of-country workers, have to deal with job scope creep, idiot managers, and expected to give up any semblance of work/life balance just to keep up.

It has gotten to the point where working in IT just isn't worth it because the positions just aren't respected.

Re:I am seeing it. (1)

OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479190)

it all depends on which area of IT you're in; there are sections of IT that are well paid but the unfortunate part is you still have to deal with the weird hours but IT is support so as support you are going to have to put up with those weekends on called.

Re:I am seeing it. (4, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479192)

And you know what? Tough shit. I love how on slashdot everybody's quite happy to take the RIAA/MPAA to task for trying to enshrine their business model into law, but this is similar: Along a long enough timeline, everything gets commoditized, and IT workers are no exception.

As for respect, please. management doesn't give a shit about anybody, what makes you so special?

Re:I am seeing it. (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479362)

I think of writing software like manufacturing. So of course, the manufacturing is going to happen wherever there is the best labor value. That doesn't necessarily mean the cheapest labor, but it might mean that.

Re:I am seeing it. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479376)

He isn't grasping after his obsolete business model, he is abandoning it.

Re:I am seeing it. (4, Informative)

dave562 (969951) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479208)

I agree with you for IT workers. On the other hand, if you've been in IT for a while and have any management ability or the inclination to do consulting, the ability to make a good living still exists. I can't speak for the life of a corporate IT drone, but life in the small / medium business sector is thriving. There are a lot of businesses out there that appreciate the necessity of having a stable IT foundation. With the economic downturn there is more competition for the contracts, but if you're skilled and have a history of success behind you, the work is available. My last employer replaced me with two people when I left in 2006 and he hasn't had to lay any of them off despite the "Greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression".

The greatest change I've seen is the shift to outsourcing and consulting. The ability to have a successful, long term IT career at a single employer is probably further away than it has ever been. But if a person is willing to do contract work, there is work aplenty. Just check dice.com if you don't believe me. I have my resume posted and even though I'm working full time, I still get a couple of calls a month from recruiters who are looking to fill positions.

Re:I am seeing it. (1)

spinkham (56603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479354)

Look to the high integrity side of the industry to avoid outsourcing pressure.
Military, banks, and other high risk organizations pay a premium for dependable in house talent with integrity. If you can score a top security clearence w/ polygraph, you'll have employment for life. If not, looking to high risk organizations usually leads to better treatment.

Grass is always greener (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479404)

There are still good IT jobs out there, just not as many as during the boom. Realise that other industries also go through boom and bust cycles and that you're going to have to spend time and money getting qualified in something else. If you're going to spend most of your waking hours doing something, might as well pick something you enjoy and chase the good jobs in that industry, rather than chasing jobs and industries you don't enjoy.

Re:I am seeing it. (1)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479446)

If you don't like the jobs you're offered, then start your own business. if you can be replaced that easily, then you haven't been keeping your skills ahead of the curve. Nobody owes you a job.

-jcr

Re:I am seeing it. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479484)

Another reason to get out of IT will be to avoid the mandatory sex change operation to solve this issue.

But not all programming is IT (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479598)

IT can be a harsh place for programmers, it is true.

That's why you are really better off if you can find a product development team to work on, where the software product is the star of the show instead of an abused supporting player.

But even IT *can* be good, you just have to figure out what niche to carve to make things better where you are. It helps a ton if you understand the business and can propose technical things that really do help some function of the company.

Working it IT is a far more political environment, but it is possible to navigate within that structure.

Re:I am seeing it. (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479600)

What position are you going to get into? Most jobs either pay far less, force you to work even more inconvenient hours, or stick you in a much less pleasant environment than an office...

Men aren’t so dumb... (1)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479034)

If you’re doing something you enjoy, you’re getting paid what you consider a reasonable recompense for your performance, and you stay up all night anyway... how is free pizza not a good deal?

Re:Men aren’t so dumb... (1)

Old97 (1341297) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479158)

You must be a man.

Re:Men aren’t so dumb... (4, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479332)

Not just that, it works on all levels... Men seem to be more willing to work silly hours for pizza than women. Men are also more inclined to pretty much give up their personal life to go into higher management, whereas women prefer to forego a career in favour of working part-time.

Men and women tend to make different choices; I don't know if it's Nature or Nurture, but smarts or stupidity have very little to do with it.

Re:Men aren’t so dumb... (4, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479412)

It’s almost like men and women are... well, different!

Re:Men aren’t so dumb... (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479564)

how is free pizza not a good deal?

I'm diabetic, you insensitive clod!

Oh please... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479076)

Can we get over this whole sexism bullshit already? Who gives a damn if women don't work in IT? If a woman wants to do something in IT, fine. If she doesn't, fine. If you want to look for gender-based discrimination, look elsewhere.

Are women pushing men out of nursing? (2, Insightful)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479264)

No, men just not that interested in being nurses, unless they're gay.

Re:Are women pushing men out of nursing? (4, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479474)

I think you'd be surprised at the amount of tail male nurses pull.

Re:Are women pushing men out of nursing? (1)

etymxris (121288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479534)

No, I wouldn't find that surprising at all. After all, women in computing certainly have a large selection of men to choose from (if that's their gender of preference). Of course, some will say it's quantity over quality...

Re:Are women pushing men out of nursing? (5, Interesting)

xilmaril (573709) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479554)

No, men just not that interested in being nurses, unless they're gay.

bullshit.

I've got a lot of family members who work various positions in local hospitals, and my sister just went through a medical lab assistant course, and agrees with what I'm saying here.

Saying that men aren't interested is BS, because they're high paying jobs and you spend every class surrounded by ladies. it sounds like a great scam. But when you get there, everyone thinks you're 'just precious' and you end up being the damn bouncer and guy who picks up heavy things in an emergency room, which isn't exactly a job with good promotion potential.

There are a lot of guys who want a stable well paying job with fairly low risk and nice stat holidays. A lot more of them would be getting into the field if there wasn't such a social stigma.

Re:Are women pushing men out of nursing? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479586)

"unless they're gay."

ummm.... I'd say my little brother & his wife would beg to differ.

He makes a lot of money doing what he does and is more likely to get hired than a woman in the field because hospitals prefer men to help restrain patients when necessary. Also it's very unlikely that his job can be outsourced, compared to IT.

Gender dominance in a particular field is more due to interest than anything else. So can we stop with the "this job is more masculine, this job is more feminine" unless your gay/lesbian crap?

Re:Oh please... (0, Troll)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479276)

I do, it would be nice to see some more ladies at conferences that I can ogle instead of paying attention.

Re:Oh please... (3, Insightful)

DaGoatSpanka (839005) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479430)

I do, it would be nice to see some more ladies at conferences that I can ogle instead of paying attention.

You ogling is what's scaring them off.

Re:Oh please... (1)

Myopic (18616) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479312)

I don't necessarily think that sexism is the thing keeping women out of IT, but if I did want to "look elsewhere" for gender-based discrimination, what better place to look than in a field highly dominated by one sex? To me, it seems like the perfect place to look, even if in the end you don't find it.

Re:Oh please... (2, Informative)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479574)

... if I did want to "look elsewhere" for gender-based discrimination, what better place to look than in a field highly dominated by one sex?

Indeed. It never stops bothering me that strippers, nurses, nannies, and cosmetologists are almost invariably female. And if it wasn't for gay men, our numbers in certain industries would even worse.

Re:Oh please... (1)

robot256 (1635039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479502)

This is all part of society's "war on men"--trying to make men responsible for everything that could be wrong in the culture. Witness the recent probes on gender bias in college admissions [google.com] . They wonder why colleges are not admitting the same proportion of women when they get twice as many applications from women as from men. Nevermind the potential for a study to determine if female students apply to more schools than men (thus generating more applications) or whether admitting more women would serve anybody's best interests (including those of women). Any reason to bash on men is fine, regardless of whether they are in the majority or if any actual discrimination is taking place. And it's a worldwide phenomenon. It's no wonder the herbivore [npr.org] movement is taking hold.

Going into it for all the wrong reasons... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479078)

If you go into any job for the wrong reasons and aren't honest with yourself about what the work is like, you're not going to enjoy it. It's like saying that people go into law or medicine only for the money; that may be true for some, but the ones who trully enjoy it recognize long hours come with the territory.

All the same things could be said with medicine as well.

And how would one count Lynn Conway... ;) (1)

PaulBu (473180) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479084)

... of "Introduction to VLSI Systems" Mead/Conway fame?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Conway [wikipedia.org]

Paul B.

Re:And how would one count Lynn Conway... ;) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479516)

Born with a male brain. Result is obvious.

Not enough vs. too many (1)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479130)

Since they are relative terms it makes no difference in how it is stated. So it depends on the point of refrence.

It's a matter of fun (1)

volongoto (1702636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479160)

Boys grow up with computer games and at some point they get curious about how all that stuff is possible. I think that's the main motive lying behind men dominating the field.

The money issue is not as simple as stated (4, Interesting)

managerialslime (739286) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479164)

I've been taking my 18 year old to tour colleges as he will be pursuing chemical engineering. Engineering starting salaries across the board (chemical, civil, mechanical, and electrical) are between $50 and $70k.

The solution for many comp sci students is to double major comp sci with one of the above "demand" areas, pass the professional engineering exam, and then the money issue is a non issue. Computer skills are now part and parcel of every engineering profession, so getting paid well to do what you love (if you love computers) should not be difficult.

The challenge for people hell-bent on starting their careers as programmers (as opposed to computer engineers) seems to be that starting programmers are not worth as much.

[By the way, the number of girls on his engineering tours seem to be between 10% and 20%. In other words, nothing there is changing. My son's solution to the ratio issue is to attend a large university where there are more female students overall.]

Re:The money issue is not as simple as stated (1)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479330)

some engineering firms even pay to help you take and pass the PE exam if you have your bachelors, too.

Re:The money issue is not as simple as stated (1)

Hacker_PingWu (1561135) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479514)

Yeah, that's just it. If you're intent on doing programming work with or without the benefit of a degree, often even if you have a masters, you're a monkey they put in front a keyboard. One reliable, commited guy in one of the Slavic countries, in the Scandinavian peninsula or North Africa on contract for a project can often do the work that would take a team of a half dozen people in the US a year to complete at standard salary here, in half the time, for 25% of the cost and none of the lip.

You really need to have more expertise than "just" programming like an engineering or networking specialization as well, or you start looking lackluster in comparison to the guys with masters in Comp Sci and in Engineering fields that have years of experience, program well as a requirement for their past jobs... but are currently living with their family or out of their car.

With deregulation of business practices and increasing globalization, the coding part of Comp Sci alone isn't anywhere near the lucrative field it used to be.

Give me a break (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479182)

Judging by the women I know personally, these points aren't even part of their criteria for considering careers in IT. You know why most of the women I know don't work in IT? It's simple; they don't find the work interesting or engaging. It's the same reason I'm not a farmer or a journalist. People do the jobs they can do; often what people can do is determined by their natural interests. If women by and large aren't interested in technology, they will not work in IT. It has utterly nothing to do with the global economics of any particular industry.

Hear, hear. (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479506)

On those occasions when I've been reviewing resumes for an open job requirement, it's rare for even one in fifty applicants to be female. I don't see anyone trying to keep them out, I just don't see them trying to get in.

-jcr

From a phsychological point of view... (1)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479200)

We all know men and women are different, physically, psychologically, etc....so allow me to offer my viewpoint (these are gross generalizations, but I think you'll get the point)

Women act more based on emotions and feelings than guys do, whereas guys will act on logic and black & white facts. That's why you see more guys in fields like physics and mathematics, and more women in things like psychology, education, etc. (it's also why guys are more sports-inclined and women prefer yapping about everything and nothing over coffee)

Based on this, I think it's perfectly natural to point out that computers fields (very fact- and logic-oriented) are dominated by guys....

Flame this if you have something meaningful to say, I love debates on male/female dynamics & differences....

Re:From a phsychological point of view... (1)

DamonHD (794830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479258)

"Gross", yes, accurate or respectful or meaningful, no.

Rgds

Damon

Re:From a phsychological point of view... (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479428)

We all know men and women are different

No, we don't all know this. More specifically, we don't all "know" that differences that superficially exist matter in some material way to whether or not someone can have a meaningful and productive career in a particular area; we also don't "know" that those apparent differences are biological, as opposed to socially conditioned (and thus, whether we should simply accept them, or challenge as a regrettable and changeable part of the status quo).

Re:From a phsychological point of view... (1)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479582)

nature vs nurture then? that's fair. i would argue that most societal differences b/w men and women at some point come from evolutionary differences. for example, for the longest time (lesser now, but still very prominent) is the male's domination in the household, in gov't, etc. I would say that stems from the biological differences, let me explain....

men, because of their testes, produce more testosterone, which in turn aids in the production of muscle tissue. Men (traditionally) have had the stigma of being the hunters, while women (again, traditionally) had stereotype of staying with the young/children and collecting food. fast-forward a few hundred generations, with men staying in power (if you are stronger than someone, it's easy to stay dominant over that person. in certain ways, we're still cavemen inside) and we have our societal 'roles', that yes in some way are very unfair, but also have their roots in evolution and the differences in our physical make-up.

Re:From a phsychological point of view... (1)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479590)

For that matter, we don't even know that men are more logical than women. We know that many people think like you do, but people are notoriously bad at appraising their own strengths and weaknesses, so their conformity to the stereotype of "men are logical, women emotional" should also be seriously doubted.

Short version: We can't have a good idea of whether men are more naturally inclined to jobs like programming until we've cleared away all the historical and cultural baggage keeping women out, so that natural gender-based inclination is the only cause left to explain the disparity.

Not necessarily correct (1)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479486)

I would say in my experience the proportion of men and women who are unable to understand a logical argument and respond appropriately is roughly equal. Men and women are equally irrational and emotional except for a few days each month. But men don't have babies. Physics, maths and computers give them kind of emotional substitutes. Therefore, women tend to be more happy in a process environment and men tend to be more happy in a completion environment.

Of course this is a generalisation and the strength of the tendency does not, I think, explain the gender bias in these jobs. That is almost entirely social. I am going to go out on a complete limb and suggest that the increase in numbers of people from the East and Far East in IT is one of the factors that is driving gender equality backwards. In the UK, lots of Asian women go into medicine,law and accountancy because these jobs are seen as acceptable by their parents, while engineering, maths and science are seen as more male roles.

Re:Not necessarily correct (1)

LiquidMind (150126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479602)

a valid point. i like it.

Stupid enough? (5, Insightful)

Cruciform (42896) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479206)

"where another researcher concludes that only "boys" are stupid enough to go into a field that's globally-fungible, where entry-level salaries are declining, and it's common to think that staying up all night for a company-paid pizza is a good deal.'"

Does the job pay your bills at an acceptable standard of living?
Are you doing what you are good at?
Are you having fun?

If the answers above are all yes, then who gives a fuck what some researcher thinks.

Garbage men.. (5, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479242)

Odd we don't see many stories about the global shortage in female garbage collectors. Or janitors. And isn't a little bit 90's to go with the whole "Whoah, those powerful women are just too smart to go into computers! Girl powa!". It's not going to get you laid, I promise. Computers are a good field compared to most regardless of declining salaries or anything else.

Women aren't in computers because they tend not to be interested in it. Whether this is socialization or genetics or some mixture is up for debate, and of course there are exceptions but we see the ratio of men to women in computing because men are interested in or gifted in computing at a ratio higher than women.

Re:Garbage men.. (1)

Lobo42 (723131) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479334)

Odd we don't see many stories about the global shortage in female garbage collectors. Or janitors.

Last time I checked, programming pays considerably better than garbage collectors or janitors, and has comparatively better social prestige.

Considerably? (4, Interesting)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479530)

Programmer 84k http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=programmer&l1=new+york

Garbage man 77k http://www.indeed.com/salary?q1=garbage+man&l1=new+york

But the garbage man gets overtime and probably union benefits.

>better social prestige.
Only here.

Re:Garbage men.. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479580)

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/news/2390330/detail.html [thepittsburghchannel.com]

In 2002, the top-paid garbage collector made $66,000. Almost half of that was overtime pay. Another garbage collector made $62,000. Three others had annual pay of more than $50,000.

One reason overtime is so high is because these guys can start collecting overtime while they're still on their regular eight-hour shift.

---

Also, no forced holiday work, and probably better status than most IT people.
Many IT people I know must work either thanksgiving or christmas each year. And every other holiday is viewed as an installation opportunity by the business.

I left IT as a worker and have been recommending against entering the field for the last 6-7 years.

There are many other fields you can go into which have better hours, more women (better dating prospects), higher status (better dating prospects, more parties paid for by the company, more quality company travel to nice locations), and no forced holiday work.

IT has sucked as a field badly since SOX (so about 2001-2002). It sucked before that, but it was more of a trade off. I know some "developers" who get to program 1 week and spend the next 5 testing and filling out documentation.

Depends on the Pizza (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479254)

I mean, pizza is pretty good. I'm waiting for an assault rifle benefit. Like, if we make our sprint goals, everyone on the project team gets an assault rifle.

It matters...but does it really? (1)

StylusEater (1206014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479260)

People are people, so why does it really matter if they have one set of facilities versus another? If they're are good at what they do, and get along with the gender spectrum, does it really matter in the end? If it is a matter of perspective on problems and what various minds bring to the "table of innovation," how does one account for the rest of the gender spectrum and what they have to offer versus just the two polar sides of it?

As opposed to what exactly? (1)

zzyzx (15139) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479306)

"only "boys" are stupid enough to go into a field that's globally-fungible, where entry-level salaries are declining, "

I'd like to know what fields out there are having increasing entry level salaries and can't be outsourced. Most of the examples given - like plumbing - require the existence of other people making good salaries to pay for the services so if all manufacturing jobs go away, we're pretty doomed in general.

The blue collar job of the digital age (2, Funny)

xednieht (1117791) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479308)

Shoveling bits sucks. It was fun about 10 years ago, but staring at a screen for a few years leaves one wanting for a change.

Same as it always was. (1)

bit9 (1702770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479336)

Seems like we have another story on this topic every couple months or so, but the basic problem hasn't changed.

The reason so few women go into computing is that it's viewed as a "nerd" thing, and our society generally associates "nerd" with "male". In other words, most women aren't interested in computing because of the stigma associated with it. For most college-age women, going into computer science would be viewed as social suicide.

My wife, for instance, has an above average intellect, and could have done well in almost any field she chose, but computer science was the last thing she wanted to do. Why? Because CS is beyond her mental capacity? Nope. But it is outside of the range of things that interest her. She has no appreciation or fascination for how computers work. She just wants one that works reliably, but beyond that she's not interested in knowing how they work. Same with her car.

Point is, you don't need to come up with complicated, obscure reasons why there aren't more women in computing. The answer is boring and cliched to the point of sounding trite, but it's right there in front of your nose. Women in our society are trained to not be interested in technical careers. This whole discussion, in fact, is probably just an extension of the age-old question of why there aren't more female auto mechanics, etc.

Like plumbing. (1)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479378)

I agree that computing has become something closer to the building maintance job, rather than a profession.

But you can still make a reasonable job as a plumber, even if you are mostly dealing with broken toilets.

The other side is that there ARE still high end jobs available. But the low barrier to entry and lack of a solid union/accreditation procedure means there is little obviously different (to an outsider) joe shmoe working in IT support (plumber) at a corporation and a $300k/year job at Microsoft/Google (engineer job).

The key difference to me is do you say "I'm in IT", or do you say "I build X for Y company."

If you are saying "IT", you are the plumber, not an engineer.

Importance not exaggerated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479380)

"In fact, 'I don't think 'gender issues in computing' is important enough to merit the attention it gets,'"

I disagree. The fundamental issue here is pretty simple: is there an untapped resource of potentially excellent computer scientists and/or IT personnel that are being turned off the subject for reasons having nothing to do with their actual capabilities? If so, is there a way to recruit them?

I don't know the answer to these questions, and they are going to be both controversial and difficult to answer, but they are important to consider if you want the field to thrive. As long as a gender disparity exists, writing it off as unimportant and not worthy of investigation isn't the right approach. You could ask the same sort of question about other fields and ones where the gender disparity is the other way around. Does it represent an unnecessary missed opportunity?

Parenthood? (1)

goathumper (1284632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479382)

Perhaps women are smart enough to realize that when they finally want to take the step into parenthood, having a "slave" IT job that requires them to be up at ungodly hours just to keep up and deal with with the lunacy that often plagues that field. Thus, they start doing the math and realize that their family is more important than being IT slaves. In those types of decisions, women are MUCH smarter than men...

In other news.. (1)

malkavian (9512) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479384)

There are too few men working in nurseries. When you remove the feeding, nursing, the nappy changing and the fluffy toys, more men were happy working in the environment.
Where's the group that says this is global across all kinds of comp sci? Was this a group that was primarily interested in design and light coding? Was this a hardcore real time systems course? What segment of the computing professional demographic was this (or, was it simply lumping a group of people in a room to "work on computers" and putting random posters around the room?).
There's little there that says there's any detailed methodology. Without detailed methodology you can't exactly repeat the experiment to verify the results. If you can't verify the results, it isn't science.
Also, what happened to the mix of people when presented with a variety of other jobs in exactly the same room? Were more women drawn to the traditionally female biased work (communications based, biological, nursing/doctor)?
There seems to me to be little in the way of a verifiable hypothesis in this, simply a "We believe we can state this, can we put together a scenario that'll give us the results we want to say"?

Really, if I want a job, I'll put up with environments. I'm sure homeless hostels would attract a lot more cleaners if they weren't full of needles, and excrement where the stoners couldn't use the toilet properly, but hey.. People who needs jobs still do that (I did when I needed the cash as a student, and that's exactly the conditions you can find).
Yes, I'd have preferred not to.. But the realities of life are that you have to get on and just do the job, if it's one you want to do. If you feel you'd prefer to do other jobs.. Then you do.. Which is why women tend not to work in computing.. They simply prefer to do other things. Strangely, many of those other things are ones men prefer not to do.

umm yeah (1)

db10 (740174) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479394)

With 15 years developing C++/.Net applications, I have run into ONE female developer that was good. Just an observation.

Re:umm yeah (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479596)

And women remain an minority in computer science programs, both undergraduate and graduate level, from the highest to the lowest rated schools. "Only men" are stupid enough to undertake a rigorous academic program, successfully complete it, and go on to solve challenging problems indeed.

Not to say anything about women or what they are capable of, but it is ludicrous to suggest that female superiority is the reason so few women are in computer science programs. TFA's author clearly has a screw loose.

Sausagefest (1)

Itninja (937614) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479406)

This is "News for Nerds", remember? If anyone thinks they will get a fair look when the message suggests men dominate the IT industry need only do a Google image search on the word 'nerd'. I think I found one or two females on the second page of results.

Are you kidding? (5, Interesting)

orngjce223 (1505655) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479416)

I am a girl. Being on call all day and all night / programming until mentally exhausted / etc. is not something I am willing to do. So yeah, I'm going into teaching. EVEN THOUGH I AM A GEEK. Thanks for telling me what the working conditions were in the field, Slashdot - you made the decision that much simpler.

Logic (1)

linu77 (1203400) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479438)

The most important skill you need to have in IT is to have a logical mind and let’s face it logic is not something most Women have.

more misandry from the media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479510)

yuck. both links are loaded with it. the articles imply that skillset and mastery should take second place to feminizing the workplace enough so that women won't have to adapt? kiss my ass. the day that consensus trumps truth and emotions trump reason in the IT world is the day the internet epic fales. Feminism has gotten out of control. Women don't realize that men have the personalities and attributes they have precisely BECAUSE of objective reality. To throw some irony into this, women have SELECTED for these traits in men over what? millions of years? more? Feminizing IT or any technology/science field for the sake of 'community cohesion' stultifies the very truth deriving processes that make them worthwhile.

There's a reason many geeks aren't strong on the social skills scale: their brains aren't wired there.. they're wired to systemize not socialize which is the feminine counterpart. No, I'm not claiming extreme dichotomies, but the biases ARE there.

"Women too smart for careers with computers,"'

Wow seriously? SERIOUSLY? Has it really become THIS BLATANT?

"boys" are stupid enough to go into a field that's globally-fungible, where entry-level salaries are declining, and it's common to think that staying up all night for a company-paid pizza is a good deal.'"

so let me get this straight. It's no longer ok for a male to be a bit socially atypical in return for wizardry in his field when it 'offends' a female, but it's blatantly ok to stereotype him to the nth degree?

These authors deserve a beatdown...or sympathy because their shrewish, overbearing mothers psychologically castrated their fathers early in life.

Vaguely insulting (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479544)

Don't you think it is vaguely insulting to women to say they steer away from a career field is because they don't like the decorating? What was that you were saying about stereotypes?

Gosh, you know, I wanted to go into nursing, but I changed my mind once I saw how horribly those blue-green scrubs smocks clash with the beige walls.

There are upsides and downsides (1)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479552)

The upside is that we get to do something we actually enjoy. The deterministic behavior of programmable electronics (becoming indeterministic only when events can't be sequenced to the necessary temporal resolution) draws those with rational minds. For those of us with a good theoretical background in the mathematics behind it (and often one or two degrees to back that up), architecture positions pay well. I've been in the biz since 1975 from the ripe old age of 14.

The downsides, however, are many:

1) Often management doesn't understand the subtle reasons behind a problem, or why a particular solution that is easy and obvious is completely "wrong" (or at least inconsistent with future requirements).

2) There is no paid overtime. Salaries generally compensate for this, and frankly professionals SHOULD be expected to fix their errors on their own time (and their own dime). However, that does not work well in environments where workers are fungible: doofus A messes up, and expert B is stuck cleaning up the mess, often in "crisis mode" on his own time. YMMV depending on the shop. Good people tend to leave bad shops, though.

3) Academic training has given way to "trade skills". I am appalled that many undergraduate programs focus on the IDE or bloated library of the day, instead of fundamental algorithms and classic processor architecture. Add to this the fact that many non-experts can't tell the difference between the skilled and the not so skilled.

Still, I wouldn't do anything different.

Personal experience (1)

O'Nazareth (1203258) | more than 4 years ago | (#30479562)

I'll just recite what I know from my own experience

I do not think that personal experience plays in the same yard as science.

Expected OR Predictable ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479568)

I am with Linus on this one
Linus is right
The man makes sense
He is absolutely correct on this one

Too many dicks on the dance floor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30479610)

Too many dudes
With too many dicks
Too close to my shit
Too hard to meet chicks
I need better odds
More broads, less rods
I came to do battle
Scadaddle with the cattle prods

Too many men
Too many boys
Too many misters
Not enough sisters
Too much time on, too many hands
Not enough ladies, too many mans

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