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The Shortage of Women In IT

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the equal-opportunity dept.

Government 697

CIStud writes "The IT industry is hurting for women. Currently only 11% of IT companies are owned by women. The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program requires 5% of all IT jobs to go to female-owned integration companies, but there must be at least 2 female bidders. There are so few female bidders that women-owned IT firms are ineligible for the contracts. From the article: 'Wendy Frank, founder of Accell Security Inc. in Birdsboro, Pa., wishes she had more competitors. It's not often you hear any integrator say that, but in Frank's case, she has good reason. The current Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program authorizes five percent of Federal prime and subcontracts to be set aside for WOSBs. While that might sound fair on the surface, in order to invoke the money set aside for this program, the contracting officer at an agency has to have a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs will submit offers for the job. “We could not participate in the government’s Women-Owned Small Business program unless there was another female competitor,” says Frank. “Procurement officers required that at least two women-owned small businesses compete for the contracts, even in the IT field, where women-owned businesses are underrepresented.”'"

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697 comments

Oh come on... (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#40132023)

There is no âoeshortageâ of women in IT since in fact there is no quota nor any particular class of IT job that specifically requires women, and so likewise IT is not âoehurtingâ for women.

Now, perhaps it can be said that few women want to go into IT, or perhaps there actually is a bias against women in IT, but this âoeshortageâ and âoehurtingâ bullshit is hyperbole.

Unless Iâ(TM)ve just been unaware of the all-nude Swedish lesbian IT shopsâ¦

Re:Oh come on... (4, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#40132115)

There should be a quota! I'm tired of having to flirt with all the gay guys in IT. I needs me some women!

Quota system = degradation of standard (4, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40132297)

When quota system is imposed on anything you will see the effect - end product is almost guaranteed to be inferior

No matter how the quota is applied - by race, gender, nationality, religion or whatever - when quota system is enforced, competition stops

The IT industry is the very last place where quota system should be enforced - too much is riding on the robustness and stability of IT products

Re:Oh come on... (5, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#40132169)

Historically, boys, rather than girls, were encouraged to play with computers in the, "let's take it apart and upgrade it," sense. This encourages boys through their adolescent years to play with computers themselves as opposed to just using them. These boys grow into young men with knowledge and experience that fills though few slots above the average user, ie, the exact knowledge needed for entry-level service, like fixing PCs, setting up equipment, and other things that small service companies do for revenue.

On top of that, if those companies do field work, destinations are as varied as a nice, genteel home in a good part of town, to a dirty, grimy warehouse in a bad part of town, to a construction yard, and everywhere in between. These are those places that girls and young women are generally discouraged from visiting without an escort, which is something they're not going to have when working for a small IT shop.

Entry-level IT employees may become mid-level IT employees, and some, even without college, might become high-level IT employees or even IT managers. Thing is, probably only one in ten will be good enough to be mid-level, and probably one in a hundred will be good enough to be at the top or to be a manager or owner. While it's not essential for an owner to know the ins and outs of the IT business, I can tell you from at three experiences in my career when the boss is only a businessman and doesn't know anything about performing the duties the business provides, the business generally folds or is weak with an empty suit occupying an office.

When probably less than 20% of incoming entry-level IT workers are women, and distill that to the one in ten or one in a hundred to mid and high level jobs, and you can quickly see why there are few women owners, managers, or non-college tech workers in general. While women with college degrees are certainly better represented in IT-related jobs that benefit from college, a lot of IT still lets experience replace college, which means that men still dominate if they come up through the work-experience route.

Had women been more represented in IT work through my roughly sixteen year career my life probably would have turned out differently. The few women in IT were either so hounded or so damaged that real relationships with women who actually understood my work were essentially impossible. So many of the very few women that were in the business were sexually-harassed to the point that they didn't bother to remain in IT either, instead looking for other kinds of work. To me, the lack of women is very much not a surprise.

Re:Oh come on... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132209)

Historically, boys, rather than girls, were encouraged to play with computers in the, "let's take it apart and upgrade it," sense.

must have been nice for you then. All I remember is getting my ass beat when I took something apart and that's a hell of a funny definition of "encouragement". I didn't own a computer until I was old enough to work and buy one at which point, I was free to take it apart as much as I wanted.

Re:Oh come on... (5, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#40132337)

I don't know that I was lucky- when I broke toys I didn't get new ones. After awhile, my parents stopped fixing them for me, and I had to fix them myself. The computer was the same way, when I messed up DOS I had to figure out how to reinstall it. When I wanted a modem, I had to learn what an ISA slot was (as I only had one serial port for the aftermarket mouse), what COM ports were, what IRQs were, etc. When I wanted a 3.5" floppy, I had to learn, the hard way, that the 8088 couldn't address more than a 720K disk, so the 1.44M disks had to be taped and reformatted 720K for me to use them until I finally got a better computer. All of this expansion was purchased with my allowance- I had to save up for many months for each component.

My parents encouraged me to play to learn.

Re:Oh come on... (1)

dosius (230542) | about 2 years ago | (#40132445)

There's ways. I have a 1.44 MB A: in my 5160, but it uses an AT multi i/o controller. (everything on it but the IDE port works.) It also has to boot 720, though 1.44 MB support can be added in software.

-uso.

Re:Oh come on... (5, Interesting)

carolfromoz (1552209) | about 2 years ago | (#40132255)

Historically, boys, rather than girls, were encouraged to play with computers in the, "let's take it apart and upgrade it," sense. This encourages boys through their adolescent years to play with computers themselves as opposed to just using them. These boys grow into young men with knowledge and experience that fills though few slots above the average user, ie, the exact knowledge needed for entry-level service, like fixing PCs, setting up equipment, and other things that small service companies do for revenue.

I don't know if it's as simple as childhood encouragement. As a 42 year old female who's been working in IT for more than 20 years you can imagine I encourage both my son and daughter to be interested in maths, science and computers. Boy loves it all and is very interested; girl does not want to know. Why is this? Maybe just natural tendencies - I don't know. Wish I did.

Re:Oh come on... (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#40132403)

Age and physical sexual maturity probably factors in, and perceptions about the maturity of those who do play with this stuff probably also factors in. If she sees boys who play with this stuff as undesirable, either intellectually finding them immature, or sexually finding them unappealing, then she might not want much to do with the hobby because of her perceptions about them, even more than her perceptions of the hobby.

Most boys who play with computers do not become appealing to females until college age if they go to college, and sometimes later if they're not in the college setting with equally intelligent females. At that point, they're not perceived as successful. Success isn't yet measured in income or in income potential- it's measured in social performance- sports, fine arts, even academic performance sometimes. The further from the artificial environment that school fosters, the less those constructs fostered by that environment matter. Unfortunately, by then many females are well out of where this hobby-turned-career track could take them.

Re:Oh come on... (5, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | about 2 years ago | (#40132425)

I see this with all of my peers. They are either oblivious as to why girls pick certain things and boys others, or they believe they know why and use their children for their confirmation bias. All the while, I see every single one of them pushing their children into the predefined sexual roles that society has dictated. Even when they don't think they are doing it themselves, all of the people around them are doing it. Their relatives. The schools. The TVs. It is unavoidable.

Part of that gender message that gets ground into children day in and day out is that males MUST get a good job if they want a good life. females CAN get a good job if they want a good life. As soon as little girls begin to interact with the rest of society, it is made absolutely clear to them that they do not need to provide for themselves. There is always someone else who will do it for them.

Irrelevant of gender, you will get a lower percentage of people that have been told they don't have to work, working hard and taking less than desirable jobs. The fact that women as a group tend to gravitate towards jobs that pay less and require less sacrifice is not surprising. They are not underrepresented in these jobs because of their gender. It is because their gender is under represented in the group that is raised to believe that no one is going to pay their way through life.

It isn't a genetic problem, and the solution for under representation of women in IT isn't to do more of what caused the under representation in the first place.

If you want to see this whole thing really laid bare, look at plumbing. In IT it could be argued that everybody is equal, and thus it must be discrimination. When you look at plumbing, there are jobs were particular genders have a distinct advantage. While there are some jobs that require physical strength so a men as a group have a genetic advantage, in residential plumbing, it is incredibly common for the plumber to need to squeeze through small places. Many houses do not have enough clearance under them for an average sized man to fit. This is a field where equally competent little petite women should really shine. Every plumbing company in the country should have tiny little size 0 women working for them. Do we see this? No. Because tiny little size 0 women don't need to crawl around under dank insect infested crawlspaces. They don't need to literally crawl through human feces. So, they don't.

Again. This isn't a genetic problem, and it isn't an industry problem. It is a cultural problem that starts before the kids can even walk. (Of course, that is only if one considers it a problem at all)

Re:Oh come on... (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#40132447)

My kids are adults now but I had the same experience. To the boy learning about the computer was an end unto itself, the girl used it to learn spanish. Same thing with cars, the boy pulled his apart, the girl never looked under the hood.

Genetics probably does play a role (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#40132457)

People (Americans in particular) want to discount genetics, pretend that we can all be anything we want to be, that we have no inbuilt limitations.

Of course we know that is false. Most simply it can be seen (and strangely the one area it is accepted) is athletics. Some people have the genes that allows them to become top athletes, the rest don't and that is that. We also see in athletics the difference between men and women, that the genders are not equal at the top, they have areas they are better in.

Well, this carries over to mental, emotional, and other differences as well. Your genetics don't dictate who you are, but they do define some limits on you and also what you might be interested in.

So you are going to see differences in the interest of the genders, even without any societal forces. One interesting example I see is veterinary medicine. Since it has become a field that was acceptable for women to work in (used to be teaching and nursing was all that was considered "ok" for women to be in) it has become very popular for women. The vet office I use is ALL female. All the vets, all the vet techs, all the receptionists, all women. From what I've learned, the heavy amount of women is not an anomaly, it is a field that women have a lot of interest in.

Now why is that? I'm not sure, I've never seen any research on it. Perhaps it is the nurturing aspect that appeals to many women. Whatever the case it certainly isn't something where there's a big push in society to "get women in to veterinary medicine" yet it is happening. It appeals to women, so they go in to it.

None of this is to say that culture and childhood encouragement don't play a part, of course. If a girl is interested in computers but continually told that "girls don't play with computers" that can well change the course of her life. However we have to be open to the idea that just as different individuals have different predispositions, so do the sexes.

We may always see a situation where there are less women interested in IT than men. Frankly I don't think that should be a concern, so long as we make sure it isn't because women are being unfairly forced away from it. I would think it far worse to try and start pressuring women in to careers they don't like all with some misguided idea of "balance".

I guess I feel pretty strongly about this because computers were something I always wanted to do, since as long as I can remember. This wasn't because of my family, mom, dad, grandparents, none of them are technically savvy. However I loved computers and electronics and was fascinated by it from age 3. Clearly it is just one of those things about me, a genetic predisposition. I'm glad I got to follow that, and I wasn't told to do something different because people decided that I should have interests other than that.

Re:Oh come on... (5, Insightful)

humanrev (2606607) | about 2 years ago | (#40132419)

Off topic, but I think the above post is an excellent example of how the lack of Unicode support in Slashdot is still retarded.

Damn it.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132035)

They shouldn't have made the glass ceiling out of that stuff they use for ipad screens..

Re:Damn it.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132065)

Considering it breaks easily, shouldn't that be a good thing for women?

Anyways, the "Shortage" is only because you don't see too many women interested in it. Most women in college tend to go for some sort of humanities based major or business/communications. Out of my group of IT majors that I graduated with, there were only about 4 females.

Re:Damn it.. (1)

carolfromoz (1552209) | about 2 years ago | (#40132279)

Most women in college tend to go for some sort of humanities based major or business/communications. Out of my group of IT majors that I graduated with, there were only about 4 females.

Back in the late 80's when I did Comp Sci there were lots of girls in the course - but I don't know where they all went. I've always worked in IT and I never ran into any of them. Meanwhile numbers going into Comp Sci and IT courses have dropped and dropped. Sometimes I talk to girls who are good at maths and encourage them towards IT. They smile and shrug and say they just can't see themselves doing it. I guess when I started the boy geek image was not so entrenched as now.

Re:Damn it.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132421)

They probably got tired of the bullshit involved.

There are, unfortunately, no shortage of IT shops where long, effectively unpaid, hours are the norm.

I've noticed women generally don't have a bromance culture. Ergo, when an idiot boss attempts to take advantage of workers - men can be convinced that they're 'rockstars', comrades in arms, a veritable band of brothers, for putting in an eighty hour week that nets them forty hours of pay.

Women, used to the Machiavellian scheming of the fairer sex, easily spot the delusional asshattery, and GTFO.

Re:Damn it.. (1)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#40132471)

My (Aussie) CS degree is around the same vintage, out of 160 starters 3 were women. 12 people made it through the course in the minimum possible time of 3yrs, including myself and 2 of the 3 women.

Bullshit. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#40132047)

"The IT industry is hurting for women.

The IT industry is no more "hurting" for women than the coal mining industry or the forestry industry or the alaskan crab fishing industry. There are more men than women in the IT business. There are more women than men other lines of work. So what?

-jcr

Re:Bullshit. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132247)

How many more of these fucking bullshit articles do we need? Why is this on Slashdot AGAIN? This is about as fucking lame and uninteresting as "durp durp sexism in video games because boobs!". This is basically nothing more than fucking cheap linkbait.

Re:Bullshit. (2)

Technician (215283) | about 2 years ago | (#40132461)

The requirement for 50/50 representation on the bids is the problem. The contract bid should be and even mix of the market. The current bid process gives a few companies all the entries while excluding the majority of potential clients.

This is NOT free enterprise where the best offering gets the job. What happened to hire the best? Lost to PC.

Not an IT problem... (5, Informative)

bziman (223162) | about 2 years ago | (#40132051)

This is a shortage of female BUSINESS OWNERS not a shortage of female technical staff. There IS a shortage of female technical staff - but it has no affect on government contracts.

Further clarification. (2)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#40132191)

There is a "shortage" of:
women
small business
owners
qualified for the government contracts
who are bidding on them.

So what is stopping one of the existing women (small business blah blah blah) from getting one of the other women she knows from forming a small business (or branching off of her existing business) to get a slice of the GUARANTEED government contracts?

Alice owns Alice, LLC.
Alice employs Betty, Carl, Doug and Ed.
So Alice helps Betty form Betty, LLC and take Ed to bid against Alice. Ka-CHING! Lucrative government contracts for both of them!

Re:Further clarification. (1)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40132267)

So Alice helps Betty form Betty, LLC and take Ed to bid against Alice. Ka-CHING! Lucrative government contracts for both of them!

Exactly. And now there are two women owned firms, whereas before there was only one. After the lucrative contracts, both women will be heads of successful companies. From the point of these laws, which is to encourage the growth of women (and minority) owned businesses, these would be success stories, driving the intended behavior via regulations and economic incentives.

From the points of view of the economy, of fair trade, of fair competition, and of pure capitalism, it may not be seen as a good thing, but the law was not written to further encourage those behaviors, as they're already plenty successful. The law would be working as designed.

Either way! (0)

khasim (1285) | about 2 years ago | (#40132341)

From the point of these laws, which is to encourage the growth of women (and minority) owned businesses, these would be success stories, driving the intended behavior via regulations and economic incentives.

I don't care how they're counted.

I'm wondering (if the facts in TFA are really factual) why this hasn't happened.

If anything, it should lead to MORE "women owned" small businesses forming that are really owned and run by men with the woman being nothing more than a paper figurehead.

Re:Not an IT problem... (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#40132193)

Small business owners who do not know how to do the work that their company does generally own companies that perform poorly. That doesn't mean that a small business owner needs to be able to do every single service or task that the company does, but doing none means that the owner himself or herself is a drag on the company rather than an asset, as now the working employees have to provide revenue for the salary for that owner in addition to their own, the rent for the business, the expenses for the business, and the like.

I've worked for at least three small businesses where the owners were essentially worthless like this. Those companies all folded. I have no expectation that a female owner who doesn't know the business would be any better than a male owner who doesn't, and given the good-old-boy network, might actually have greater disadvantages and they might not have the business connections through misogynistic social activities to have one's peers help.

MARS NEEDS WOMEN !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132053)

If you think you need them, you have not been to Mars !!

To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 2 years ago | (#40132055)

I take offense at the notion there is a "shortage" of anyone by race, gender, or sexual orientation in IT- or anywhere else.

If you want to stop division and hatred the first step is to stop pretended some people need assistance and others do not. Let people be hired based on their own abilities and they will rise to the challenge - as individuals, not part of some arbitrarily defined group of "victims".

The great thing about IT especially is that it is VERY open to anyone working, probably a lot mores than many other more established professions. If women want to work there, they can and will. There's nothing more we can do as a society to try and convince women to work in IT - so let go the notion that we need some percentage of women and just keep accepting whoever wants to work.

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (4, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40132145)

Affirmative action == discrimination.

The only business that government has here is to ensure that no-one is unfairly discriminated (i.e. people are turned down because of their race/sex/...). The moment government starts discriminating itself, by instituting quotas and other privileges, any pretense of equality goes out of the window, and divisions between all those artificially created groups only deepen.

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132203)

Yeah right - that worked out REAL WELL for the non-whites in the USA in the 1950s - right? Slavery was ended in 1865 and yet it wasn't until affirmative action was introduced under Kennedy in the 60s that real change began

You can't trust all individuals to do the right thing - that's *WHY* WE HAVE GOVERNMENTS!

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (5, Insightful)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40132259)

Yeah right - that worked out REAL WELL for the non-whites in the USA in the 1950s - right? Slavery was ended in 1865 and yet it wasn't until affirmative action was introduced under Kennedy in the 60s that real change began

After slavery was ended, discrimination of blacks was still institutional - Jim Crow laws were just that, laws, enacted by state governments. The turnaround happened when federal government intervened and declared those laws unconstitutional, not because of affirmative action.

Furthermore, I have explicitly said that governments safeguard the rights of citizens, even in private deals between each other - i.e. you can't be fired or denied a job because of your race etc. But that's not affirmative action - that's just enforcing equal opportunity.

What the governments shouldn't do is announce specific groups of people protected, and enact quotas and other ways to promote those groups ahead of other groups, on the basis that they have been historically discriminated against, and now need an unfair advantage in order to "even out" things. That is segregation and discrimination, and it is no less evil when it's done in favor of the minority rather than the majority. That is what affirmative action is.

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132361)

And at the time of those laws, their defenders vociferously declared they were neutral and fair, written in such a way that they were putatively equal.

Not to mention private clauses like restrictive covenants. For decades the government and courts were hands off like you dream

You don't understand the evil that resulted from it.

Your way will not result in less discrimination. You've just fooled yourself into a mental trap, that somehow attempts to pro-actively correct the results of discrimination are just as bad as the discrimination itself.

They aren't.

You just want to convince us that it's unfair when you don't realize the iniquity won't be reduced, but will go up.

But keep believing in your utopian dream world. I'm sure it's good for you.

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (3, Insightful)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#40132375)

Yeah right - that worked out REAL WELL for the non-whites in the USA in the 1950s - right? Slavery was ended in 1865 and yet it wasn't until affirmative action was introduced under Kennedy in the 60s that real change began

Yes, but it has outlived its usefulness now. In the 1950's, the predominant factor for minorities being excluded from jobs was racism by employers. Today, the predominant factor are lower educational attainment, criminal records, etc. Those may or may not be caused by racism, but they are not caused by racism on the part of employers, and you can't fix them by forcing employers to do something. At this point, you should merely hold employers responsible for non-discrimination, for being race-blind.

Opposition to affirmative action on the part of whites is often presented as some kind of competition for limited jobs, but the vast majority of whites really doesn't care about that. The real problem with affirmative action is that it doesn't work and hurts the communities by failing to address their real problems, problems which occur long before minorities hit the job market.

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132481)

Actually there's a book, "The New Jim Crow" that points out how the institutionalized racism of today is comparable to that of yesterday.

For example criminal records. There was a time when slave gangs where reconstituted out of prison work forces, which just happened to predominantly be African-American.

What's happening today?

Oh yes...criminalization that disproportionately impacts African-Americans. Like say how the NYPD stopped-and-frisked African-Americans and other minorities at a far higher rate.

"Using the department’s figures, the report revealed that in six out of the 10 precincts with the lowest numbers of black and Latino people in the city, black and Latino citizens represented over 70% of those stopped.

In all, there were more stops of young African American men than the total of population of that group in the city. Nine out of ten of them had committed no crime."

Wow.

You're correct in that simply dealing with employers is not sufficient, there is more to the problem. However that does not exculpate employers either, but just means there's a lot to the story that requires corrective action.

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40132239)

The only business that government has here is to ensure that no-one is unfairly discriminated (i.e. people are turned down because of their race/sex/...).

And what if government is unable to ensure that? That the cost of documenting and enforcing penalties against unfair discrimination is too high to be practical. What then? Give up? Or go for an imperfect but affordable solution?

Re:To stop being sexist, stop being sexist (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | about 2 years ago | (#40132291)

And what if government is unable to ensure that? That the cost of documenting and enforcing penalties against unfair discrimination is too high to be practical. What then? Give up? Or go for an imperfect but affordable solution?

Enforce to the best of your ability. Discrimination is evil, period. It doesn't matter if it's affordable or not, it's plain wrong - not just "imperfect", but fundamentally wrong.

And it's not like it's not a solution. So long as you make discrimination hard (not necessarily impossible - just requiring an effort, and shameful if you're discovered), it will be more and more marginal as time goes by, and so there will be less of it.

On the other hand, if you make the government draw lines in the sand, encouraging the separation of society in "us" and "them" - and giving benefits to "them" - this will only serve to discourage people from being color/sex/whatever-blind, and encourage enmity. The fundamental problem with affirmative action is that it emphasizes the existence of distinct groups separated by some objective factor. If you do that, the society will pick it up, and become segregated as well.

motivation for affirmative action (2)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#40132329)

Affirmative action == discrimination. The only business that government has here is to ensure that no-one is unfairly discriminated

Affirmative action was created to redress past discrimination. It was based on the theory that if some class of people had been kept out of some profession because of prejudice/racism, you needed to take active steps to increase their numbers until the proportions were reflective of the population.

That wasn't an entirely unreasonable proposition. The reason it doesn't are more subtle than the fact that it constitutes "discrimination". It doesn't work because the assumption that numbers in different professions should be reflective of the composition of the population is not valid. Only one quarter of CS degrees are awarded to women, and blacks are half as likely to receive bachelor degrees as whites. Whatever the reasons for that may be (preference or educational discrimination), you cannot address it with affirmative action at the point where people hit the job market.

The problem with affirmative action is not that it constitutes discrimination of inequality; we "discriminate" in this way all the time when we compensate classes of people for past harm done to them. The problem with affirmative action it is that it doesn't work; it fails to achieve the goals it is supposed to achieve.

Re:motivation for affirmative action (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132433)

Or maybe...the measurement of the achievements is off.

It's like the measurements for poverty, with simultaneous complaints of its failure combined with complaints about the excess available to those in poverty.

You must be a politician.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132243)

The legislation and the article are about government contracts going to businesses that are OWNED by women.

It may seem odd to but discrimination based on friendships and personal affinities of people in power actually have resulted in unfair and inappropriate financial and economic effects on groups of people who were kept from power, regardless of their merit.

Sorry you never studied history, politics, religion, humanities or sociology or you might understand that.

The real issue here... (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | about 2 years ago | (#40132057)

The government shouldn't be practicing race or sex discrimination in awarding contracts. Can the bidder do the job? Do they have the lowest bid? That's what matters, and that's what the taxpayers deserve to get for their money.

-jcr

Re:The real issue here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132347)

While lowest cost is appealing, quality is important too - highest quality should play a role too.

Shortage? Hurting? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132061)

That implies that women are somehow "special", and more useful to the industry than others. I doubt it.

Re:Shortage? Hurting? (1)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#40132127)

They are - they are only allowed to compete with other female-owned companies and they can only work on 5% of any federal government contract - they are, in the eyes of the original poster anyways, special, in a short bus [wikipedia.org] kinda way..

Re:Shortage? Hurting? (1)

khipu (2511498) | about 2 years ago | (#40132407)

That statement is completely wrong. Women can compete for 100% of the contracts. But there is a special contingent of 5% of the contracts set aside for which _only_ women compete. That's intended to help female owned businesses.

This again... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132069)

Just like the topic... nothing to see here.... move along.

This is what the government does... (3, Insightful)

intertrode (1564753) | about 2 years ago | (#40132073)

Only the government will set artificial quotas restricting its ability to do business and then complain that reality doesn't match the world they are trying to force on the rest of us. Why do people think men shouldn't be able to find jobs that pay enough to support their families? IT is one of the last places we can do that!

I don't think so (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132077)

Women don't like computers, it's simple. They like flowers, bunnies and shopping. It requires too much focus and time alone. They are to emotionally needy for this. End of story.

Perhaps they have better options? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132085)

Women who are smart enough to work in IT often have the social skills necessary to excel in better paying, more prestigious lines of work. Compare and contrast with the misanthropes most of us in IT are/work with.

Women owned, veteran owned etc = junk (5, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | about 2 years ago | (#40132093)

The whole system of "veteran-owned" and "women-owned" businesses getting special privileges is a farce. I know of some companies that appoint veterans to certain positions just so they can be veteran owned. Or the veteran may have nothing to do with the company any longer. I know a company that is "woman-owned" because the owner put his wife on the board so he could get special privileges when bidding on government contracts.

Re:Women owned, veteran owned etc = junk (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 years ago | (#40132217)

I know a company that is "woman-owned" because the owner put his wife on the board so he could get special privileges when bidding on government contracts.

Depending on how the contract that makes her co-owner is worded, she might actually have power if she ever chooses to wield it. That could be a double-edged sword if he's ever caught bringing his cute secretary into his office to "take dictation"...

Easy solution... (0)

Shoten (260439) | about 2 years ago | (#40132099)

(*puts out a large neon sign saying "HUMOR" and the dons his flame-retardant suit*)

Put the data centers in the kitchen?

Easy fix in 3 steps! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132101)

1 - start another company
2 - have both companies submit bids for the contracts.
3 - profit.

waaa waaaa (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132105)

waaa waaaa I want to get my subsidized female privilege without the veneer of competition

Not true... (2)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#40132109)

"The Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract program requires 5% of all IT jobs to go to female-owned integration companies, but there must be at least 2 female bidders. There are so few female bidders that women-owned IT firms are ineligible for the contracts."

Are remale-owned IT firms PREVENTED from bidding on work the same as a male-owned company?

The quote above would want me to believe that female-owned are olny eligible for 5% of federal gov't contracts, and unless two female-owned companies offer competing bids for that same 5% of work, neither can win any of that 5% of the contract.

Re:Not true... (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#40132155)

Well that would be true if women owned companies were inherently inferior and unable to compete and therefore need special treatment. The rest of the article seems to imply that is the authors opinion.

2 problems here. (2)

gimmebeer (1648629) | about 2 years ago | (#40132111)

1. IT is a meritocracy, you are awarded contracts or jobs based upon proven performance. To give a contract to a company specifically based on the gender of the owner is bad business. Gov't spending out money the wrong way, yet again. 2. Why is it a 'problem' when specific gender is not highly represented in a specific industry? Nothing against women in IT, I have and do work with many women in IT who are stand out performers and are extrememly intelligent. I just don't think we should be granting contracts based specifically upon the gender of the submitter.

Make that three problems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132207)

Nothing against women in IT, I have and do work with many women in IT who are stand out performers and are extrememly intelligent. I just don't think we should be granting contracts based specifically upon the gender of the submitter.

I'm not saying you did anything wrong, I'd likely have done the same. But that you felt the need to "defend" your opinion in such a way I would say is also a problem. Or at least a symptom of a greater problem.

100% disagree (1)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#40132273)

IT is one of the most anti-merit, old boy networks there is. Evidence abounds, a good start is looking at the blatant age discrimination.

Another is looking at known instances of government corruption, like the Trailblazer project at NSA. You start looking at the number of military IT contracts, and then look at the gender-stilted nature of the military itself, and you can start to see that the idea that 'merit' is all that matters in IT is not very convincing.

Re:2 problems here. (1)

carolfromoz (1552209) | about 2 years ago | (#40132313)

1. IT is a meritocracy, you are awarded contracts or jobs based upon proven performance.

I have long said one of the reasons I've done well in IT, depsite being of the female persuasion, is this. And it's not just women - if you have face piercings and spiky hair, or come from a different country and speak with a funny accent, but you have the relevant skills and can get the job done then - great! But discussing this theory with a boss once he said to me "yes that's all very well until something goes wrong - then the funny looking person is more likely to end up in the firing line, even if they did nothing wrong themselves".

So while I'd like IT to be a proper meritocracy the fact remains that people will often go for the most familiar looking, non-threatening choice even if it isn;t the "best" one. How else can we explain the success of microsoft?

Waaaah! I Don't Get Enough Federal Aid! (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40132117)

Talk about crybabies. Sheesh.

She complains about a phenomenon that is caused by women (since studies for over 20 years have repeatedly and consistently shown that women simply tend not to choose to go into STEM careers in the first place), then uses that as a springboard to further complain that she doesn't get enough Federal assistance for women!

I mean, come on! It's one thing to discuss the issue of "not enough women in IT" (which has been discussed to death already), and quite another to so blatantly whine about it.

I'll tell you who's responsible... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132121)

That damn white man...
He's responsible for everything.

That's nothing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132129)

I noticed there is a huge shortage of men in careers such as "porn actress".

Re:That's nothing (3, Funny)

kenh (9056) | about 2 years ago | (#40132171)

Shhh - The Gov't will force them to include men in 5% of the lesbian scenes...

Ludicrous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132135)

Hurting for Women? Why should there be equality? You don't see the nursing, real estate, and marketing fields "hurting for men" to join.

Additionally, I've only really noticed a lack of women in commercial IT work. If you look at the public sector and defense industry, it is really quite a diverse work environment. In my team of 40, it's 15 women. Not hurting at all. I hope they stay out of the commercial side and stick to the public sector more. Women are kicking ass in this field and I would rather them helping secure our nation than lining someone's pockets with profits.

But, instead, we focus on one segment of one industry. We push federal laws to force diversity in it, which *surprise* has back-fired and hurt the actual minorities who work in the field.

If There's A Problem At All (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132139)

It's definitely not one gender being more likely to prefer X profession. THERE AREN'T ENOUGH MALE HAIR STYLISTS OH GOD SEXIST PIGS

to be more precise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132149)

There is a shortage, in the United States, of white American-born female engineers, except in biological and medical fields. This has been true for many decades, except for brief period during the dot-com era where every college graduate seemed to spend a couple years working for a short-lived startup or web applications consulting outfit.

Re:to be more precise (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40132287)

it is not a 'shortage'. it's just not a 50/50 split that is not due to irrational discrimination. this is ok, no matter what the feminists tell you because it means women are freely choosing other paths, proving that feminists got what they claimed they wanted: free will for women.

There's not enough male... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132161)

...kindergarten teachers. There's not enough fat red heads in sky diving. There's not enough Mexicans in Singapore. The letter 'a' is too recurrent in the English language. There are not enough left handed bi-lingualists. There are not enough...

Everything in the world must be precisely balanced and equitable in every measurable attribute or it is an act of outright discrimination.

You can write the same (1)

EEPROMS (889169) | about 2 years ago | (#40132177)

article and change IT to "social care" positions and female to "male" and get away with it. Day care centres and nursing are predominant staffed by females so one could say those types of services are hurting themselves with e disconnect with about half of the population..

Total sausage party (-1, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#40132183)

The shortage of women in IT is mainly due to the men in IT.

Re:Total sausage party (1)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40132275)

no. not even close. most women just don't care about how the computers in their lives work. they have other priorities. that's fine.

Re:Total sausage party (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132343)

Technically, the GP is correct. Just like every other field for which this comes up -- if men didn't exist, IT would totally be dominated by women. Or possibly cats. My cat is certainly more interested in what I'm typing than my wife is but my experience is strictly anecdotal.

Just sayin'--

Re:Total sausage party (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132315)

The article is about a so-called shortage of women-owned IT business. In other words, it says there are too few (according to unknown criteria) female employers, not employees, in the IT industry. Female business-owners are rare in any (or at least most) industries, so if you want to blame a men conspiracy that's fine (although ignorant) but blame all men, not only those who work in IT.

Sorry if I got in the way of your irrational rant against your own gender. Actually, I'm not sorry, fuck you.

Sure. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132195)

IT is "hurting" for women. So is professional football. There should be more female professional football players in the NFL. Currently, there are... none. The reasons for this are, I think, the same as for why there are so few women in IT. They're just not built for it, or they don't want to do it.

Maybe if IT had cheerleaders there would be more women in IT.

Gooooo... iTeam!

Not surprised (2)

rabbit994 (686936) | about 2 years ago | (#40132213)

Actually, reason there are not more woman owned businesses is because women don't want to be in IT because it's truth is, IT is horrible for family people and women tend to be more family oriented then men.

I would imagine this issue is same for IT Business owners. The late night upgrade failures, the weekend crashes, all that contributes to horrible family life. Until that is solved which I'm not sure is possible, then IT will mostly be men or females with no family.

It's because they are smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132229)

No sane woman would work in IT anymore. It's a stressful shit profession with no rewards and no respect.

Not enough women in IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132233)

This is clearly a shortage AS DEFINED BY the federal government -- affirmative action run rampant. If only Congress would take two to four years off...

the issue is bigger than article suggests (2)

epyT-R (613989) | about 2 years ago | (#40132271)

Women shoudln't be discriminated against nor should they be 'encouraged' at the expense of qualified men solely due to gender. The people who (probably) helped create WOSB in the first place are the discriminators when they say stupid shit like "women bring a special something to $ACTIVITY_X if only men would let them", like the raging hypocrites that they are. Gee, where are these people when the job up for grabs is coal mining or something similarly less 'glamorous'?

In the case of IT, it's just one of those examples where most men are more interested in technical matters than most women are. This is ok.

forget IT, look at IT's customers (0)

decora (1710862) | about 2 years ago | (#40132277)

1. big finance

2. the military

these are fields dominated by dudes for various reasons that have nothing to do with 'merit' or 'ability'. its a social anachronism that has somehow survived into the 21st century but will disappear within 50 years or so.

Maybe its because (1, Funny)

Dcnjoe60 (682885) | about 2 years ago | (#40132281)

Maybe there aren't more women in IT because women are too smart to work crappy hours for crappy pay, crappy job security and crappy benefits.

Maybe women are just too smart? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132285)

"âoeProcurement officers required that..."

I'm a man, who works for a government contractor.

After one lengthy exposure to and engagement with a procurement contract, with Procurement Officers and Contract Officers and etc...

I offered to resign before I would deal with that crap any longer, and I went back to hide in the R&D side of the company. R&D Program Managers and Contract Officers are nowhere near as insane as the people on the procurement side.

The women might be just displaying smart judgment...

useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132305)

who gives a shit?

Women not underrepresented among rent-seekers (2)

russotto (537200) | about 2 years ago | (#40132311)

The bill this article is flogging extends set-asides for economically disadvantaged women to all women. It removed caps on the size of contracts which can be subject to those set asides. And it gives authority is to award a sole source contract to a woman owned business if 2 or more woman owned businesses aren't expected to bid.

Slashdot... (2, Insightful)

tpstigers (1075021) | about 2 years ago | (#40132327)

The Middle-Class White Guy Game preserve.

Give it a rest, guys. You all keep insisting that intelligence, skills and merit suffice to get ahead in this world. What you don't understand is that this is only true for middle- to upper-class white guys. The rest of the world has to deal with a society full of doors that are closed, NOT open.

Affirmative Action exists for a reason. If you think we don't need it, kindly explain to me why women working the same jobs as men make less money.

I know - you can't.

Re:Slashdot... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132473)

There are a lot of problems with the "Women make less than men for the same work", but I'm going to point out the easiest and most obvious here.

Basic logic dictates that if women made $0.77 per hour, while men received $1.00 per hour, then businesses would hire ONLY women to save on salaries. In this age of businesses trying to shave PENNIES off their bottom lines, do you really think they'd continue to pay an extra $0.23 per hour just to maintain the "Old Boys" club. If such a "club" actually exists anymore, do you think that a man that has to worry about his pay against what a woman earns is going to be a part of it? Explain to me how men get any jobs, anywhere, given what you're shoveling right now, then I might give your point some attention.

Re:Slashdot... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132483)

Affirmative Action exists for a reason. If you think we don't need it, kindly explain to me why women working the same jobs as men make less money.

Cite, now please. And do NOT give me the aggregate by gender; I want numbers referring to female computer scientists and IT practitioners versus their male counterparts. I do NOT want some nebulous feminist left-wing bullshit. If you can't provide the numbers, then FUCK YOU.

My ex-wife is a senior engineer for a Fortune 100 company, and she makes less money because she cannot negotiate worth a shit. She's got the talent and the experience, but you put her in front of a hiring board and she's deader than fried chicken.

Quota crap. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132365)

I had a friend who owned an electric company. He refused to make bids based on his minority status (Black) because he figured Minority-owned businesses would be given about 10% of the Federal and State funded jobs. He wanted as much as he could get, not just 10%. His philosophy was to compete on MERIT, not Minority.

Maybe,just maybe, there was time when some affirmative action was a good idea. However, I agree with Thomas Sowell that that time is past and reinforces the idea that minority businesses are inferior to other businesses.

Has anyone asked them why they're not interested? (1)

djnanite (1979686) | about 2 years ago | (#40132385)

Seriously - has anyone surveyed a good cross section of women to ask why they are not interested in IT?

I'm sure there are a couple of women reading this site - could you tell us why you decided to go into IT (assuming you are), and why your friends aren't?

Basically, every time these stories get posted, we get hundreds of comments from guys trying to explain why more women aren't in IT. At no point does anyone ask women directly why they aren't in IT...

Such crap... (2)

downhole (831621) | about 2 years ago | (#40132397)

So much whining about the lack of women in technical fields... Anybody worked in or seen the HR department of a medium to large company? How about nursing? Psychology? Child care? When are people going to start complaining about how there is a shortage of men in all of the historically woman-dominated fields, and enacting ham-fisted government laws to try to fix it?

Errrr....Yeah I don't think so. (3, Insightful)

Vermifax (3687) | about 2 years ago | (#40132415)

So basically she is upset that she has to compete with all the men owned companies instead of using federal money to underbid them because there isn't another female owned business that she could compete with to underbid the male owned companies.

BOO FREAKING HOO.

Here's the real shot at equality - (1)

DontScotty (978874) | about 2 years ago | (#40132417)

Just compete for the contracts as an IT company.

Ignore gender.

Win on your merits.

You'll be able to cash your check,

and have pride at the end of the day no matter if you

are female, male, or other.

I'm studying computer science in Sweden and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132441)

As the title says, I'm a comp-sci student in Sweden. We shares classes with students taking a degree in information technology engineering.

Comp-sci and IT are nearly identical except one gives you a "civil engineering" degree (IT) and one gives you a bachelor's degree with a possible master degree later (comp-sci). There are a few girls in the class. All of them in IT and none in comp-sci.

In fact, while the two degrees are, in terms of content, pretty much identical, the group makeup is different. All the really geeky people are in comp-sci. There are a few geeks in IT, but they make up a far smaller part of the total than in comp-sci.

You could say: "Well the girls chose IT because it doesn't have as many geeks" and that could be correct up until you remember that I wrote that we share classes anyway.

I've discussed this with another guy who finished his comp-sci master several years ago, and basically what possible conclusion we reached was that there is no status in comp-sci as it has no actual title. I mean you can probably say "master of computer science" (if you actually take a master), but it doesn't sound as "established" as something like "information technology engineer".

I've noticed though that there is an exception from this possible status seeking. Exchange students. I've met several exchange students who were girls AND studying computer science. All from india or china.

WOSB funding program (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40132455)

When forced WOSB tendering can't find the right businesses, we should fill that quota by funding female startups. Give preference to women without an education (give them a leg up), those with previous drug addictions or people from racial minority groups under-represented in small business.

It's the only way to sexual equality.

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