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Women's Enrollment In Computer Science Correlates Negatively With Net Access

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the it's-al-gore's-fault dept.

Programming 314

New submitter MoriT sends this excerpt from a post examining the correlation between women's enrollment in computer science programs at college and their access to the internet. "There is currently a responsibility-dodging contest between industry and academia over who is to blame for the declining enrollment of women in Computer Science and declining employment of women in software development. I hear people in industry bemoan the 'empty pipeline,' while academics maintain that women aren't entering their programs because of perceptions of the industry. I have compiled some data that may help resolve the question by highlighting a third factor common to both: access to an Internet-based culture of computing. ... I conclude that in the last 10 years among many Northern European nations, rising Internet access is correlated with falling interest in computer science relative to other professions among women. The group of Mediterranean nations that show a positive correlation should be a fruitful area for future research, but seem outliers from the Northern cohort."

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314 comments

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Correlation/Causation? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376391)

We can't confuse correlation with causation. While this might be a third factor, what other factors may be involved?

Re:Correlation/Causation? (5, Funny)

DurendalMac (736637) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376471)

Putting up with creepy neckbeards in the CS major? I've certainly seen it with the scant few women that were CS majors at my school.

Re:Correlation/Causation? (4, Funny)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376933)

scant [...] women

Pics or it didn't happen!

Oh crap, I think I just proved the point. :-P

Re:Correlation/Causation? (3, Insightful)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377109)

As soon as I got hold of something I could program my career was set. I don't see what the fuss is about, women rarely (never as far as I know) catch the bug that men do when they discover that they are natural hackers. It's the way it is, men and women are different. Sue me, it's true.

Re:Correlation/Causation? (5, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377505)

My experience with my daughter and her girl scout friends is that once the get to middle school, a lot of pressure is put on them not to like math. From TV, to parents, to other kids.

Now, I don't stand for that nonsense, and my daughter(11) is learning algebra through summer.

Yes, I am a mean dad that has actual summer goals for his kids. Fear not trolls*, it's only an hour a day in the mornings for math and Spanish, and an hour for electronics in the evening.
My kids have plenty of time to goof off; which is important. And frankly there more you know about science, math and electronics, the more interesting their goof off time is anyways.

*Not necessarily the person I am replying, to, but to a bunch of people who don't have kids but a wealth of stupid advice.

Re:Correlation/Causation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377601)

As soon as I got hold of something I could program my career was set. I don't see what the fuss is about, women rarely (never as far as I know) catch the bug that men do when they discover that they are natural hackers. It's the way it is, men and women are different. Sue me, it's true.

Maybe.

85% of Health and Clinical Sciences are women, 79% of Education, 77% of Psychology, 61% of Visual and Performing Arts, 63% of Communications, 60% of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 68% of English Literature and 66% of Humanities/Liberal Arts/General Studies.

Assuming there's no physiological requirement that differentiates one from the other, yeah, maybe we're dealing with cultural/preferential differences and not a problem of exclusion. Just a thought.

Re:Correlation/Causation? (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377121)

Creepy? Just because I offer to share my tentacle hentai?

Re:Correlation/Causation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377673)

Obviously if there is something negative to be said about women, it MUST the evil penises fault, right?

Re:Correlation/Causation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377367)

Pretty sure it has to do with the decline of pirates. Over this time period, there have been declining numbers of pirates that parallels the decline in number of women in CS related fields.

Or, maybe it is due to the decline of ninjas. Same correlation seen for their numbers too.

OMG! It must be due to global warming!

Re:Correlation/Causation? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377547)

Two things happenned, and they either both increased or decreased or didn't.
Surely they must be related!

Maybe women are smarter than men (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376411)

Most of us know that a degree in Computer Science is FAR more related to mathematics, and is generally not supposed to be a training ground for enterprise software development. Even if we gloss over that fact, maybe women are smart enough to see that most software development jobs pretty much suck and are just avoiding them.

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376653)

But people who graduate with comp sci degrees make more than graduates in other fields. You can argue that perhaps the work is worse in other ways but the pay should at least be attracting anyone smart.

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377349)

If these IT, CS, and Software Engineering jobs are so terrible, how do you explain all these surveys and exercises in ranking routinely putting those careers near or at the top of their lists?

Not saying they can't be horrible jobs. Seems more likely these rankings are failing to account for a number of things. Or is it that every other field really is worse?

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377531)

"but the pay should at least be attracting anyone smart."
why? Smart people generally do what they love. Moderate level intelligence go where the money is. Hence the jump in low skill computing ability in 97-00

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376727)

Came here to say this. CS is the place for people with passion for the subject. Where learning and achievement are the reward, not fists full of cash. It's not something you should drop in to if you're just out to make a buck.

Say you're smart, hard working, and want to learn a trade. Why go in to CS when investing your time in learning Medicine or Law will net you /much/ more money for your effort? Real CS jobs, outside of teaching, pay like garbage. The real issue here is companies are not offering proper incentive. (And they wonder why their engineers are so antagonistic when some middle manager or sales goon makes 3x their pay)

You can't dace around the gender issue here, but for whatever reason I've met very few women with any real passion for CS. Or for any "hard" science like mathematics, theoretical physics, etc. Smart and hard working women? Lots! No shortage of those.

If you're smart and pragmatic, it make sense that you'd go for something other than CS.

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376985)

Not exactly. Many engineering fields (including computer-related ones) actually pay pretty well in starting salaries. The problem is that this is very short-lived; after 5-10 years, all your friends that went into medicine will be making much more money, while yours will have then reached a cap, and you can look forward to only inflationary increases unless you go into management.

So unless you plan to use your engineering or CS degree as a stepping stone to something bigger and better, it really isn't worth it in the long run; you'll do much better going into medicine or finance.

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376939)

Exactly. Access to the internet, and being around people in the industry, has made western women aware of what the industry is really like, so they're steering clear of it.

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377047)

Most of us know that a degree in Computer Science is FAR more related to mathematics

That's based on the assumption Barbie can't do math, therefore no comp sci. However very nearly a majority of the math grads and profs I know are women (in fact I'm pretty sure there are more F than M). The M/F ratio is much more favorable in the math dept than the CS dept. In fact the only bigger sausage fest than CS that I have ever experienced was 100% male EE. Now if you claimed EE was scaring chicks away from CS you might have a point. Maybe.

Re:Maybe women are smarter than men (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377645)

We had a decent fraction of women when I was in CS, undergrad or graduate, and a growing number of female CS profs as well.

CS as a whole I think is doing ok in terms of women, though it could be better. However, CS is not IT and I think IT does have problems in this regard.

In Other News (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376425)

USD inflation is correlated with falling interest in CS among women.
The number of black presidents is correlated with an increase in cell phone use.
The comment "correlation does not imply causation" is correlated with the number of xkcd comics with a similar point.

PLEASE STOP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376459)

Please stop this madness! First there is the gender wage gap myth which has been debunked over and over again, yet it still persists throughout all media outlets, and now this. Year after year, companies, government, non-profits - you name it - spend MILLIONS of $$$'s trying to get women into the sciences, and each year the same conclusion results that we need to push HARDER to get women in sciences.

Has anyone thought that maybe - JUST MAYBE - women aren't attracted to science like men are for reasons other than forcing it down their throat will fix?

Stop what? How about fuck you? (1, Insightful)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376869)

http://venturebeat.com/2011/10/13/the-three-biggest-myths-about-women-in-tech/ [venturebeat.com]

Women and underrepresented people of color are far less likely to take computing coursework or exams in high school and complete degrees in computer science and engineering. This is a fact.

Yet we also uncovered evidence in this report that suggests women and people of color have extremely different workplace experiences. An increase in negative workplace experiences is significantly negatively related to job satisfaction and positively related to likelihood to leave.

This tells us that while there are not as many women and people of color in the current pipeline to drastically change the demographics of the sector, there are also practices within the sector that are problematic. First, The lack of focus on diversity means we continue to hire those that are in our networks, went to our schools, and look just like us. Second, negative experiences (which affect women and people of color at higher rates) lead to turnover.

Thus, while not suggesting that the demographic trends in IT are entirely due to bias, we are also suggesting that they are not entirely due to the pipeline either. The following questions remain unanswered: How many have left IT for another sector? How many found the IT work environment unwelcoming or incompatible and sought employment elsewhere?

http://www.garann.com/dev/2012/is-it-me-or-are-we-going-backward/ [garann.com]

I thought we were getting better? I thought we'd beaten the dead horse of Why It's Important To Make An Effort To Include Women and were now in the Fixing It stage? I thought we were safe not talking about this anymore? What the actual fuck, you guys.

[..]

I'm sorry I'm being mean, but goddamn it, you guys. I'm sick of hearing this same tired bullshit, as though it occurred to no one to actually look the fuck around and see that this defensive attitude toward ignoring the fucking problem and hoping it goes away is making shit worse.

Re:Stop what? How about fuck you? (5, Insightful)

ifwm (687373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377007)

I'm sorry I'm being mean, but goddamn it, you guys. I'm sick of hearing this same tired bullshit, as though it occurred to no one to actually look the fuck around and see that this defensive attitude toward ignoring the fucking problem and hoping it goes away is making shit worse

You're not being mean, you're being gullible.

First, The lack of focus on diversity

doesn't exist, and should have been your first clue you were swallowing a load. Just look at the extensive and well documented attempts to introduce "diversity". The idea that there is ANY lack of focus on diversity is quite frankly, ridiculous.

Second you cite "negative experiences" as though it were lynching and sexual harassment, and not "long hours, tedious work, and a lack of social opportunities".

In short, you bought a line.

Well, whoopty-freakin-do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376479)

And we should give a frack because...?

Have you asked them? (5, Insightful)

djnanite (1979686) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376507)

Has anyone bothered to ask women directly why they chose not to do Computer Science?

You know, rather than just guessing...

Re:Have you asked them? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376543)

Quiet, sweetheart. The men are talking.

Re:Have you asked them? (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377591)

Whoooooo there buddy, this isn't womens' health, abortion or birth control we're talking about; women might understand computer science!

Re:Have you asked them? (5, Funny)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376643)

Has anyone bothered to ask women directly

Yes, they did ask. But the women got all in a big huff, and snapped back, "You SHOULD know that already, and SHOULDN'T need to ask. You're simply don't CARE about us, or pay us any attention."

If it was computer geeks taking the survey, they probably wouldn't get any answers from females anyway, so they might as well try to create some abstract association.

Re:Have you asked them? (2, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377599)

And that kind og joke is why women don't go into the field.

OTOH, you think women are your's for the herding, so I shouldn't expect you to be civil.

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376649)

No. For one of two reasons: (a) It's more fun to guess, or (b) If we ask, then women have to be involved, and that's just not fun anymore.

Seriously, though, how do you ask 1/2 the population why they didn't choose something when, realistically, it may not have even been a conscious choice? Why didn't you choose to be a rocket scientist, seal trainer, glass blower, welder, photographer, astronomer, musician . . . . . .

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377119)

I don't really buy this. While obviously, any survey of people to find out why they didn't choose to go into any random field is going to be of dubious usefulness, it'd still be better than simply guessing, which is what's going on here.

For instance, I can give you answers to all the above.
Rocket scientist: no jobs in that industry when I was in college (early 90s). We used to joke to our Aerospace Engineering buddies about how they'd be unemployed.
Seal trainer: no real interest in marine animals to that level
Glass blower: crappy pay
Welder: crappy pay, poor working conditions
Photographer: crappy and very sporadic pay
Astronomer: not enough interest to get a PhD in it
Musician: too much like the lottery in becoming successful, and only able to play music, not really good at writing my own

I'm sure most people can come up with similar answers; while some women will just say "little interest", others who have considered it will have much more pointed observations about their perception of the state of the industry, just like I had certain perceptions about the state of the aerospace industry when I was in college. If the aerospace or space industry had been booming at the time, who knows, I might have gone that way instead.

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377271)

while some women will just say "little interest", others who have considered it

That was actually my argument. It's not that they choose to NOT be in CS. It's that the choice isn't ever considered because of the state of the internet/culture. It's not that I didn't choose this thing, it's that I was conditioned by forces out of my control to never even think about it as a valid option for my future. Sexism/discrimination isn't (usually) overt.

Re:Have you asked them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377557)

That was actually my argument...it's that I was conditioned by forces out of my control to never even think about it as a valid option for my future.

And it's a profoundly stupid one, as all the women who do think about it and then go on to do it prove.

Re:Have you asked them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377517)

You're answering why you _wouldn't_ choose this job, not why you _didn't_ choose it. It's a whole world of difference. You can rationalize about "wouldn't"s, but honest answer about most "didn't"s is "Eeeh, I didn't even consider to consider it at the time". Not useful at all.

Re:Have you asked them? (3, Insightful)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376671)

I wonder if maybe Men and Women have different interests?

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376679)

Why ask?

We have to fix the world so that 51 or 52% percent of any occupation or sub-occupation is female, regardless of what anybody wants. Except for PC people, because that's what they want.

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376887)

In my case, because I tell any woman who asks me not to bother. Men who enjoy computers tend to have a somewhat "me man, me use tools" approach to their work. It's not pushing the analogy very far to say that I've been given raw, freshly killed carcasses and expected to turn them into a delicious object-oriented stew.

Seriously, though, the sexism in the typical IT workplace is just astonishing - I've worked in other industries and the difference is huge. I'm lucky enough to have a technical niche where I can happily call people out on their behaviour and not get blowback from it, but I'm lucky. If I weren't in that position I'd go and work in a call centre.

Re:Have you asked them? (3, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377137)

Has anyone bothered to ask women directly why they chose not to do Computer Science?

You know, rather than just guessing...

I know you're probably going for the laughs, but if X% decide to go into almost entirely female nursing or early childhood education or mostly female education, then you're going to have a hell of a time convincing an extra X% to go into CS just to balance it out.

You're really screwed (uh, metaphorically, although it worked out for me practically) if there are more female nursing students than your entire engineering school. You need quotas, not so much to keep the boys out of engineering and CS, but to keep the girls out of ed and marketing and nursing.

I'd be unholy pissed off at the world if I were forced into early childhood education just to "get the ratios correct", and I'm sure the chicks being forced into neckbeard-land would be equally pissed.

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377633)

I would be pissed if someone was forced into a position as well, but that doesn't mean we should ask why women , or any group, chose one field of another.

It is a very male competitive industry.

Re:Have you asked them? (2)

samoanbiscuit (1273176) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377179)

I signed in just to say ^^, but you beat me to it. I'm pretty sure most of the comments on this page are pretty much a good motivator for any high school senior reading this not to enrol in a CompSci program if she has a vagina. Affirmative action and quotas don't work, but the hostility that comes out against women in tech is just crazy. It might never be fixed.

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377653)

It will correct, but not until it starts to return to actual engineering, and not some ad hoc crap fest.

Re:Have you asked them? (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377429)

Asking people directly why they made the choices they did isn't always as illuminating as it seems - the human brain is more than capable of coming up with after-the-fact rationalisations to explain why a choice was the logical thing to do, when in fact the real decision-making was done on an instinctive/emotional level.

Re:Have you asked them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377589)

Seriously, though, it's not as easy as it sounds. Go up to your mom or sister or a waitress or something and ask her why she didn't go into computer science. People are so complex, how could you extrapolate to the rest of the population?

And the conclusion? (4, Interesting)

YodasEvilTwin (2014446) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376525)

The summary doesn't mention why the internet might be responsible. From TFA:

The first hypothesis I propose is that Internet culture supports a belief in a meritocratic environment [9], which has been linked, ironically, to an increase in biased behavior [10] as it provides moral cover for prejudiced beliefs. Encountering overt, covert or benevolent sexism undermines both women’s performance and interest [11]. Even if such beliefs were prevalent in professional spaces before the Internet, as masculine gender performance is common, aggressive and publicly visible in online forums [12] women no longer have to be the target of such behavior themselves before college in order to associate it with the industry and choose an alternative career.

The second hypothesis is that the Internet encourages a sense of belonging [13] to the masculinized culture of software development [14], which alienates many women [15] by causing them to feel excluded from a camaraderie-focused profession [16]. Again, while this culture may have existed before the Internet, women with Internet access are likely to encounter such attitudes earlier and more frequently. To the best of my knowledge, whether the Internet has changed the culture of computing itself, either in America or internationally, is an outstanding question.

TL;DR The internet is dominated by sexist men, which discourages women from getting involved in related fields.

This is a pretty interesting idea, and one that I'm inclined to ascribe some level of truth. I'm not too sure what we can do about it, though, other than continue the push for people to stop being so damned prejudiced.

Re:And the conclusion? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376735)

Easy, give Ada Lovelace the credit she is due and stop giving Turning all the credit. He certainly deserves some but not all of it.

Re:And the conclusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376781)

TL;DR The internet is dominated by sexist men

According to the kinds of people who write articles like this, everything is dominated by sexist men (which is redundant).

Re:And the conclusion? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376867)

Could it be that many men in the industry fit the bill of men who should "help" when asked y a women, but when asked to do so do not understand the "normal" social contract and so don't. Women on the whole prefer for the social contract to be obeyed when it benefits them. So they would be better off in an industry with more neurotypical responses to the normative social contracts.

or to paraphrase: "We don't like them coz they stink and always expect us to deal with their shit."

Re:And the conclusion? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377115)

So they would be better off in an industry with more neurotypical responses to the normative social contracts.

Please save your stupid "I'm an Aspie, LOOK AT MEEEE!!" crap thanks, no one cares.

Re:And the conclusion? (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376871)

I propose alternative idea, and it's the same reason why we see more male Ph.Ds than female Ph.Ds in the sciences:

- Women recognize a deadend, inherently unsocial job when they see one.

I know if I could turn-back time I'd choose a different career. Ph.D is extremely low-paying relative to the amount of work to get it (assuming you don't just flunk out as many do). And programming is high-paying but is basically a dead end career with long hours & little social interaction (except with your computer). And after age 40, the companies start discriminating against you, so all the effort of learning is for nought when you get laid off & can't find another job.

Re:And the conclusion? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377093)

Or less developed countries have more women in sciences.

Re:And the conclusion? (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377211)

This is a pretty interesting idea, and one that I'm inclined to ascribe some level of truth.

Ask yourself, did (almost entirely female) schoolteacher blogs scare me away from being a kindergarten teacher? Uh, no, I think a lifetime of wiping snotty noses scared me away.

In retrospect my social life would have been more fun in a "mostly female" major. Yet another "what was I thinking" moment from my youth. Imagine a 25 person marketing class consisting of me, and 24 lonely future booth babes.

Re:And the conclusion? (1)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377539)

TL;DR The internet is dominated by sexist men, which discourages women from getting involved in related fields.

That is exactly what I was planning to comment here, you just were faster at it. Men should just see the insane amount of flak and belittling us women get whenever anything even remotely technical is discussed, not to mention the awkward sexual advances even before they've even seen how you look like. Similarly, the better you look the more flak and belittling you're bound to get.

I'm not saying this is the primary reason for declining enrollments, but I am saying that this is definitely one of the biggest reasons. If men/industry leaders want more female participants then for f*ck's sake stop treating women like they're delicate little flowers who can't understand anything or who need pampering all the god damn time.

I don't get it (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376541)

Every chart I look at in TFA looks pretty flat, as far as the M:F ratio. It looks like both men and women tried to jump on the dotcom bandwagon, and we've normalized back to early-mid 90s levels.

Re:I don't get it (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376741)

My interpretation of the charts is that less women enrolled in comp sci programs during both of the large influxes of students? I'm not sure what to gleam from that.

Re:I don't get it (1)

chispito (1870390) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376771)

I think I failed to read the graphs. I get it. The men's participation levels are higher now than circa 1995, but the women's participation levels are the same.

So here we have trend line analysis... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376639)

comparing differences in computer science enrollment, careers in software development, and Internet access by gender and country.

In other words, if you've been spoiling for a chance to grind an axe, now is a great chance.

What's the advantage? Why does it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376647)

Can someone explain to me why it matters if more or less women are studying computer science? Do women make better computer scientists than men? If so, I can see why it would be important for the progress of the field to have more of them. But if not, then I don't see why it matters any more than examining how many left-handed versus right-handed people or tall versus short people stydy computer science.

Not trolling. Just wondering what the deal is.

Re:What's the advantage? Why does it matter? (1)

dontPanik (1296779) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376767)

Can someone explain to me why it matters if more or less women are studying computer science?

Because we're tired of it being a sausage fest?

Re:What's the advantage? Why does it matter? (1)

andsens (1658865) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376865)

I do not have anything to back this up, but my suspicion is that women are not only underrepresented but HUGELY underrepresented in this field.

Sure: pick any other male dominated field of work and you might see the same underrepresentation.
CS is different though, it resembles physics, mathematics and other fields, where women are represented quite well. It's a white collar job. I suspect no other white collar job has this kind of underrepresentation of women..(?) Am I on to something here or is this nonsense?

Re:What's the advantage? Why does it matter? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377545)

I do not have anything to back this up, but my suspicion is that women are not only underrepresented but HUGELY underrepresented in this field.

So? The question was, "Why should we care?"

So, tell us: Why should we care? Do you even have a reason to care, or is it just because everyone told you that you should care?

It's a white collar job.

Typical concern of 21st century feminists. Women are also underrepresented in blue collar jobs, but feminists stopped caring about that decades ago.

Am I on to something here or is this nonsense?

No, it is nonsense. Women are not applying to CS, EE, CpE, or IT programs; the problem is not in those programs, which have gotten to the point of bending over backwards to attract women. Nobody is being denied access, and women are not facing a harsh environment, at least not to the point where they are fleeing. The cause lies outside of these fields, but feminist theory excludes that as a possible explanation.

Women are (2)

ifwm (687373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376715)

"There is currently a responsibility-dodging contest between industry and academia over who is to blame for the declining enrollment of women in Computer Science

Women are. Or are we still forwarding the lie that women don't make their own choices, and need to be coddled/cajoled/hand-held into taking jobs in industries they don't care about?

Re:Women are (5, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376913)

My undergrad EE department was told that the environment was driving women away, and that was supposed to explain why we had no qualified female applicants. Obviously they knew what sort of atmosphere our department had before they had even arrived!

What amuses me is the number of feminists who criticizing the disproportionate representation of women in science and math who never tried to advance beyond a high school education in those subjects. The women I have met in engineering were tough, knew how to put down sexually offensive comments before things got out of hand (I do not think anyone can reasonably expect offensive comments to never occur -- but there is a point at which those comments become a problem, and the women I am referring could stop that from happening with a few well-chosen words), and hated the special status women receive during admissions to engineering schools (they felt it belittled their abilities).

Re:Women are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377687)

Exactly.

Why is this even an issue? (3, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376725)

>> who is to blame for the declining enrollment of women in Computer Science

Blame? really? Last time I checked, people have a free choice as to what field they want to work/study in. If women choose not to do CS then its entirely their choice. No one is to blame.

Why is the ratio of men to women in CS even an issue? Its not intrinsically wrong that it mostly attracts men. Can we end this sexist crap please?

There are plenty of professions that have a significant majority of women:
http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2010/07/27/where-women-work/ [aol.com]
I don't see any corresponding massive outcry about how to get more men in those fields.

We just need to offer equal education opportunities to both genders and employ people based on merit not gender. Positive discrimination is still discrimination.

If there's a shortage of CS grads for employers to hire then its a supply and demand problem not a gender issue. Employers will just have to suck it up and pay developers what they're worth in the free market. Oh noes! the horror! Who knows, that might even lead to more people choosing to do a CS degree. Problem solved.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (2)

crazyjj (2598719) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376839)

I wonder if there are a bunch of "Why aren't there more men in nursing?" articles over on some Nursing message board.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (3, Funny)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376977)

As a guy I'd have gone into nursing but those little dresses and stockings make my butt look big.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376981)

Now if there was only some way we could find out. Hmmm....

Re:Why is this even an issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377207)

You're going to love this..
There's a significant demand for men in nursing. Particularly large, masculine ones that are in shape.
Why? Sometimes you need to haul around heavy people. Do you have any idea how hard it is to move an unconscious 600lb overweight individual? Now, imagine one that's combative or uncooperative..
Also, some patients are.. Jerks. Some respond better when they talk to big guy than your average woman nurse.

It's pretty evident when you look at an average nursing staff. You'll have lots of what you consider a stereotypical nurse. Young to middle aged ladies.. There will be a bare handful of average male nurses.. And then a lot more huge gruff looking fellows with beards that you would swear were a biker gang the weren't in a medical professional's outfit. - You'd be right too, since they all probably indeed did ride a motorbike to work.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377387)

Probably - but there are more men approaching the field of nursing as time goes by. Nursing has a high barrier to entry, so like any field requiring a Master's Degree or higher (for RN, anyway) - there is a limited pool of interested applicants. Of course, some disciplines within Nursing will see more men than others. Trauma or ER nursing will have a good amount of them, as something like OB/GYN, L&D, and CNM (Certified Nurse Midwives) will see *almost* NONE enroll.

Why? Your surrounded by women who believe you don't belong there, aren't subject to the care you provide, therefor are unable to empathize with your patients. Pair that with instructors who believe such venues are the sole property of women - and if your *really* lucky, you'll graduate and become an instructor. You will, according to statistics, never practice on real patients. Of course, there are a few 'odd ducks' that make it through and become midwives - but they garner a lot of attention, good or bad, which can make people uncomfortable.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (-1, Troll)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376995)

Blame? really? Last time I checked, people have a free choice as to what field they want to work/study in. If women choose not to do CS then its entirely their choice. No one is to blame.

Spoken like the ignorant white middle class male you most likely are. Last time you checked? That would be never, you're not paying any fucking attention.

I don't see any corresponding massive outcry about how to get more men in those fields.

Because those are for the most part low-status, low-paying servant style jobs. You actually post that and think you're pointing out something clever? HOLY FUCKING SHIT. You just killed your own argument; unless of course you meant to say women generally enjoy being slaves.

Why the fuck am I even talking to you. Bah. *shudders*

Re:Why is this even an issue? (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377189)

Spoken like the ignorant white middle class male you most likely are

Yeah, speaking of prejudice...

Last time you checked?

Last time I checked, my undergrad EE program received 0 female applicants my year. What do you think we should have done about that? Women were not applying; that was not our fault, so stop blaming us. By the way, women do as well as men when they do bother to apply to engineering programs:

http://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2009b/090804OhlandEngineering.html [purdue.edu]

those are for the most part low-status, low-paying servant style jobs

Oh, so I guess we do not really care about gender equality in lower status jobs. What was that you said about the middle class? You know, that stupid, insulting, derogatory reference you made to middle class white men? Sounds like you think the middle class is the only thing worth focusing on, and moreover, only the upper middle class.

Yet as anyone who has dealt with feminists knows, that's the story with 21st century feminism. Back in the 70s, feminists were trying to ensure that women had equal opportunities in both high-status and low-status jobs -- like sanitation work. Today, feminists have fallen into the same trap as everyone else, belittling and ignoring blue collar work and focusing only on glamorous, "You can be part of the 1% if you try hard enough!" careers.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377201)

Mod this troll down please.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377249)

"Because those are for the most part low-status, low-paying servant style jobs. "

So? Is your argument that CS jobs are better than Teaching Jobs or Child Care Jobs because YOU THINK they are "low-status, low-paying servant style jobs"?

Because that's pretty condescending, and frankly, wrong.

I GUARANTEE YOU, if you ran a poll, teachers would have higher status than programmers.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377279)

Well done for a complete fail on about 90% or your assumptions about me and your lame attempt to present a well-reasoned argument.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

darkstar949 (697933) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377289)

Blame? really? Last time I checked, people have a free choice as to what field they want to work/study in. If women choose not to do CS then its entirely their choice. No one is to blame.

Spoken like the ignorant white middle class male you most likely are. Last time you checked? That would be never, you're not paying any fucking attention.

I've heard the same thing at the office from various women, you aren't going to attract quality workers to a field by overselling it or forcing them into it. While people tend to agree that the IT fields in have an overall image problem, it's also not something that is going to change over night either as cultural changes require time. Furthermore, most women who are still college, that I have talked to also indicate they aren't exactly too interesting in working in a high stress field with the perception of mandatory overtime. Needless to say they are generally aren't interested in medical fields for the same reason.

Because those are for the most part low-status, low-paying servant style jobs.

I know a number of nurses and healthcare workers who would love to argue that point with you. But since we are looking at the bulk of the list as opposed to piecemeal, if you really look at that list, they are all jobs with fixed schedules and generally don't require overtime or place unexpected demands upon workers. In contrast, if you look at the lists of fields that are dominated by men [askmen.com] (my apologizes for the horrible link, but it is the second hit on Google [google.com] , most of the other links seem to be about men going into fields that are traditionally dominated by women, or about women breaking into men's fields as opposed to a strict listing) you will note they tend to be higher stress, more physically demanding, or have unpredictable schedules which most women seem to avoid.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (-1, Flamebait)

John Bokma (834313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377287)

It's exactly this virtual flaccid urine dripping dick swinging attitude that keeps women away. As a male I somehow get more and more tired of the whole angry smart ass geek factoid burping attitude. Been there, by the way; done that. And now and then I have a relapse (maybe right now). But I seem to suffer less from it, maybe because I have a 2yo and 5yo around me most of the time, and I am positively changed by fatherhood. Anyway, whatever is changing me, I welcome it.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377439)

Wait what?
I advocate total equality of opportunity and merit-based hiring then you accuse me of dickswinging whatever?
How does that work again?
You sound like one of those radical feminists that wants the 'pick and choose' style of equality.
BTW I have a 7yr old kid myself.

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

John Bokma (834313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377631)

Last time I checked, people have a free choice as to what field they want to work/study in.

Maybe reread that sentence a few times and then ask what it says about you. Or at least I hope you understand that even if one has free choice that actually working in the field of choice can be made unbearable by the general attitude of co-workers and management.

Oh, and I take 'radical feminist' as a compliment, it even made my testicles tickle a little ;-)

Re:Why is this even an issue? (1)

ifwm (687373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377615)

It's exactly this virtual flaccid urine dripping dick swinging attitude that keeps women away.

Um, what "virtual flaccid urine dripping dick swinging attitude"? His point was

Last time I checked, people have a free choice as to what field they want to work/study in.

I fail to see how one could read that as a "virtual flaccid urine dripping dick swinging attitude".

Re:Why is this even an issue? (2)

John Bokma (834313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377675)

The whole "I don't see the problem, so it doesn't exists". In this case "free choice" is used to wave away the actual problems one encounters when working in the field of choice, chosen so freely.

Who's Responsible (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376745)

Who's responsible for this lame, flamebaiting, click manipulating, subject constantly recurring on Slashdot?

Could we have some tech news and drop this touch feely crap once and for all?

Bullshit PC question yields bullshit PC results (0)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376775)

Who cares how many women are in the industry? They're not being harassed out. They're being given a bloody red carpet and they're running away in terror. Hell, the ones that make it through the education and enter the field tend to quit or transfer sideways into marketing.

I can speculate as to why that is but it isn't because the largely male population hates girls.

And really, if gender equality is so very important then why aren't men encouraged to join female dominated professions or women encouraged to join professions such as 'coal miner' or 'oil rig workers'...

Enough with the hamfisted social engineering. Just let nature take it's course here. If women want to be programmers they have every opportunity to be programmers. What's the grief? That women don't obsess about code, spend literally years methodically working on pet projects with no real prospect of making a dime on it and isolating themselves from friends and family... and then possibly get a good job a software company or found a start up?

Women don't do that.

Re:Bullshit PC question yields bullshit PC results (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377333)

if gender equality is so very important then why aren't ... women encouraged to join professions such as 'coal miner' or 'oil rig workers'

Long ago, in an earlier age of feminism, that was considered a worth goal. Feminists worked hard to give women opportunities to work in blue collar jobs -- sanitation, factory work, railroads, mining, etc. Then one day, the libertarians convinced everyone that the only jobs that matter are white collar jobs, and the next generation of feminists fell into the trap of believing that. Suddenly, feminists stopped worry about blue collar work, and started focusing on white collar professions, since as everyone knows, white collar work is the only kind of work people should aspire to. Simultaneously, feminists grew to despise lower class women, because those women did not fall into feminists' idealized vision of the successful, professional (i.e. white collar professional) woman who has "equal access" to joining the 1% (equal to men, which is to say, only an illusion of access).

This century's feminists love the upper middle class, white-collar, middle-management suburban woman. That is all they are worried about. When forced to answer questions about women in blue collar professions, today's feminists base all their answers on the assumption that those women are desperately fighting to get a white collar position (not true).

Re:Bullshit PC question yields bullshit PC results (2)

ifwm (687373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377701)

the libertarians

Wait you really just seriously blamed "the libertarians" for convincing people that "the only jobs that matter are white collar jobs"?

The same libertarians that haven't really mattered politically or culturally until the last year or so?

And you think they talk DOWN blue collar jobs?

Do you even know what a libertarian is? Because your post seems to prove you don't. What is up with this sudden rush to blame everything you don't like in the world on a group of irrelevant politicos? By making claims that are demonstrably false?

Re:Bullshit PC question yields bullshit PC results (3, Funny)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377345)

They're being given a bloody red carpet

See, it's jokes like that which get us in trouble.

Re:Bullshit PC question yields bullshit PC results (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377699)

In trouble with whom exactly? Twits that don't know the difference between rom and ram. They can sit on it and spin.

Why would anyone care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40376785)

I don't give a rat's ass whether my co-workers, bosses, or employees are male or female. All I care about is whether they do their job, and whether they have the right skills. Seems like that makes me the only non-sexist in the room :P

This is hardly specific to computer science... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376817)

Practically all the disciplines that lean heavily on mathematical aptitude are affected by the gender gap: Engineering, physical science, computer science, and of course mathematics itself.

I can't say I understand exactly why this is so, but it seems that women simply do not demonstrate the same level of interest and aptitude in mathematics as men do. Certainly I have never noticed any actual gender discrimination that goes on in these fields, or at least not by anybody who has any credibility. That said, the only person I know who is my own age with a doctorate in mathematics is a woman... so this gender difference is anything but universal.

Nonetheless, there remains an indisputable gap between the fields that men and women desire to pursue, even though there is no definable physiological or biological reason for such a gap to exist.

I think that trying to figure out why this is so, or assigning blame, or even expending effort trying to change this instead of simply accepting it as fact and moving on is only going to result in a lot of wasted energy that could be better spent on actually improving the education that *IS* offered.

Perhaps, even, if we stop trying to focus on the issue so much, things might start to change on their own anyways. Just don't discriminate in the interim.

Re:This is hardly specific to computer science... (2)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377055)

I can't say I understand exactly why this is so,

No, but we can rule out certain things:

  1. The environment in schools and industry -- women are not failing to apply to engineering programs because they somehow know what the environment in those programs will be like. Women are not dropping out at a higher rate than men:

    http://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2009b/090804OhlandEngineering.html [purdue.edu]
  2. Genetics --there is just no evidence here. Find the evidence, then we'll talk.
  3. Lack of opportunity -- women are given more opportunities than men, recruited more heavily by engineering schools, etc.

Is the problem cultural? Maybe, but what the heck are engineering schools or companies supposed to do about the general culture outside of their organizations? If feminists want to address this problem, they should complain about how few mothers and fathers are buying tinker-toys, erector sets, magnets, etc. for their daughters. At least part of the reason I (disclaimer: "cis" male) went into EE as an undergrad was my early exposure to magnets, electric motors, and computers. Maybe little girls should be given toolboxes, wires, batteries, and LEDs to play with instead of Barbie dolls.

Its (5, Funny)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 2 years ago | (#40376893)

...because women and hard logic are such a natural mix.

Re:Its (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377359)

...because women and hard logic are such a natural mix.

You're not making a great case for men and hard logic, either.

Re:Its (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377637)

I'm normally dismissive of radfem nonsense but it's people like you that make me think they might be on to something.

Correlation != Causation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377101)

I would think that greater internet access implies a developed country - which in turn provides a greater diversity of opportunities. Rather than trying to figure out "What's wrong with the internet" or "What's wrong with men on the internet" the focus should be on, "Why do women find computer science dull and boring?"

Why should it be equal, and what is Comp-Sci? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377331)

Granted, the computing evolution over the past 30 years has been primarily male dominated, I'm wondering why they think this 'new' industry should have any gender equalization over time. Are we to believe that Computer Science or programming are subject to the same rules that every other emerging field has displayed over time where gender equalization inevitably occurs? Actually, please point any field out to me right now, where the gender makeup is 50-50! Does that even exist? Is that even the goal here?

More importantly, I think they're misunderstanding what exactly Computer Science is, and what exactly the industry considers with regard to programmers. Most of the programmers I know, either don't have a degree at all, or have a degree in anything BUT Computer Science. I'm sure your thinking now, 'he must not know many programmers' , but from what I read here, elsewhere, and speak to others about regarding programming, Computer Science in academia has very little to do with present day code shops churning out commercial software, web portals and web-apps.

Just this past week there was an article bemoaning Python as the new surging trendy language that will put C++ into the annals of history, like the Dodo (yea, right!!). Less than a year ago, it was javascript and jquery that were going to take over the Internet and give us a new online experience to boot. How exactly is Computer Science adjusting to that much market flux in theory, and application. Especially in under a year. By that scenario, a freshman Computer Science major would go in expecting to learn the hot button language streamlining through the web right now, and by the time they're a senior, realize they should have learned Cobol and be making 2-3X the pay right out of college.

Gender equalization? Perhaps if the industry in general, and probably media as well (includes you /.) wouldn't be so spastic over how coding and languages in general are percieved and used, we wouldn't be asking ourselves if we're presenting it in such a way as that might turn off would be female programmers.

That being said, females who are drawn to programming, aren't going to let misogyny or anything else stand in their way, despite what the industry reports, or academia bemoans.

More logic in other article... (1)

toxygen01 (901511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377437)

I believe there is much more logic in following article [greenspun.com] by Philip Greenspun from 2006 than in TFA.

WHO CARES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377503)

SERIOUSLY I DON'T UNDERSTAND why does anyone care? I'm sure there are a million other fields with disproportionate male/female ratios I don't understand why it matters at all.

Jobs (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377553)

Maybe it is because the women want jobs. IT jobs are dramatically down so it makes sense that the enrollment number have also declined.

Which companies? (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377597)

While I'm sure the data quoted is accurate, I'm not seeing it here locally. In my group (20 of us, QA + development product group in a networking products company with about 2,000 employees), 9 are female, and an eyeball-survey says that this is about normal for the rest of the engineering organization. Same for candidates whom I interview; about half are female.

Where are all these all-male companies? Could other tech-oriented industries (defense, etc.) be getting lumped in with Silicon Valley style companies, and if so, is that really an accurate assessment?

Gee. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40377649)

"Join the fast paced IT INDUSTRY! Now with mandatory funtime! That's right, when deadlines hit - and they hit constantly because our managers are fucking idiots - overtime is out the window. It's FUN-time! You'll have fun working 80 to 90 hours a week, mostly at night on weekends, while being deluded into thinking you're making an awesome salary! We also promote further education! Learn the newest whizbang buzzwordy technologies, or we'll hire an H-1B to replace you!"

Men: Durr, that sounds kewl, I am teh neo i rite programs lolololol

Women: Dafuq?

Can't imagine why women don't get into tech.

The reason for decline of women in software dev... (1)

3seas (184403) | more than 2 years ago | (#40377685)

....is simply due to women in general realizing software is just a bunch of made up egotistical mindset crap.
Don't believe me? wait a little bit and you'll see an article to the contrary, that there is an increase of women in software dev.
And it won't be the first time this babel has happened regarding women in software decline/incline.

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