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Could a Grace Hopper Get Hired In Today's Silicon Valley?

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the we're-all-full dept.

Businesses 608

theodp writes "There has been lots of heated discussion on the topic of where-the-girls-aren't, both in the tech and larger business world. Dave Winer broached the subject of 'Why are there so few women programmers?', prompting a mix of flame, venom and insight. Over at Valleywag, Nitasha Tiku pegs 'Culture Fit' as an insidious excuse used to marginalize women in tech. Completing the trilogy is an HBR article, 'Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?', in which Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic concludes the problem is that manifestations of hubris, which occur much more frequently in men than women, are commonly mistaken for leadership potential. So, with a gender and age strike against her, would a Grace Hopper in her prime even land an interview in today's Silicon Valley?"

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608 comments

Female programmers (5, Informative)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44676757)

I only had one girl in my computer science classes in college, but she was an exceptional programmer. Now in the work field, again I encounter very few female programmers but am always impressed with their skill levels and dedication.

Re:Female programmers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676851)

There weren't very many female CS students at college with me, and they ranged between worthless (few) to okayish (most) to exeptional (very few). In other words, pretty much followed the same patterns as the male students, albeit being far fewer in numbers.

That said, I gradumicated thirteen years ago. So YMMV.

Re:Female programmers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676925)

I've worked as a software engineer for 10 years post-graduation now. I've encountered few women, none more than slightly better than average. Then again, how many actual *great* developers are there? 1%? Then maybe 20% who are good. 50% average. Rest below average?

Re:Female programmers (4, Insightful)

Carewolf (581105) | about a year ago | (#44677055)

I would say the same, and I don't understand what is being said about leaders. The women have their fair share of incompetent leaders as well. Well not completely fair, since the women to men ratio is still low, but I would guess the ratio of incompetence female leaders to competent ones is the same as for men.

I can only think of a handfull of male leaders in IT that are more incompetent than Carly Fioni.

Re:Female programmers (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677169)

To say men have a bunch of personality disorders and make poor leaders as a result is just silly... many of the disorders they listed are actually much more common in women.. like histronic personality disorder. I have an unlimited number of crappy male bosses I can name but I've many women even in their 40s and 50s who never emotionally matured past highschool and some of them end up becoming bosses.

Listing off the personality disorders as reasons men are bad bosses is especially dumb because some of them like histrionic personality disorder are primarily female personality disorders.

Re:Female programmers (5, Interesting)

notanalien_justgreen (2596219) | about a year ago | (#44676885)

This is exactly the problem. The pipeline is bled dry waaaay before actual companies try and hire women programmers. There is quite possibly some sexism involved in hiring practices, but the bigger issue is why are there so few women in a position to be hired in the first place? Why aren't many women choosing to study these subjects. Are they being discouraged from studying computer science? Are they graded more harshly? Is it social pressure?

I've been wondering recently if it isn't more to do with expectations. Men are judged very harshly on their career. A man with a crappy job is often unfairly seen as a crappy man. Women are given much more space and encouragement to "find themselves" I find (anecdotal I know....) and can work "lowly" jobs without judgement. This is likely due to the fact that they encounter more obstacles than your average man, so people generally cut them more slack (reasonably). But I can't help but wonder if the lowered expectations isn't also preventing some women from finding their true potential. A more insidious form of sexism since it's based on good intentions.

Re:Female programmers (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676957)

why are there so few women in a position to be hired in the first place? Why aren't many women choosing to study these subjects. Are they being discouraged from studying computer science? Are they graded more harshly? Is it social pressure?

Maybe they damn well don't want to.

Re:Female programmers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677191)

I had a 1st grade teacher who was "very concerned" with my math skills. She told my single, working mother, who was also earning a degree in civil engineering, "You know, there are even some girls doing better in math than him."

I remember the way she taught math was explaining a problem, then assigning a few pages of problems in our workbook, and offering candy (Smarties) for pages turned in. Math was right after recess, and the school wasn't air conditioned so she kept the lights off most of the day. Turns out, that at 6 years old I was just more interested in sleeping in a warm dark room after running around than earning candy by doing a bunch of adding and subtracting. Meanwhile, the girls who were talking during workbook time were given a pass, but boys who talked "were unfocused."

That would have been '85 or '86.

Re:Female programmers (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#44676991)

Here is what I don't get and why these "why are there not enough women in X" articles piss me off....why do we have to treat women like a man with an inverted penis, instead of what they are, a completely different creature that SOMETIMES have interests that overlap ours, sometimes not?

Does a woman's brain look the same as ours on a CAT scan? Nope, different areas are used more and different areas used less, in fact any scan tech worth his salt can spot a female vs male scan in seconds. There are plenty of fields where a woman will just slaughter a man, for example a female pilot will whup the dog shit out of a male pilot because she can take more Gs and in a fight the one that can push the plane the hardest without having a black or red out wins. Women are better at language, women are better at diffusing tense situations which is why they make better cops and hostage negotiators...the list goes on and on.

So why in the hell do we have to treat little Sally like she is just Jimmy without a penis? Why? ALL we should do is make sure that if little Sally WANTS to try out for a job she can without discrimination that is it, THAT IS ALL we should do. Instead we try to set quotas and if there isn't "X" number of this or that gender (this only seems to apply to women and certain minorities, nobody complains there is not enough white people playing basketball or males becoming nurses) everyone acts shocked! Shocked I tell you! That little Sally doesn't want to do the same shit little Jimmy does...did you ever stop to think maybe little Sally finds computers boring as hell? Did you think about that? Because I fix the computers that women use every day and I have found the VAST majority, I'd say at least a good 7 if not 8 out of 10 just want to do their job and get as far from the PC as they can when the work day is done. You see many females actually LIKE face to face interaction, I know, its weird, and they find just staring at a screen for hours dull and repetitive. Ironic considering the one time they like spending hours on the thing is FB and those damned FB games, or as I call them "hamster pushes the button and gets a treat" but hey I'm not a woman and if it makes 'em happy? More power to 'em.

So as long as we make sure little Sally can do the job if she wants, which with the rise of startups and appstores frankly I don't see as much of a problem since anybody can start their own software house now, then we should just stay the hell out of it. I think if we did so you'd find that certain jobs women are drawn to, certain jobs men are drawn to because surprise! They truly are different creatures with different wants, needs, and goals.

Re:Female programmers (3, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44677199)

Common sense! Good for you.

See people, all it takes is actually using your brain and not succumbing to "politically correct" bullshit.

I believe any futher comments in this thread to be redundant (though no doubt someone will nit-pick all the same).

Re:Female programmers (4, Interesting)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#44676997)

Yeah, my CS class started with 6 females and 200 males.

There are plenty of "women in science and engineering" type programs to try and attract more females- but the girls aren't interested.

Even if classes become 50-50 from now on ( and I'm not seeing any evidence of this) , it would take decades for the numbers in industry to equalise.

Re:Female programmers (-1)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#44677021)

That's selection bias at work. It's extremely hard for a woman to land a job in this field, and even before that there's a lot of pressure against it (the stupid idea that women can't do maths, the extremely male-oriented lingo and focus, etc.), so only the most persevering, most enduring women make it through.

Re:Female programmers (2)

Kielistic (1273232) | about a year ago | (#44677061)

I had a few in mine with a similar experience to you. I always felt that if you took the average of the girls and the guys separately the girls would have a higher average yet the girls always had a lower opinion of themselves.

It is probably at least in part due to fewer women do get involved in computer science. Therefore the ones that do are probably self-selected to be above average. They actually enjoy computer science and/or excel at it. Whereas a lot of guys just get into it because they like video games (that's what I took out of university anyway). Those below average gamers can get pretty obnoxious about how much smarter they are than everybody which can be pretty disenfranchising to a small group of people that already feels out of place.

Re:Female programmers (5, Insightful)

Chris Walker (135667) | about a year ago | (#44677183)

Up until I the last few years, I would have agreed that women programmers are rare (and they are at most companies). However, I now work for a company with a large number of Indian engineers, and about half of them are women. My conclusion is that the lack of women must be largely cultural (in the US) and nothing whatsoever to do with gender differences in ability.

Re:Female programmers (2)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about a year ago | (#44677195)

Well there are two reasons why I can't understand why you don't see a large number of women in IT:

1) Women love being referred to as girls
2) There is absolutely no difference between men and women [wikipedia.org] other than the fact that they have protruding breasts and many of us don't.

Unlikely (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676767)

She'd probably miss the job interview on account of being dead for 20 years.

Re:Unlikely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677207)

I see, there is an unfair discrimination against the dead. Let's fix that. I propose a law that every software company must employ at least 5% dead programmers.

Why so few women sanitation engineers? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676779)

You never see women hanging off the back of a garbage truck. Is this a problem? Why is it a problem that women don't want to be programmers but not a problem that women don't want to be "garbage persons?"

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1, Interesting)

SirGarlon (845873) | about a year ago | (#44676865)

You don't see a lot of black people in the US Senate, either, but it would be erroneous to conclude that African-Americans don't want political careers. Which analogy, garbage trucks or US Senate, is the one that fits?

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (2, Insightful)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44676929)

The US Senate has huge barriers to entry...for everyone. Including all of us reading this. Jobs with the local government have incentives to entry for women.

Why am I not surprised the racism card was immediately played in response to a legitimate question in an attempt to silence debate? Especially when race wasn't even involved until you brought it up?

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (-1, Troll)

Fwipp (1473271) | about a year ago | (#44676977)

Why am I not surprised the racism card was immediately played in response to a legitimate question in an attempt to silence debate? Especially when race wasn't even involved until you brought it up?

Probably because you're racist?

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44677039)

Way to prove DNS-and-BIND's point!

You must be one of DNS-and-BIND's shill accounts.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44677057)

Nope, I just have the one account.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44677189)

Right. Just after you make the point about morons trying to shut down discussion with cries of 'Racist', a moron shows up and cries 'Racist'!

Just a coincidence I'm sure.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

Rob the Bold (788862) | about a year ago | (#44677155)

Why am I not surprised the racism card was immediately played in response to a legitimate question in an attempt to silence debate? Especially when race wasn't even involved until you brought it up?

Probably because you're racist?

So your response is basically: "I know you are, but what am I?"

Re: Why so few women sanitation engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677127)

Same could be asked for women in tech forums, or men in teaching roles. But that's not news worthy.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676941)

The one that requires being around garbage all day. Wait, that didn't clarify it. I would imagine the garbage person. Stuff has to get done, under sometimes adverse conditions, with possibly unfriendly management, in environments that might not be a person first choice.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44676955)

Senator is not a carrier. Politician is a carrier. There are plenty of black politicians.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676959)

Based purely on demographics, garbage trucks is the one that fits best. You could have figured that out if you spent more time thinking and less time ranting.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676975)

You also don't see black people at Phish concerts. Don't black people want to noodle dance and throw glowsticks?

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677095)

Dude women aren't even trying to get into tech, I had 3 cs professors and one was a woman, surely there was little room for sexism in my school. Yet there were barely any women there at a school that was like 60% women. Most of them seemed to be having a great time getting easy degrees and lounging around in the grass all day. My observation is that the life sciences seemed to be the only science where there was a decent male/female ratio.. not sure why but whatever it is women are doing, they're doing it to themselves maybe stemming from social stuff they picked up before things like careers were even a concern. But it's not the men in tech driving them away.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (3, Informative)

LoRdTAW (99712) | about a year ago | (#44676983)

There are a few women working the packer trucks (rear load garbage trucks) in the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY). I have seen them.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677005)

There are lots of women driving and hanging off the backs of garbage trucks in Montreal.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

madro (221107) | about a year ago | (#44677037)

For cognitively demanding jobs and careers, we need to attract the best and brightest regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, etc. So if a career path is not pulling from the full population, it is a fair question to examine why. We are faced with a long-term shortage in the supply of nurses. Why don't more men pursue that career?

To compare with a slightly different field: my spouse works in a manufacturing environment, and she's the best engineer there (IMHO). They would like to continue improving the department by hiring new staff, but they can't find qualified people. Maybe if women and men were pursuing mechanical engineering in equal numbers, there'd be a better pool of candidates to draw from?

(Also: Garbage trucks are becoming more automated. Pretty soon, we won't need women *or* men hanging off the back of a truck.)

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

dunkelfalke (91624) | about a year ago | (#44677051)

I actually do, ever now and then. Not very often, though.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

Koreantoast (527520) | about a year ago | (#44677065)

Maybe because programming and tech jobs in general are viewed as high prestige and the cutting edge of technology, and therefore its curious as to why there aren't more women in that field just from the market demands alone, particularly compared against other sciences and fields. Garbage collection, while important, is a job that most people aren't aspiring to.

Re:Why so few women sanitation engineers? (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44677069)

What makes you think they don't want to be rubbish collectors? I know someone (educated) who does it from time to time. Reasonable money, finish early, keeps you fit and tides you over between jobs.

I suspect the reason is the same one that there are so few female programmers.

Admiral Grace Hopper (5, Interesting)

mknewman (557587) | about a year ago | (#44676781)

Having met http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grace_hopper [wikipedia.org] briefly while I was at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Texas_at_Austin [wikipedia.org] back in the '70s I can say without a doubt she would be highly regarded in the current environment. She is known for COBOL but her accomplishments are many, including very early compilers and standards for FORTRAN. She was very influential to me. If she was 40 today I would easily imagine her leading a Silicon Valley company, as her tenure in the Navy was very similar, requiring leadership and technical capabilities, but she chose military service for her career, making what I consider very significant advances in computer science. She really was quite an imposing figure for a 90 lb grandmotherly woman. I wish I could have known her better. During many of her lectures, she illustrated a nanosecond using salvaged obsolete Bell System 25 pair telephone cable, cut it to 11.8 inch (30 cm) lengths, the distance that light travels in one nanosecond, and handed out the individual wires to her listeners. One of her great quips: "The most important thing I've accomplished, other than building the compiler, is training young people. They come to me, you know, and say, "Do you think we can do this?" I say, "Try it." And I back 'em up. They need that. I keep track of them as they get older and I stir 'em up at intervals so they don't forget to take chances."

Re:Admiral Grace Hopper (5, Interesting)

jabberw0k (62554) | about a year ago | (#44676889)

I heard her speak at a Heathkit Users Group conference in Washington DC, 1986. What an inspiration! Three quotes stand out: "I do not accept 'because we've always done it that way' as an excuse." "It is always easier to ask forgiveness than permission." And: "Computers are getting better at answering questions, but will a computer ever ask an interesting question?" The Admiral is a life-long inspiration. (I still have a nanosecond.)

It explains US foreign policy perfectly also. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676787)

" manifestations of hubris ... are commonly mistaken for leadership potential "

Not limited to tech jobs in the valley.

Easy answer. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676789)

'Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?'

Because they're far easier to control.

Yes (5, Insightful)

schneidafunk (795759) | about a year ago | (#44676795)

Of course, anyone with credentials like this: "She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar in 1928 with a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics and earned her Master's degree at Yale University in 1930." would get an interview at a tech company, or even become the CEO [wikipedia.org] .

No chance! (5, Insightful)

jerry_gitomer (217716) | about a year ago | (#44676797)

Because she didn't have a degree in computer science her resume would never be approved by HR. The hiring manager wouldn't even know she applied.

Re:No chance! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676805)

Because she didn't have a degree in computer science her resume would never be approved by HR. The hiring manager wouldn't even know she applied.

Not to mention she wouldn't have 10 years of Java/C#/PHP/etc.. experience.

Re:No chance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676979)

Because she didn't have a degree in computer science her resume would never be approved by HR. The hiring manager wouldn't even know she applied.

Not to mention she wouldn't have 10 years of Java/C#/PHP/etc.. experience.

Or that she's over the age of 22. That sends up red flags all over Silicon Valley.

Well... okay, MAYBE she could be 23 if she got her Master's Degree. MAYBE.

Re:No chance! (1)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44676903)

It's not exactly analogous. She didn't get a degree in computer science. She helped create the field.

Re:No chance! (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44676913)

Plenty of tech firms would be satisfied with maths and physics.

Re:No chance! (3, Insightful)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about a year ago | (#44676945)

Because she didn't have a degree in computer science her resume would never be approved by HR. The hiring manager wouldn't even know she applied.

Ahh, but she would lie to HR, and ask forgiveness later ;-)

Re:No chance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677053)

No, but she did have the military background. If she graduated from an academy and had security clearance, I think most defense contractors would consider training her. If you can operate a nuclear reactor on a ship, maintaining the DB servers is a cake walk, and from there you write little shell scripts and stuff, and eventually more complicated things as you learn. I've seen people come into programming as admins without CS degrees all the time.

Hubris more common in men (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676799)

In your dreams.

Re:Hubris more common in men (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676867)

As a man I think you must be some kind of blind, senseless albino fetus-creature not to realize the fact that hubris is more manifested in men.

Re:Hubris more common in men (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676967)

No, hubris is not more manifested in men, thats flat out ridiculous. Humans are humans.

Why aren't more women in science fields? (3, Informative)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#44676807)

Yes, easy to blame evil men for everything - keeping Grace Hopper from getting a job in Tech in 2013 (Assuming she wasn't dead).

In the 80's, women made up most of CS programs around the country. When I went in 2000 - they made up a handful of the entire class. But, engineering was the same (for all engineering majors).

There isn't some evil conspiracy to prevent women from entering tech (some of the best innovators in tech I know are women). They simply, for whatever reason, aren't interested in it.

Re:Why aren't more women in science fields? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676935)

Its all about evil men, and to be more clear evil WHITE men. The world will be a better place once we make sure they are either unemployed or gone. SlashDot has nothing but feminine men posting so they know what I'm talking about and agree. Most on here are greedy engineers as well.

For some reason BO is not a WHITE African American so he gets a pass from being evil. We need to balance the playing field, shatter the glass ceiling and all that, people. Stop being racist and discriminatory, we don't need men anymore get used to it. Its time to let others at the table, move over evils fu*kers.

PS Grace would be too old and way to stable to get a job anywhere in wacko America.

Re:Why aren't more women in science fields? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677003)

Nobody is suggesting a conspiracy. They are, however, suggesting certain biases may be responsible -- possibly unconscious, possibly promoted as much by other women as by men.

The idea that men are "naturally" more interested in programming is something that's possible but should be treated with appropriate skepticism. It's not like there were programming contests a million years ago that were evolved into us, and it's not like obvious different circumstances like pregnancy go particularly well with a lot of other currently-female-dominated jobs (e.g. nursing). So either there's some very indirect inherent cause, or there's some cultural motivation. The cultural thing might even be good on net compared to not having it. Or horrible beyond just a gender imbalance in a particular industry.

Both of these things are, of course, much easier to claim than to prove. But one thing that is pretty much proven is that people who think they aren't sexist often do have biases (eg. http://www.theage.com.au/national/how-the-sex-bias-prevails-20100514-v4mv.html [theage.com.au] ). Same goes for race.

Indeed, why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677013)

They simply, for whatever reason, aren't interested in it.

So by your own admission, in the '80s, more women than men were interested in CS, but that balance had more than reversed itself in a little over a decade.

That doesn't seem strange to you? Just based on the facts. "It was this way, but now, 'for whatever reason,' it's totally different." Forget the "evil men" strawman argument; something changed. What, and why?

Re:Why aren't more women in science fields? (3, Insightful)

Koreantoast (527520) | about a year ago | (#44677083)

Shouldn't that raise concern though? Given that there was greater parity up into the 1980s, why have the numbers of women programmers dropped so dramatically over the last couple of decades? This is on contrast to other STEM fields where the numbers of women have been steadily growing. Unless you're saying 50% of the population suddenly lost interest in what is considered one of the more lucrative fields in the global economy right now.

Re:Why aren't more women in science fields? (3, Informative)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44677137)

Even if you are correct that women are not interested, isn't that in itself a problem?

Girls tend to do better than boys at school, but at some point get turned off STEM subjects. Is it an innate female disposition? The fact that they are good at those subjects suggests not.

What is your theory? Do you have any evidence to back it up?

Re:Why aren't more women in science fields? (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44677139)

Women were a majority of CS students in the 80s? Nonsense. It was more or less the same as today, no change.

Whoever told you that women were a majority in the 80s was lying to you. Not wrong; lying to further an agenda.

Re:Why aren't more women in science fields? (4, Interesting)

shbazjinkens (776313) | about a year ago | (#44677205)

In the 80's, women made up most of CS programs around the country. When I went in 2000 - they made up a handful of the entire class. But, engineering was the same (for all engineering majors). There isn't some evil conspiracy to prevent women from entering tech (some of the best innovators in tech I know are women). They simply, for whatever reason, aren't interested in it.

My stepmother was a programmer in the 80's. She quit and decided to be a homemaker because of rampant sexism in the workplace. Among the things she's told me about that, the one that stands out is that the office would throw incentive parties at strip clubs in order to exclude her from being rewarded for her work. She's a smart lady.. but they would give her the most menial of tasks (mainly testing other programmer's code, and having to very thoroughly document problems or else they would be dismissed as her error).

One would hope that the same things aren't going on today, but from reading /. my guess is that lots of things going on in the workplace make it a male-dominated workforce, least of which would be the capability and interest of smart women in doing the work. Instead, you'll find them in the more gender-neutral fields of medicine, chemistry and biological sciences.

I was shocked and thrilled that in my first industry job our staff programmer is a woman in her late fifties. That gives me hope that maybe it wasn't this bad everywhere. She's brilliant at her work and has a very strong work ethic. I truly didn't expect to see any women in my workplace after my experience in college.

I know plenty of female programmers... (2)

tekrat (242117) | about a year ago | (#44676813)

But they are all Russian COBOL programmers.
But trust me when I say the financial industry has more than you realize -- they just ain't in Silicon Valley, they are in Wall Street.

Do we need a Grace Hopper in SIlicon Valley today? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676817)

And if you are comparing, I would say that we do in the form of Marissa Meyer, and before her Carly and Meg (love or hate.)

Grace Hopper did not stay as a frontline dev person for long.

So you're really asking the wrong question here, which should be more: Why aren't there more . And I'd also submit that it is *because* women are smarter - they know that management leads to better rewards than grunt work.

Flamebait (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#44676819)

This article, as well as the source articles are all nothing but professional trolls written for the express purpose of generating page views. What's next, links to articles on Jezebel asking if the average man beats his wife before or after raping her?

Re:Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676965)

This article, as well as the source articles are all nothing but professional trolls written for the express purpose of generating page views.

So it's perfect Slashdot material.

Re: Flamebait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677107)

Usually before. I have an eight o clock beating scheduled on our hared calendar every Sunday, after church.

It Never Ends (-1, Troll)

Velex (120469) | about a year ago | (#44676823)

Good god, more of this shit?

Wake me up when there are womyn-born-womyn in IT classrooms.

If you can't get womyn-born-womyn into IT classrooms, there's no fucking point in angsting about why they don't get hired for tech jobs.

When do we tell womyn-born-womyn to take some fucking responsibility for their own lives? I can't make their fucking decisions for them. I don't control them. I'm an individual, and I'm sick of being blamed for their own shortcomings because of the gender I was assigned against my will.

Re:It Never Ends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676873)

Do you know that the weird way you talk makes you look nuts.. I barely have any idea what you're saying.

Re:It Never Ends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677007)

That seem to be a joke. Have you ever had the pleasure of reading any Social Justice type blogs. It's a special language, for special snowflakes.

Or it's a batshit mental circle jerk/echo chamber.

Personally I go with utterly batshit, but you make your own mind up.

Re:It Never Ends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676947)

Wake me up when there are womyn-born-womyn [...] If you can't get womyn-born-womyn [...] When do we tell womyn-born-womyn [...]

Wow. SOMEONE'S got a catchphrase stuck a mile up his ass. Do you need to talk about it? Because seriously, that comes right the fuck out of nowhere, sticks out like someone trying to force a meme, is debatable whether or not it means anything, and seriously isn't helping your case at all.

No, really. That would've gone a lot better if you didn't leave a steaming pile of your own clever catchphrase all over the post.

Exactly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676953)

I'm sick of being blamed for their own shortcomings because of the gender I was assigned against my will.

So, you wanted to be a girl and when you popped out and regardless of your protests, the doc slapped a dick on you and called it a day?!

Re:It Never Ends (2)

Kielistic (1273232) | about a year ago | (#44677133)

I'm sick of being blamed for their own shortcomings because of the gender I was assigned against my will.

You are not being blamed for your gender. You are being blamed for your obnoxious comments / beliefs. In the same breath you said that their absence has nothing to do with you and then continuously repeated a term that you clearly consider derogatory toward them. I wonder why they might not want to be around you.

Re:It Never Ends (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677143)

If it's against your will, you are free to change your gender.

plenty of women in the wings (1)

peter303 (12292) | about a year ago | (#44676829)

Especially at google [marieclaire.com] , We will see more Marissa Meyers, Yahoo CEO from google, as long as the three men block the top at google.

Re:plenty of women in the wings (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677173)

Too bad Marissa is terrible, and is riding Yahoo into the ground.

who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676837)

I mean really why does this matter? Why isn't it a problem that there aren't enough males in nursing or males that run baby sitting services. Every time i see this topic i think does it matter. If girls don't want to get into tech why are we trying to encourage them.

Re:who cares (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#44677017)

I don't think there's anything wrong with encouraging them to try, but I don't see any point in blaming the issue on men when they just aren't interested.

My alma mater specifically set aside 10 seats every year for women wanting to get into Computer Science, but I only knew six girls for my entire five year university career that took advantage of that. Three of them (all in different years from me) changed after a year or so to the general science program because com. sci. just wasn't what they thought it was going to be. Three graduated, two of them are stay at home mom's now and the third I lost touch with.

The one I lost touch with was actually one of my best friends in university, but moved out west after. She was actually kind of a bitch to the other girls and always commented on how bad they made her look. I remember sitting with her one day over coffee in the com. sci. building. She very disdainfully looked at one of the other girls who was flirting and said, "Figures, All the guys are here to get their BScs and the girls are here for their Mrs."

Re:who cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677193)

Why isn't it a problem that there aren't enough ... males that run baby sitting services.

When men wants to run baby sitting services, it often seems to be a problem that they're male.

Won't someone please think of the children?!

Depends on her grasp of keyboard shortcuts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676839)

As long as she follows /. to discover such great gems as "ctrl+shift+t," though, I'm sure recruiters will be all over her (figuratively, though possibly literally as well).

Not in "today's" Silcon Valley (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676847)

So, with a gender and age strike against her, would a Grace Hopper in her prime even land an interview in today's Silicon Valley?"

No.

First Grace was a brilliant leader and computer scientist; which means she would be worth quite a bit of money and the Valley wouldn't pay for her talent. (Go to PayScale.com, put in your skills, set the city to SF. Yeah, they pay shit for the cost of living there.)

Secondly, she was much too innovative to work in SV. They'd want to put her to work on some lame-ass "Social Networking Site", some advertising app that hides its intentions by "showing the user their interests" (targeted advertising BS), or some other stupid idea that would be beneath her.

Lastly, in this day and age, I'm not so sure she'd apply her brilliance to computers. I think she'd go where the the new developments are being made; like biotech or something that would challenge her - i.e. Everywhere but Silicon Valley.

What are they on about now? (5, Interesting)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year ago | (#44676849)

Women don't often choose tech as a career. But those that do get paid more and find jobs easier then comparably qualified men.

Every company that does any business with government is always looking to hire females/minorities. They are required to. Don't pretend that doesn't have an effect.

I've met mostly men (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676877)

not trying to stereotype but here is an observation from me: the job recruiters who call me are mostly men. some women call me too. most everyone who interviews me for a technical / programming / software engineer is a man. i think only four women have interviewed me so far. when the interviewer gave me a tour of an office, most of the people that I saw in the office were men.

come to think of it, most of the senior IT people (managers and lead programmers) that I've met are men too. so yeah, were are the smart women in the IT field? Oddly enough, I did see women of all ages in my IT and information systems courses taking java and database classes. *scratches head*

Re:I've met mostly men (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677027)

Sometimes I meet people who can capitalize a sentence. Yey!

I've interviewed with plenty of women.

She Would Debug the System (1)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#44676907)

We're talking about the person who popularized the term "debugging." She was accustomed to making systems do what others said couldn't be done and getting people to fix the flaws in their broken systems. She would probably write a paper on the bugs in the company's hiring system (does not hire programmer if gender is F), hang out at the Starbucks across the street and use social engineering to get someone to deliver the paper to a decision maker who would invite her in for an interview and hire her.

Slashdot has grown up (4, Funny)

BigHungryJoe (737554) | about a year ago | (#44676911)

Ten years ago the comments to this story would have been riddled with crude, misogynistic jokes. In fact, I wonder if the story was meant to elicit such a response from Slashdot. Congrats on rising above, everyone.

Hubris? (1)

medv4380 (1604309) | about a year ago | (#44676923)

Isn't that one of the defining characteristics of truly great programmers, along with laziness, and being impatient.

Re:Hubris? (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | about a year ago | (#44677025)

In a way. I think there is a clear difference between hubris and self-confidence. Both enable you to take on challenges that you're not quite sure how you can complete. The difference is what happens when you realize things are going sour, and you need to admit failure and/or ask for help; this also takes certain self-confidence.

I figure this ought to be linked here... (0)

Entropius (188861) | about a year ago | (#44676963)

... so we've named a supercomputer after her:

http://www.top500.org/system/176952 [top500.org]

It's a pretty giant beastie. There are some pretty awesome pictures of the front rack floating around:

http://news.techgenie.com/files/Hopper-Supercomputer.jpg [techgenie.com]

No, of course not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676973)

Why would anyone hire a grasshopper? They suck at programming. Stupid bugs!

Wrong Question? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44676999)

Should we be asking "Could Grace Hopper get hired" or "Would Grace Hopper choose to work as a silicon valley programmer"? My (admittedly anecdotal) experience has been that women view programming more as a tool than a career. When I volunteered to help run a programming course for kids ages 10-12, the way the boys and the girls viewed what they were doing was astronomically different.

When I asked our most enthusiastic boy students whether they wanted to be a programmer when they grew up, most of them responded "YES!" enthusiastically. When I asked the same question to the most enthusiastic girl students, I got responses like "No. I want to use programming to make me a better Chemist/Biologist/Teacher/etc."

This difference in viewpoints has been very apparent at the college level too. While we have very few female computer science grad students, we do have tons of female grad students using Python, Ruby, and C to model simulations in our other science departments. They do not consider themselves programmers; they consider themselves Biologists, Chemists, Geologists, etc that use a powerful tool to put their research into high gear.

Silicon Valley still needs plenty of soulsearching on the subject, but I do have to wonder whether trying to get women to be programmers is an inferior approach compared to encouraging women to leverage programming in order to make them better at whatever career they desire to pursue.

Women are better than men when they act like men (5, Interesting)

quietwalker (969769) | about a year ago | (#44677031)

There have been lots of studies about this, and one of the most telling related self-employed/small business owners based on gender lines, where men and women had relatively equal qualifications. As self-employed individuals, this avoids the potential bias of a glass ceiling or other unfair discrimination. As you'd expect in today's environment, men outperformed women on average.

However, that's not all. The study included a metric to determine the goals of the individuals; money, etc and if you split it up your comparisons based on their goal focus, you found something interesting; men tended to focus on making money, and would sacrifice vacation, schedule, family, etc to do it, while women placed higher priority on a short commute, flexible schedules, family (including child-rearing), and so on. This is all expected stereotype, not at all interesting.

What was interesting is when matched to those women who made money their motivation, men were beaten handily. In fact, once paired with same-motivation/goal, women out performed men almost across the board, achieving a higher success rate, and in general, a higher level of subjective happiness across those metrics. The averages are just skewed because more men choose money than women, and we tend to use money as an objective measure of success.

The salient point to take from this is: Men and women have different goals and motivations, and that can affect both their career choice and their apparent success in a given field to an uninvolved observer. Trying to artificially adjust this rate will probably end badly, unless you change the definition of success. However, few businesses willing to hold an employee up as 'very successful' when their primary goals include child rearing and vacation time.

As an aside, this is also why there are so few female CEOs, especially of larger, higher dollar businesses. Many of those CEO's have unbroken strings of management reaching 30-40 or more years. On the other hand, many female managers have taken time off for children, family, etc. They're not being penalized, but simply put, one individual shows a greater dedication towards advancing the business than the other. ... I'd like to link to the article, but it was in a business magazine, and I couldn't find a reference to it online

Re:Women are better than men when they act like me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677109)

How I long for the days when you could go to work and be left alone. Or do anything and be left alone. When I Was interested in computers/Electronics no one cared about the field, but now that America has hardly any jobs, we start this kind of crap. Can we just live without all this over ANAL-ization? Can people just be interested in stuff? No one pushed me anywhere not even my parents who where no where to be found. Let the ladies find their own way.

America needs to get over itself and stop being so crazy about anything racial, social, sex.... Man up people especially the feminine dude above.

Big Man Disease (1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | about a year ago | (#44677035)

Its the idea that your status in an intellectual setting should be based on how far you can throw furniture. Or how far you could throw a football back in high school. These sorts of attributes may have some validity in some blue collar jobs, like ditch digging or bricklaying. But they have no value in a high tech company.

Of course she could get hired in today's world (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677047)

Having met Grace Hopper, and luckily getting to spend a few hours with her where I got the Incredible Luck of sitting at the graduation speakers table. She smoked unfiltered Pall Malls, drank straight scotch, and swore like a sailor. She would have no problem in a place like Microsoft in the early days with bare-knuckle screaming management. She didn't make rear admiral because she was made of Jello.

one question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677093)

Why would I hire a deceased old hag?

The memes of the evolutionary conveyor belt (1)

frog_strat (852055) | about a year ago | (#44677097)

Pre-modern: Women are property, not persons

Modern: It becomes more common that gifted women make significant contributions to society, science, etc

Post-modern: While occasionally woman are able to overcome or bypass pre-modern systemic bias, we actually should fix the system

Integral: Realization that differences in the way men and women flourish in society is not necessarily seen as a problem, as it is in the post-modern meme, and its goal of flat equality.

From the Article (1)

rabtech (223758) | about a year ago | (#44677105)

Most notably, in a comprehensive review of studies, Alice Eagly and colleagues showed that female managers are more likely to elicit respect and pride from their followers, communicate their vision effectively, empower and mentor subordinates, and approach problem-solving in a more flexible and creative way (all characteristics of "transformational leadership"), as well as fairly reward direct reports. In contrast, male managers are statistically less likely to bond or connect with their subordinates, and they are relatively more inept at rewarding them for their actual performance. Although these findings may reflect a sampling bias that requires women to be more qualified and competent than men in order to be chosen as leaders, there is no way of really knowing until this bias is eliminated.

The bolded part hits the nail on the head for me. In the software development field (as well as management) currently a woman must exert more effort to get noticed so there is a huge selection bias that makes the women more likely to be top of the line, versus your average male manager or programmer. Any woman who isn't gets pushed out of the field or passed over.

We will know when we've arrived when we have a good mix of incompetent, average, and excellent female software developers and managers... Just like we have with men today.

As for why a relatively balanced field (Computer Science) turned into a male-dominated one, I think the period when nerds and geeky stuff weren't cool put a lot of social pressure on women to stay away and now the cycle just perpetuates itself. Even if 29 of 32 guys in a CompSci class are normal non-creepers, as soon as a girl shows up she gets the full attention of the 3 total creepers, who stalk her, follow her around campus, etc... Or the one dude who constantly talks down to her and says software is for guys only. In reality it takes only one asshole to drive the girl away and perpetuate the cycle.

Personally I'd like to see more women entering the field so I try to call out the creepers and assholes whenever I encounter them. One voice of reason often puts a stop to it.

Actually, nobody knows why (2)

davide marney (231845) | about a year ago | (#44677123)

I'm not aware of any serious study that attempts to explain why women aren't better represented as programmers. There are lots of studies that establish that it is so.

So, we really don't know why. Until someone really can nail this down with a decently reliable study, everyone is just speculating.

Personally, I think looking at programming is too narrow. If you look at the broader aspects of a development project -- application design, programming, human/computer interfaces, information organization, testing, documenting, requirements gathering, customer management, deployment, training, troubleshooting, customer support, etc. -- I think you'd find that the gender distribution is a lot closer to the working population. It truly does take a village to develop software. It's pretty narrow-minded to focus on just one aspect of the problem, and pretend like that's all there is.

really? (2)

Goldsmith (561202) | about a year ago | (#44677135)

Would someone with decades of experience developing DoD computer systems and networks at the highest levels find a job in Silicon Valley?

Yeah, I think so.

I have a feeling such people (whether elderly, female or from Mars) are in great demand right now at otherwise youthful homogenized companies.

A better question is: would Navy junior lieutenant Grace Hopper be assigned to a high profile research project at Harvard? There are all sorts of reasons that wouldn't happen.

Wax on Wax off (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44677153)

Teach me to read subject more closely. First glance I thought it was talking about Grass Hoppers.

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