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Women Leaving I.T.

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the baby-come-back dept.

Businesses 1027

Deinhard writes "NewsFactor is running a story on the exodus of women from the I.T. field. According to the article, women made up 41% of the I.T workforce in 1996. That number dropped to 35% by 2002 and that "the downward spiral is gaining momentum." While this is certainly a concern, what are the overall effects of such a mass departure?"

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Looking at the distribution ... (4, Insightful)

foobsr (693224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908508)

... of participants here this has long since happened.


Re:Looking at the distribution ... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908549)

I don't think it was ever the case.
I would dispute the figures they are spewing.

Unless of course they are including people who use computers to do their job rather than technical IT positions?

Nowadays, there is no point putting IT on your CV if computers are so ingrained into your career path that NOT knowing them would mean not being able to do the job in the first place (for instance a secretary not knowing how to email or use Office etc)

Anyway, we need more women posting on slashdot, but NO flowers or potpouri please, we have to keep some sense of decency.

Re:Looking at the distribution ... (5, Interesting) (664381) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908550)

slashdot \neq IT
More seriously there are a number of possible reasons for this. I would hazord a guess that a large number of women entered IT for the sake of the $ and now that the $ is harder to get they are moving to other fields.
Not that men didnt do this, but if you look at the major universities they have essentially been bribing women to go into technical fields (engineering, cs , etc.) so I would hazord a guess that those efforts recruited people more interested int he $ than the love of the field.
Of course I could be entirely of base.

Re:Looking at the distribution ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908683)

It's hazard. HAZARD.

Don't... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908510)

let the door hit your ass.

Re:Don't... (-1, Flamebait)

Gentlewhisper (759800) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908613)

It is unavoidable.. women have bigger asses ^^

In america... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908661)

...everyone has a big ass. Fatties!

Women? (4, Funny)

gnoos (828264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908514)

There were women working in IT???? Where?

Re:Women? (1) (782137) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908571)

My computing course has a few women, but the female:male ratio is still very low.

Re:Women? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908634)

Same at my school. Many women that I've talked to (well ok not many) switched majors because the male to female ratio was way to high, so they switched to Chemistry or whatever other science has a more reasonable ratio. I don't blame them since geeks aren't usually the most hospitable group either.

People always bring up the issue of what the female sex can and can't do, well IMHO it's all BS, it's all about what they want to do.

Re:Women? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908600)

Maybe the editors got it wrong... it could be that Cousin It is having bad luck with girls.

You're modded as +3 funny but... (2, Insightful)

raehl (609729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908620)

Given any particular male in IT, and any particular female in IT, the male is much more likely to be proficient in what he is doing. The exodus of women from IT just coincides with the burst of the tech bubble. Now that there are a lot less IT positions, the people who are filling them are the more qualified candidates, which means men. The girls who went to school in IT to make money/meet men aren't employed anymore.

Now, I'm sure a buncha people are going to get up-in-arms screaming 'Men are not better than women!'. To which I wholeheartedly agree. However, people who spend their entire adolescence in their basement working on computers are better at computers than those who do not, and people who spend their entire adolescence in their basement are far more likely to be men. Ergo, a particular male, having been far more likely to have been hiding in his basement working on computers while other people were dating, is more likely to be qualified for an IT position that a particular female.

overall effects? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908515)

Simple, less geek chicks!

And that's terrible. How am I supposed to deal with a woman that doesn't think compiling a just released kernel is exciting and the best forplay one can have?

Re:overall effects? (5, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908538)

How am I supposed to deal with a woman that doesn't think compiling a just released kernel is exciting and the best forplay one can have?

Apply patches first.

Re:overall effects? (0, Flamebait)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908647)

I'm growing more and more misogynic these days myself. The thing is, it's pretty hard to find a woman who is interested in things other than:
  • clothes
  • TV series
  • spreading rumours
  • horoscopes (yeah, it's that bad)
This does apply even to women who are nominally intelligent, educated, and so on. I'm not saying that all women are geek-incompatible, just a vast, vast majority is. I have read an interview with a number of female survivors from the Auschwitz death camp. I was totally shocked: the topics they elaborated on was the looks of the prisoners, the clothes they got (from the non-utilitarian point of view), how devastating the haircuts were...

What I want, is a woman who has her own interests (not necessarily computer-based), and can understand the interests of others.
An example: recently, I've made a half-assed attempt to make chainmail, and failed miserably. A typical geekish man would most likely take a look, throw in some pieces of advice or, most likely, pick on me because of the lameness of my attempts. A typical woman, on the other hand, would chastise me for wasting time then return to watching her soap opera.

Among the women I've met, I would say there is around _10_ specimens who can understand other people's interests, about half of them being acceptable with regards to age, etc.

To make things worse, the best one lives on the opposite side (relative to the axis) of Earth. Dammit.

Re:overall effects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908684)

Who wants to date someone that just does the same things that you do? I seems rather narcissistic or at least rather boring/unadventurous way to live your life.

Easy (5, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908516)

Easy, stigma of the geek. Kill the stigma of IT and the geek and IT will attract more Women. Meanwhile IT will scare away just as many Women as any other geek...

Re:Easy (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908579)

But geeks have had the stigma from the very start?

How the hell can they say they were attracted to the job in the first place.

We have people like gay lord Gates, and monkey boy balmer, women have (mostly) never aspired to be geeks.

Hell, why do you think that ugly BSD chick is a poster girl, being a geek is not glamerous, or even an attractive career for women.

That may be changing now, but its still not great.

Eh? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908517)

Why is this necessarily a concern? I'm not against the presence of women in I.T., but I don't see that it's a problem if the proportion of female I.T. workers declines. This is just sexist scaremongering, along the lines of the GNAA [] .

Re:Eh? (5, Insightful)

bil (30433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908611)

I don't think it is a concern if women are leaving IT because they can get better jobs elsewhere or because there are less IT jobs or something.

What is a concern is if they're leaving because they're being driven out by sexist attitudes or working conditions (not deliberately sexist perhaps, but more likely designed by single men, for single men and with a "you have to change your life, because we're not changing our conditions" attitude). If this is the case then a) that shows a deep ingrained prejedice that belongs in the 50's rather then a 21st century cutting edge industry, and b) we're losing lots of very talented people who can bring whole new ideas and ways of looking at problems into the industry because they were born with a particular set of physical characteristics rather then for any worthwhile reason.

Diversity is good, not just in the operating system and software market but also in the people that produce that software.

Effects (5, Funny)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908518)

While this is certainly a concern, what are the overall effects of such a mass departure?

Less sex on the job?

Oh, wait, we're talking about IT right?


Re:Effects (3, Insightful)

selderrr (523988) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908576)

we're talking about IT, right ?

I think this sums it up nicely : the field of IT is not what it ws 15 years ago. Today, 95% of the so called IT staff are project managers & planners. In other words : suits.

It's common knowledge that that kind of jobs is still a highly men-only world.
So it's not the number of women that declines, but the number of male boneheads that increases.


johnny rendier (825121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908519)

Not the women.... Although there is a good plan. More and more women are gaming. Teaching my girlfriend world of warcraft now and she likes it. Gosh, she plays more then me. Men are gonna get extinct in a way. Tucked away in a basement doing IT. sad sad ...

Oh man... (2, Funny)

Darkon (206829) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908522)

Now I'll never get a date. :(

Re:Oh man... (2, Funny)

Norfair (845108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908623)

You mean to say you actually had a chance in the first place?

Effects. (2, Funny)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908523)

what are the overall effects of such a mass departure?
Er... tangible masterbation material is thinning out?

Re:Effects. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908561)

Results from the following survey into the causes:

Why are you leaving IT?

1. Lack of job prospects
2. Unfullfilling
3. Outsourcing
4. Tired of being masturbated over by male colleagues

66.66% of respondants answered 4. while Doris next to the coffee machine said she wasn't leaving

Re:Effects. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908652)

Lets just say you should be careful to NOT drop the soap.

Too lazy to provide links... (3, Insightful)

dauthur (828910) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908524)

How often is it though that you see an actual vagina-and-boobs bearing person in the IT field? Their scarcity may be scaring them off (No pun intended). It's simply a male-dominating field, considering some studies have shown that males have better grasps on logic and reason than woman, who tend to think more emotionally. That's obviously not the case with ALL women (See: Hilary Clinton) though, and I shouldn't be taken stereotypically.

Testing? (2, Insightful)

melonman (608440) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908580)

I assume this is a troll, but, anyway...

It is a well-established fact that women are generally better with (human) languages, and given that a lot of IT is not about advanced math but is about manipulating symbols you would therefore expect women to do rather well in those areas of IT. And of course a large part of any job and the main component of many support-based jobs is interpersonal skills, which is another area where women do well. In any case, the bell curves overlap a huge amount, so while your average woman may be slightly more or less gifted at some tasks than men, a lot of women will be better at the task than a lot of men, and vice versa.

I know plenty of women working in IT, and their spread along the competent-incompetent axis is pretty similar to the men I know. One of the best Un*x sys admins I know is a woman, who also happens to have a doctorate in math.

I'd suggest that the exodus, if it exists, has a lot more to do with issues such as working hours, and maybe with the limited novelty value of working with neanderthal male colleagues who can only rate to women on the basis of their genitals.

Re:Testing? (2, Interesting)

bampot (814270) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908668)

I have to say after 10 years in IT I can only think of a handful of female developers. Regardless of skill there is a common thread that their work is much more closely scrutinised than that of their male peers.

The two that stick in my mind most:

One crossed over from a maths degree and was technically excellent. Unfortunately she had to put up with over-criticism of her work by other male colleagues which IMHO was completely unjustified - I was the only one who stuck up for her. (and no I wasn't trying to get into her pants). She left to do IT training overseas.

Another was a complete geek, to the point of being highly annoying. Spoke in baby language half the time. She could write code allright ("writey-witey codey-wodey"), but was unable to follow project plans and didn't know the meaning of the word "test". I recommended her contract was not extended, but that decision was based solely on merit, not gender.

It's catch-22, women have to excel in their job to be regarded as "on the same level" as men, but when they do men feel inferior and try to make their life difficult.

Until us guys progress from a neanderthal mindset, it's not wonder women are leaving IT!

Re:Testing? (2, Insightful)

malkavian (9512) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908681)

I think it's more to do with the now terrible working hours, and vicious conditions applied to the tech sector.
Women seem to be a lot more sensible about taking that kind of crap from an employer than guys (who still feel driven to be "Primary breadwinner", and as such are more reluctant to leave a job and walk into uncertainty).
From being a contractor across a LOT of companies in my time, and various full time roles, I've always found that the guys on the job have always (well, nearly always) just got on with the job, and treated the women the same as anyone else.
If you want to pick up on the guys that didn't deal too well with women being around, I'd like to note that I've been some places where the guys have been no problem at all, and one or more of the female workers have been putting down they guys (which is seen as perfectly 'politically correct' and not a problem).

So, now the sector has been flooded by the people who were in it for a quick buck, and the money's leaving the area, so are the people who wanted the quick easy money.
The ones left are the ones who are passionate about the role.
Much as women are superior at human interaction languages, I've always noted that they are usually far better at interacting with humans.. And their interest tends to wane when faced with using an artificial language to communicate with a computer that has nothing much interesting to say back.
I'll wholeheartedly agree with your competency though. The ones that were good that you've met are likely the ones staying in the field (they must have really enjoyed it to get really good).

Re:Too lazy to provide links... (1)

Xiaran (836924) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908602)

Actually I gotta pipe up here. Ive worked with quite a few female programmers/developers. I find this trend depressing. Because developing complex software has a lot more to it than having skills such as grasps on logic and reason(even if what you state is true... which I personally doubt... but thats not my point)

One of the best thing about women and technology is than when a bunch of men get together to develop something they have this disturbing tendancy to get all carried away. Add a feature there. Sure we can get that done in six months. It can tend to turn into a "whose dick is bigger" contest. The female programmers Ive worked with have always been able to bring things down to earth when the testosterone gets a flowing.

Just my two quatloos

Re:Too lazy to provide links... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908640)

vagina-and-boobs bearing person...

As against all those she-men or desk-jockey man-boobs.

On another note, software is not all about logic and reason. People use software, not machines and they do it in different ways. Many even have emotional attachment to their programs and machines. Thinking in different ways is no handicap in software development.

Effects (1)

gnoos (828264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908526)

"While this is certainly a concern, what are the overall effects of such a mass departure?"
1. Higher porn consumption
2. More men falling in love with Lara Croft

I know why (2, Funny)

onion2k (203094) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908527)

Its because theres only one of me to go round, and they're unhappy not to be working with me all the time.


Thats it for sure.

Momentum (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908529)

"the downward spiral is gaining momentum."
Angular or linear?

Mixed metaphors: Only 99c! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908570)

Just remember, two in the hand saves time. Just don't cry over split hairs!

Re:Momentum (1)

cgranade (702534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908618)


Effects (5, Funny)

gnoos (828264) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908530)

"While this is certainly a concern, what are the overall effects of such a mass departure?"

We will have to get the teas and coffees ourselves.

concern? (1, Insightful)

VanillaCoke420 (662576) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908531)

Sure it's great to have some chicks around but really, they go wherever they want to go and so do we guys, why is this so alarming?

What about (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908532)

The general exodus from IT given the fact that most jobs in this sector pay next to nothing and seem to be as satifying as a red hot poker crammed up the *ss.

Is it any wonder the people are leaving given that family friendly seems to be a concept completely lost on most companies.

Re:What about (1)

ooze (307871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908651)

Isn't the red hot poker crammed up the ass the royal treatment among you Anglo-Saxons?
Just like heads off is the Royal treatment among the Frenchmen?

To Be Expected? (3, Interesting)

CleverNickedName (644160) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908533)

Isn't this just another baby boomer generation leaving the office to have kids?

Women just can't do it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908534)

Women just can't do it. They can't become Unix gurus . Women can't think logically and that's why women are very poor IT workers. It's exactly the same thing with women and cars.

Breast!! (0, Offtopic)

p0 (740290) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908536)

Huh. This is not a poll? Sorry!

Eh!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908537)

There WERE women in IT?

Dayam! I must've blinked and missed them!

Oh well...

Why is it a concern? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908539)

The few women I know in the IT field seem to have gotten into it for the money or because they couldn't think of anything else to do, rather than because they like working with computers. Now the money's gone, so are they.

The same applies to many men of course, but it seems to me that geeky traits are exhibited more often by men than women, so women are going to be fewer than men in geeky endeavours.

I don't think that a 50:50 split in any particular field is necessarily fair, what matters is not the male:female ratio, but that somebody with the requisite talent is able to pursue a career in a field without being artificially held back on the basis of their sex.

Re:Why is it a concern? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908589)

To follow up on my own post, there's another factor to consider - where are they going?

Like it or not, many, many more women have the opportunity to simply give up their careers than men. There aren't that many househusbands around, but plenty of housewives. Hell, househusband isn't even a word!

It makes sense that now jobs in the IT industry are becoming scarce and less well paid, that more women will leave the industry than men, simply because, on average, more of them have the opportunity to do so.

Re:Why is it a concern? (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908688)

"Now the money's gone, so are they." No way! Women who are out for money? Are you sure? Who knew.

No surprise (5, Insightful)

bil (30433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908541)

Judging by many of the replys so far probably the bigest thing driving women out of IT is the attitude of male IT workers who seem to think that we're still living in the 50's, for an industry thats meant to be the cutting edge of the future, many peoples attitudes seem to be about as old fashioned as they come.

Re:No surprise (1)

glew (412946) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908577)

Definitely. Especially the 'girls can't hack this anyway' attitude is horribly widespread.

Cut them some slack (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908586)

If you ever took a closer look at most of the male IT workers, you'd understand why they have problems with women.

And as is always the case when men feel threatened in their masculinity, resorting to dumb sexist cliches is the easy way out.

Re:No surprise (2, Insightful)

Eminence (225397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908609)

for an industry thats meant to be the cutting edge of the future

Cutting edge of the future? Hello, wake up!

It's not that anymore. Look around, most IT jobs are degrading with light speed - who is a sysadm or a programmer now and who was he in social perception ten or twenty years ago? These are now just dispensable human resources, sorry to say that but it's true. This industry is now becoming commonplace, normal industry like say telecoms or railways or textiles - each of them has been the cutting edge pulling the technology and society in their due time. But after that - it's just industry like all others.

Re:No surprise (2, Interesting)

bil (30433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908665)

Stuff social perception, but in technology terms yeah you're right but the waves of inovation and cutting-edgeness (hmm a new word for the day!) have been driven by people who dont understand the old rules and so are free to reinvent them. Now think of all those women who have left or will never enter the industry and consider that to re-ignite that innovation it would only take a few people with a new outlook on IT and computers, and new ideas of how to solve problems, or even new problems to solve and tell how driving women out of the industry helps.

Re:No surprise (1)

littlem (807099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908639)

Judging by many of the replys so far probably the bigest thing driving women out of IT is the attitude of male IT workers...

For better or worse, that's the way it is. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

Re:No surprise (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908664)


It's good to see that without any empirical study performed, we can always return to the lowest common demoninator of saying that men are swine, and that's why women are leaving an industry that was nearly 50% women at one point.

Women wouldn't have been leaving a nearly sexually balanced industry because of the attitudes of men, unless there were a tertiary factor (ie, all of the positions of power were held by men).

Also, please don't follow up with a post saying that all of the positions of power were held by men without some substantiating evidence. Put a link with a stat in it or something.

Re:No surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908680)

true, I'll miss seeing their tight asses as they bend over and try to retrieve that screwdriver at the bottom of the server rack #6.

even whebn they have no ass, bent over their ass looks gooooooood.

now if I can convince sheila to have rip roaring sex while talking only in php code....

It is only a percentage, not a number. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908544)

It does not mean that there are less woman as the IT field has expanded massively... but higher numbers of men have entered into IT and thus increasing the percentage.

Not politically correct but reality is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908546)

If we're talking about programmers, quality of code will improve.

If we're talking about project managers, quality of code will suffer.

If we're talking about QA, fewer bugs will be found.

Not sure why, but in my experience, women were better project managers and QA while men were better coders.

Since I've only worked with a small percentage of IT workers on the planet, this could be a freak coincidence. Others may have entirely opposite experiences from mine...

Re:Not politically correct but reality is... (2, Insightful)

Eminence (225397) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908587)

Not sure why, but in my experience, women were better project managers and QA while men were better coders.

You're not sure why? But that's obvious - women have great people skills, men are better at building things, constructing objects. The later is true also for virtual objects - all great programmers or architects that I know in fact see how the code works. They unconsciously kind of visualize it in their mind as a functioning mechanism.

Project management in turn is a people skills exercise. You have to be very good at dealing with people, understand them, communicate effectively and so on. Women are much better at (unconsciously) manipulating people (especially men, above all geeks) into doing something they want. A man would sooner retort to using authority and orders - woman would first try to make you want to do it. Guess when the job is done better.

Women aren't interested. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908552)

Lets face it, women generally aren't interested in computers. (being very general here)

There is nothing wrong with this. Why is it a crisis?

I suspect the "downward spiral" is due to a lot of women who went into IT (perhaps due to all the efforts made to attract them) only to discover they really weren't interested.

The effects won't be very significant. (it may have an impact on the consumer level as less software is written with women in mind though)

Live and let live. They're not interested, so what?

Re:Women aren't interested. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908670)

Yeah and I'm not interested in being a child care worker or a teacher or a nurse or working in a flower shop.

Will someone please think of the MALE NURSES!!!

Less Marriages (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908555)

It seems like most geeks end up marrying another female geek from the work place. Now, that there are fewer women available AND the geek income has dropped, many here will not be getting married or procreating.

Of course for these folks, the good news, is that it will be much easier to cheat on your significant other. Just switch to the other hand.

re. women in the workforce (1)

ramsesit (754749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908557)

I for one think that if this is in fact the case, it's certainly to a loss to the profession.

In a team of 11, there are 5 women, which for me is a refreshing change in the tables for what has (for me) historically been much more unevenly balanced

The analytical approach taken by many women in IT (in my experience), provides an essential, alternative perspective and approach to providing IT services

C'mon ladies, stick with it :-)

Good riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908560)

Good riddance! I am glad they left, more jobs for us. How exactly do women help the men in IT, other than bringing their stupid nagging attitudes. I am glad they are gone, good riddance, and I hope more leave. Long Live the Geeks!

While this is certainly a concern, (0, Flamebait)

collect0r (794706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908563)

it means less work getting a screensaver to work or a photocopier so they can film their butt. it means we can get more technologically advanced desktop models and get rid of the single mouse macs. woah bliss.

Re:While this is certainly a concern, (1)

isotpist (857411) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908604)

I've never een anyone who could handly more than one mouse. How many do you use on your preferred system?

Re:While this is certainly a concern, (1)

collect0r (794706) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908666)

same problem as you :) i missed button :)you missed the s of seen , we really need spellcheckers on these computers, ie a woman :)

Reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908564)

think rats in a sinking ship

(it's just a metaphor)

Maybe more men are joining? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908565)

Is it possible that more men are joining the IT workforce these days than women, and so the percentages get thrown off? Even post-bubble, IT is very huge industry that offers pretty decently paid white collar work. Seems like an attractive job to fall back on for a lot of people: always in growing demand, good pay, and workable by people who took online/video courses on the subject (at least when it comes to remedial IT jobs).

So this means... (1)

bob670 (645306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908569)

fewer ugly fat chics in my day to day life, I'll take it! Seriously, how many women in I.T. have you encountered who weren't rotund and had pissy attitudes? It's bad enough all the men are like this, but I have yet to meet a hot female in I.T. And the talent ratio is about equally low, if not a little lower amongst females. This is not a loss.

Re:So this means... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908622)

Then you are deeply, deeply unlucky and should keep looking all the harder.

This Proves It (5, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908575)

Women _are_ smarter than men.

Thank goodness. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908578)

I worked for a female I.T. manager once. She fired someone every 28 days.

Define "I.T." (2, Interesting)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908581)

If they include call centres as "I.T." jobs then offshoring may have had an impact.

Other factors (2, Insightful)

ewe2 (47163) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908590)

While the article's conclusion seems insightful enough, it doesn't take account of aspects like the general outsourcing of data entry (formerly the only kind of IT work women could get), or the sheer lack of advancement opportunities, particularly in telecommunications. Even with good prospects, women are disadvantaged.

Given the current wonky state of the larger IT companies, are they missing a useful female perspective?

nobody knows. (1)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908598)

For sure, nobody knows. We at Slashdot can only speculate. After all. Apple and the BSDs were supposed to be dead now. Right?

Problems need to be addressed. (1)

flopsy mopsalon (635863) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908599)

The article was very informative in identifying many of the challenges facing a woman working in the IT field, such as gender inequity in domestic duties. However, there are other factors which also contribute to the problem which the article did not address. For example:

Bulky Equipment: Computers, monitors, servers, mainframes, microwave antennas and the like can be very heavy and difficult to move around. This can present a challenge to the more delicate female anatomy. As such, it is encouraging to see companies such as Apple developing smaller computers and using flat panel monitors,etc. Let's see more progress in this area.

Physiology: The female body is quite different from the male. Females evolved with wider hips for birthing, and soft bosoms for holding babies against, attributes which can prove detrimental in the IT field. For example, breasts can get in the way of frequent mousing,and the weight of the breasts on the shoulders and back can make it uncomfortable to sit and type for long periods. Likewise the wider female hips can be uncomfortable on a chair designed for men. Solutions to these types of problems can be addressed through erognomic science.

Brain Chemistry: Harvard Professor Lawrence Summers recently mentioned how women and men have different brain chemistry, as anyone who has spent some time with men and women can attest, they can be very different. Summers noted that the male brain is more attuned to mathematical reasoning and logic, both essential skills for IT types. Evidence for this can be seen for example in the fact that mathematicians have traditionally been men. Hopefully this problem can be addressed in the future through stem cell research and genetic therapy.

The dwindling number of women in IT jobs presents a problem to the workforce, but this problem is surmountable with a little ingenuity.

Re:Problems need to be addressed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908633)

Nice troll, but I bet you get more outraged "Right on" middle class white male responses than you do female.

Re:Problems need to be addressed. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908660)

So what you are actually are saying is that

1. Women need to learn how to use trolleys and lifting devices.

2. Women need to wear bras.

3. Women need to take loads of testosterone or maybe drink far more beer.

What is their definition of IT anyway? (2, Interesting)

ex-geek (847495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908603)

How do they define IT in the first place? It seems like an increasingly vague concept to me.

Does writing content for websites count as IT?

There used to be a time when women had the majority. Then, coding was seen as a boring women's thing. Later men realized that it can be fun and drove the women out. Could this be a wave of retirement women?

Poor choice of dates, and show me the numbers. (4, Insightful)

Frobnicator (565869) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908606)

That article is very poor journalism, even by the low standards of today.

Start with the two years the mention: 1996 and 2002. 1996 was the start of the dot-com boom. And 2002, a slump after dot-bombs are clearing away.

Where's the numbers in the middle? Did it drop in 1997-1999, in the boom? Did it stay the same until 1999, then drop? Has it been a continuous rate change? Where's the support that it really is a "downward spiral"?

Second, lacking from TFA are actual numbers and places.

Is this the IT market globally, including countries like India, China, Russia, and others? Or is this the IT market in the US? Or perhaps just the San Jose area? Or just Arkansas where the school that ran the survey is at? How many women? Has there been an increase in the number, just less of an increase relative to men? Or has the total number stayed about the same, or dropped? What are the women doing? Are they including women employed as secretaries and managerial operations within the IT business? How about men similarly working in IT companies, but not doing IT? What about the people not in the IT business but doing the work for small companies?

Given the (lack of) data we are shown, their conclusions are not really warranted.


The "overall effects"? I'll tell ya... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908608)

... the RE-GEEKIZATION of the IT field. Can only be a good thing. Take the power back from the suits.

Why is this a concern in and of itself? (4, Insightful)

squarooticus (5092) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908615)

I really don't see why people get overworked when statistics like this come out. Is there anything really wrong with the concept that there might be inherent differences between men and women that would account for something like this? Or will I be modded down like Lawrence Summers effectively was?

widening gap (1)

Alien Being (18488) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908625)

Harvard President Lawrence Summers could not be reached for comment.

IT is becoming a commodity (2, Interesting)

imsmith (239784) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908627)

I think what it means is that Information Technology is, from the point of view of a company that isn't writing code, making hardware, or providing connectivity, a dead horse. The corporate world doesn't need in-house geeks soaking up the payroll and hoarding the sacred knowledge of esoteric, arcane legacy systems that don't work.

That equates to corporate IT being a pre-capped stove pipe within any given non-tech company - something women who are looking for good paying positions with the possibility of advancement aren't finding attractive. It may be that they aren't drawn naturally to the "me geek, me play with cool toys" life, but that life has limited applicability outside of the tech sector. Why would anyone intentionally choose to enter a career track that leads to becoming the digital equivalent to a cafeteria server or a janitor?

Until someone comes along and changes the landscape of Information within business (and society) to something that more closely approximates electricity - Information Utility - there won't be any truely good reason to get into anything but the super creative core disciplines of IT in a shrinking number of tech firms that are charting the course for the future of business computing.

Because women constitute both a more observed and a smaller population, trends will appear sooner in their group within the IT world as a whole. I think they are leaving because it's smart to be leaving this particular ship if you aren't in a position to steer a new course.

IT as a long-term career (3, Insightful)

pocari (32456) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908628)

The article asks readers to imagine what would happen if a woman took a two month maternity leave during which an enterprise software update happened. That would be stressful, and suddenly her skills would be obsolete.

If IT remains a field where the only relevant knowledge is what you've done in the last two months or two years, then it makes no sense for someone to spend a career on it. Kids are coming out of school (in schools around the world now) with the latest programming languages. If a short absence from IT means you are less valuable than a recent graduate, then it makes sense to leave the field after an absence. Women are more often forced by circumstances like having children to make more mid-career decisions like this than men.

In other professions, there are skills you use and tools you become proficient at over the course of many years. It seems that these either don't exist in IT, or (as I believe) they do exist, but are rarely developed or valued. If returning to IT is as difficult as starting over in a new profession, we shouldn't be surprised that people choose to do so.

That can't be right!?! (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908629)

According to the article, women made up 41% of the I.T workforce in 1996.

No, that can't be true. Women are afraid to enter IT, that's why we have school programs encouraging them into IT, which is clearly a male dominated field.

Didn't you read this article? []

Why is it a concern? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908638)

If women are choosing to leave IT I don't see anything to be concerned about unless you're a single male who only meets women at work. In which case, it's not really concern for the women, is it?

Why should I be concerned about this?

The effect (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908645)

The effect is that it is pissing me off.

How is a nerd like me supposed to find a date now. To most women, I am an Antisocial gomputer geek, but to a woman who is as nerdy as me, I am a god.

This is truely a shame for all of us computer knowledgeable dateless wonders out there.

As a woman... (2, Insightful)

geeksgirl (745700) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908646)

who has a husband that works in IT, here are my general observations:

My husband's working hours are 8 to 5, yet he's never home before 6 (and that's on a VERY quiet day).

When he's on standby he gets calls all times of the day, night and weekend and has had to drive to work in the middle of the night because a server is down.

And when he has a major project to work on he works even more overtime then he normally does.

Now, I don't have kids (yet) but if I did I don't think I'd cope with the erratic nature of his IT work environment. Kids have school and activities that run to a schedule, you don't get to chop and change that at will. And babies, well, they have a schedule all their own.

I am lucky, I have a husband who does more than his fair share at home, but are other working women (especially working moms) that lucky?

It's no surprise then that IT is not that appealing a career choice for women, but it has nothing to do with their talents and abilities. Rather it has to do with the inequalities in our social systems (as opposed to the work place) where women are still expected to put family first while men put work first.

Maybe women are not as interested in IT as men? (2, Insightful)

polemistes (739905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908648)

It's time to consider, without discriminating men or women, to see that there are differences between them as individuals.

We should fight for equal rights of women and men, that we should all have the same credit for the same work. But we should not decide that just as many men must do the same thing as women, or that there should be just as many women as men at every workplace. That's an artificial ideal. Women and men have different dreams for how they want to live.

However, I have always found it more stimulating and interesting to work in an environment with a balance of both sexes. If some workplace attracts mainly women or mainly men, one should perhaps see this as a problem with the workplace, not as a problem with what women or men generally want to do with their lives.

Re:Maybe women are not as interested in IT as men? (1)

giginger (825703) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908671)

I agree with you wholeheartedly. It seems that in this leap for equality they've forgotten the major point which is to give people the oppurtunity to do anything no matter what sex, colour or handicap they are. Jobs aren't going to the best qualified to do the job now they're going to the person who'll best fill their quota for equality. I don't know why IT attracts more men than women but it's a simple fact that it does, why is it such an issue?

I wonder if.. (1)

eastshores (459180) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908650)

A correlation between when IT started booming in the mid 90's with the demographic of women and men placing themselves in the field, and perhaps the now born children are resulting in mothers choosing to stay home?

That isn't to say that there should be a preference, but it's just something to think about when looking at a decline in women in IT. I have seen it go both ways with my friends. Some find a Nanny, and some make choices to sacrafice their career.

Reasons enough (1)

Diabolical (2110) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908659)

Most women in IT back then (96) were attracted for the y2k problems and were relatively young. A lot of them are now getting to an age where they choose for raising children and look for a job with less stressfull and more steady hours (ie 9 to 5 or parttime jobs) of which there aren't alot of in IT.

In the case of Carly (1)

demachina (71715) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908672)

"While this is certainly a concern, what are the overall effects of such a mass departure?"

In the case of Carly Fiorina all indications are the effects are overwhelming positive. Though rumours were circulating she might be tapped by the Bush administration to lead the World Bank [] , or a similar position of great influence, continuing the Bush administration policy of promoting incompetence. not clear if Carly has a clue about economics though she does have degrees in business administration. She does grasp the one principal apparently most important to todays business leaders and politicians, ""There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore,"

The article isn't clear if this exodus is U.S. only or globally. If its U.S. only perhaps its just an indicator that women are more astute and more career and survival savvy. IT is NOT a good profession since the bubble burst unless maybe you work at Google. I suspect most of the people who cashed in on the bubble were more the con artists than the IT professionals anyway.

Let's hop in the way back machine and remember John Chambers last year [] prognosticating on the future of IT in America:

"China will become the IT centre of the world and we can have a healthy discussion about whether that's in 2020 or 2040."

"What we're trying to do is outline an entire strategy of becoming a Chinese company," Chambers said.

There is great irony in American business and political elite bragging about the superiority of "Freedom and Democracy", "Free Markets" and Capitalism as they rush to embrace a Socialist Dictatorship and transfer most of America's wealth there. The routinely point out China's education system is superior, labor is firmly controlled and oppressed so they have a "disciplined" work force, every aspect of their markets, including their currency, are heavily manipulated. They also routinely implement massive trade barriers which are requiring companies like Cisco and IBM to transfer massive numbers of jobs, capital, market access and intellectual property to China in order to gain access to Chinese markets which are decidely not free.

There is great irony in this hypocrisy. Its pretty obvious America's business and political leaders dont want "Freedom and Democracy", they want dictatorship, manipulated markets, and cheap, oppressed labor. Since its difficult to retrofit this system on the U.S. at this point it appears they are just moving all their wealth where such a system is already in place.

Here is a quick summary [] of the new U.S. economy. Bottomline is if you want to have a future the career fields you want to be in are:

- Business administration
- Marketing
- Service jobs that can't be outsourced and where you aren't competing against illegal immigrants

The long term future in business administration and marketing is open to doubt once the Chinese and Indians have reached the point they no longer need their American partners (i.e. after they've learned the markets, once American markets collapse due to the fundemental unsoundness of the current U.S. economy and they possess all the production capacity and IP).

All in all its become pretty apparently American politicians, business leaders and shareholders are selling their own nation down the river in the name of short term profits and their personal wealth. It appears likely the U.S. economy could be collapsing and the stock markets would still flourish since most large U.S. companies are rushing to globalization that they can probably continue to be profitable even if the U.S. economy is deteriorating. Stock markets are most probably riding a wave of improved profitability from exploiting cheap Chinese labor and goods. Globalized American companies can flourish while America does not.

You have to wonder if all these wealthy business and political leaders will eventually flee the U.S. when it declines in to a poverty stricken third world country or will they just retreat in to enclaves, gated communities where they can revel in their wealth in peace while the rest of the countrymen are starving, like most third world countries.

Seriously? (2, Funny)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908678)

Both of them?

Everyone needs to get out of IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11908679)

It belongs to India now
(It's not like your job was worth the $100,000 a year you thought it was.)

The overall effects? (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 9 years ago | (#11908690)

what are the overall effects of such a mass departure?"

Not such attractive working environments? :)

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