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Berners-Lee Challenges 'Stupid' Male Geek Culture

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the here-here dept.

Businesses 693

ZDOne wrote with a link to a ZDNet article discussing some comments made by Tim Berners-Lee on the discrimination women face within 'stupid male geek culture'. The respected developer expressed frustration at a culture that would 'disregard the work of capable female engineers, and put others off entering the profession.' From the article: "'It's a complex problem -- we find bias against women by women. There are bits of male geek culture and engineer culture that are stupid. They should realize that they could be alienating people who are smarter and better engineers,' said Berners-Lee. Engineering research facilities that interview candidates based only on how many papers they have had published also risk adding to the problem, according to Berners-Lee, because of an apparent in-built bias against women."

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693 comments

What about stupid fashinista culture? (4, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700065)

I get discriminated against by stupid, pretty female culture a LOT more than women get discriminated against by stupid male geek culture. I am willing to be that most geeks feel the same way.

You want a cease fire? Fine. start playing fair with us and we might play fair with you.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (5, Insightful)

ccccc (888353) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700175)

So... your premise is that the pretty, stupid female community is the same as the capable, skilled female engineer community? Does the set of "male" gets subdivided into "geek" and "non-geek" but all women just go under "women"? I'm not either female or what would be called a feminist, but come on. Someone needs to work with more women, but I guess that's probably the crux of the problem.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (5, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700331)

I think his entire point is that geek culture is far from having a monopoly on stupid sexist ideas of gender roles.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (1)

grassy_knoll (412409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700679)

Someone needs to work with more women


Or, perhaps, different women?

The crux of TFA seems to be "geek culture keeps out women who don't fit in". In that equation, I'd say culture is more important than gender.

For instance, I work with a woman who does Oracle DBA work. She and I have much more in common than the business systems analyst a few cubes down. Neither of us have much in common with the HR types.

Of course, a lot of this depends on how you define "geek culture". Neither of us like hentai tentacle pr0n, for example. ;)

What About: +1, Incendiary (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700185)


Blatant war mongering [whitehouse.org] ?

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (3, Insightful)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700263)

I get discriminated against by stupid, pretty female culture a LOT more than women get discriminated against by stupid male geek culture. I am willing to be that most geeks feel the same way.
In both cases, the 'culture' is a set of rules that one follows - or does not. This enables a person to make predictive judgements about someone else. If you don't follow unstated rule #1 now, they can conclude with some accuracy that you will not follow rule #n later.

For example, if you don't complement her on something that she is wearing when you first see her, she correctly concludes that you will have no future interest in a number of other silly things that are important to her. ( This, BTW, save you both a lot of heartache. Trust me on this. Go for the women that like using their brains. )

Geek culture is the same way. The stupid jokes weed out people who won't make good engineers.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (2, Funny)

cez (539085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700447)

Geek culture is the same way. The stupid jokes weed out people who won't make good engineers.


You insensitive clod, I make stupid jokes all the time... doesn't make me any less of an engineer:


What did the farmer say when he lost his tractor?




Where-ahs muh tractor!

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700541)

I'm not saying that there is a cause-and-effect relationship, rather that there is a correlation. And that that correlation can be used predictively.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700491)

Where do you meet the women who like using their brains and also aren't concerned about the petty frivoloties you mentioned?

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700599)

> Geek culture is the same way. The stupid jokes weed out people who won't make good engineers.

To wit: the difference between a stupid sexist joke and a stupid geek joke is that the stupid geek joke is funny even with the genders reversed.

An engineer, who has spent the evening out, is caught by his wife trying to sneak into his house early the next morning. Saying that he has something to confess, he tells of meeting a woman in a bar, drinking too much and winding up going home with her.

"You shit," his wife screams, "you've been working late in the lab again!"

Anyone who thinks that's a "sexist" joke isn't a good engineer, because they've never experienced a problem so engrossing that they'll spend all night trying to solve it. An engineer (well, one lucky enough to get the opportunity!) might feel guilty about cheating on his/her spouse... but never about spending a night at the lab!

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (2, Informative)

mbeans (1082073) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700273)

I get discriminated against by stupid, pretty female culture a LOT more than women get discriminated against by stupid male geek culture.
Help, help, I'm being oppressed!

Women interested in IT face a hostile environment that discourages them from participating. While I'm of the mind that they should grow thicker skin, let's be honest, they're facing a lot more obstacles than you deal with as a pasty male geek with no fashion sense.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700533)

While I'm of the mind that they should grow thicker skin, let's be honest, they're facing a lot more obstacles than you deal with as a pasty male geek with no fashion sense.

Perhaps, but the countless "Women in Computing" and "Women in IT" free rides that are offered do little to change opinions. It's a vicious cycle of stereotyping, overcompensating, and then more stereotyping.

Obstacles are for climbing over, and most women chose not to do so.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (5, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700575)

they're facing a lot more obstacles than you deal with as a pasty male geek with no fashion sense

Really? I'd contend that pasty female geeks with no fashion sense fit right in. The pastier and geekier the less resistance they experience.

Its the pretty people that face the obstacles. But those are the same obstacles us pasty geeks (male and female) with no fashion sense run into when we try to get jobs that favour the beautiful people. How often do you see a pasty geek hosting a restaurant? Anchoring a news team? Modeling swimwear?

I'm not saying its right, and I agree it should be changed, but its a bigger problem than just the 'geeks reject women'. Its that discrimination still occurs at all levels and between all segments of society.

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (5, Funny)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700729)

How often do you see a pasty geek Modeling swimwear?

A lot more than I would like, damn it sucks to be the only photographer for pasty geek swimwear weekly!

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (1)

kc2keo (694222) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700287)

I hear you... I get discriminated a lot by the pretty girl popular crowd culture. Maybe its because I wear clothing that says

"I'd rather be compiling" (T-Shirt and bumper sticker)
"emerge system" (T-Shirt, hat, and bumper sticker)
"/. hat"
:)

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (1, Redundant)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700307)

An eye for an eye, and pretty soon the whole world is blind...

I hope you see the irony in your blatantly sexism, conflating the shallow fashionistas with ALL womankind, including the non-shallow, potentially brilliant females who people like you are driving out of the industry. Just cause you've been discriminated against by someone, doesn't make it okay for you to discriminate against anyone you like!

Way to be a negative example!

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (1)

aafiske (243836) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700485)

Your honor, I would like to present exhibit A of Male Geek Stupidity...

Re:What about stupid fashinista culture? (1)

aldousd666 (640240) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700677)

haha, well I know you might find it hard to believe, but you cannot mathematically prove that you should get more respect from the type of women who care more for looks and braun (and money) than they do brains... It can be frustrating especially when some of them get similar job opportunities in some cases even if they are not up to the task because they are required to fulfill some quota... I don't think that means all pretty women are only hired for affirmative action, there are lots of genuinely capable, intelligent ones out there, but if they aren't they're harder to fire for that reason no matter what their skill level because of lawsuits. Surely they experience some degree of discrimination, and something needs to be done to make sure that the unfairness doesn't wholly disadvantage them, but I don't like the idea of not being able to fire someone working for me who cannot to the job and replace them with someone (of any sex or calibur of personal appearance) who can. But such is the way things are. I dont see a 'cease fire' forthcoming until women start using skillset check lists instead of 'hotness' to determine their 'preferential treatment' of attractive/powerful guys either.

Ah, so... (1)

nevali (942731) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700079)

...he's read Slashdot, now, then?

Re:Ah, so... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700323)

Mr. "nevali".

Sir, as a grammar Nazi, I'm very offended by your language. Please, I suggest you use the preview function next time according to the Standard Slashdot Nazi Treaty, or fill a 500 word essay with a proper apology to the whole community.

Sincerely yours,

-- Anonymous Coward.

When I greet new female engineers... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700087)

Hey Jiggles, grab a pad and back that gorgeous butt in here.

Re:When I greet new female engineers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700119)

A fellow Stephanie Miller fan! Howdy!

Oblig Family Guy (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700547)

Gloria Ironbox: The filing's done, Mr. Griffin.
Peter Griffin: Thank you, Miss Ironbox.
Peter Griffin: You are a valued member of our business team.
Peter Griffin: And I will give you a raise tomorrow if you come to work without a shirt on.
Gloria Ironbox: Mr. Griffin!
Peter Griffin: I'm sorry. That came out wrong. Let me try again.
Peter Griffin: Nice ass.
Gloria Ironbox: You haven't heard a word I've said!
Peter Griffin: Now that's not fair. I've heard everything you said.
Peter Griffin: There's some subtleties to the rules that aren't so easy to understand.

(jiggly) Female Engineer (1)

FozE_Bear (1093167) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700639)

I for one, welcome our new (jiggly) Female Engineer overlords!

Culture is as culture does (4, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700105)

When are we going to realize that some fields are shaped by the people they attract? How many people have sacrificed a weekend out partying to rebuild a Linux cluster? How many women want to sacrifice cute outfits to sling greasy wrenches under cars all day? I'm not saying there aren't lots of awesome women in IT (I've worked with them). Yes, there's discrimination, but in IT I chalk it all up to a field that practically demands a certain type of personality.

Personality, not gender. (3, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700153)

Don't confuse the two. There is nothing personality-wise that isn't shared by both genders.

On the other hand, he does kind of skip over the other professions that also discriminate against women. How about the military?

You can't separate the two completely. (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700291)

Err, whilst there is nothing personality-wise that is displayed by one gender and is found nowhere in the other, there are definitely traits more common in one than the other.

Males are more likely to take risks and indulge in competition (testosterone does that). It's just a fact of life.

I don't know if that behaviour is linked to liklihood to be good at software/IT, but it's a perfectly valid example of a personality difference between the genders.

Re:You can't separate the two completely. (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700423)

Tell that to my step-daughter, after she frags you for the 450th time in Q3TA, that males are 'more likely to take risks and indulge in competition.'

Females have testosterone, too ya know. Just like you have estrogen. (It's true! Look it up!)

Re:You can't separate the two completely. (5, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700493)

Tell that to my step-daughter, after she frags you for the 450th time in Q3TA, that males are 'more likely to take risks and indulge in competition.'

You don't understand statistics, apparently. Just because your step-daugher is the exception to the rule, does not make her the rule. In general, males are more likely to take risks and indulge competition. For ever fragging step-daugher out there, there exists 100 step-daughers playing with their barbie dolls and EzBake ovens. (I know. I have a lot of cousins).

Re:You can't separate the two completely. (1, Troll)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700569)

males are more likely to take risks and indulge competition.
And this is the only reason males have on average the better jobs: They are more likely to take risks. When woman whine that they are oh so discriminated they manage it perfectly to blend out all the males who took a risk, failed and landed in the gutter. A place where predominantly men are found.

Re:You can't separate the two completely. (1)

king-manic (409855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700763)

And this is the only reason males have on average the better jobs: They are more likely to take risks. When woman whine that they are oh so discriminated they manage it perfectly to blend out all the males who took a risk, failed and landed in the gutter. A place where predominantly men are found.

Thats because there isn't as much demand for male prostitutes. Because a woman who has failed at life for any reason ends up as a prostitute while a man ends up as a bum. The prostitute is a step above the gutter.

Perhaps I will tell your stepdaughter (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700605)

Maybe she'll understand what "traits more common in one than the other" means.

You obviously didn't.

Re:Personality, not gender. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700419)

There is nothing personality-wise that isn't shared by both genders.

This is wishful thinking. There are significant biological differences that have an affect on personality traits. While it's true that any particular individual can have traits more commonly found in the opposite sex, there are clearly divides between men and women. Men and women are different. Deal with it instead of living in denial.

Also, did you actually mean "gender", or did you mix it up with "sex"? Genders are social constructs, sexes are biological constructs.

Re:Culture is as culture does (3, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700367)

Women who are already sacrificing to pursue a computer interest run into problem after problem.

See the book Unlocking the Clubhouse [barnesandnoble.com] for real-life experiences of hundreds of students at the highly competitive CMU. There are many obstacles, none a deal breaker in itself, but it adds up to the death of a thousand cuts.

CMU's CS program lost many hard-working enthusiasts, for a variety of reasons, mostly cultural.

Re:Culture is as culture does (1)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700475)

How many people have sacrificed a weekend out partying to rebuild a Linux cluster? How many women want to sacrifice cute outfits to sling greasy wrenches under cars all day?

Way to base your argument on your conclusion. The assumption that girls would rather keep their "cute outfits" clean than work on cars, is a cultural assumption. It's a cultural norm that can (and should) change (yes i'm skipping over the argument why it should change, which i'd like to think in modern society i can take for granted). The question you should ask yourself is a) what can you do to change the norm and b) what are you doing to reinforce stereotypes like these (suggestion: posting comments like the one you just did ;) )?

I don't think willingness to sacrifice social life for an interesting problem is something male nerds & geeks have a monopoly on. And again, it's damaging to these sorts of discussions to assume so.

Re:Culture is as culture does (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700651)

a) what can you do to change the norm and b) what are you doing to reinforce stereotypes like these (suggestion: posting comments like the one you just did ;) )?
I think your suggestion might also be appropriate for addressing a.

I mean how do you change something if it's not ok to even point it out.

Re:Culture is as culture does (1, Insightful)

gad_zuki! (70830) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700505)

Exactly. Im getting sick of all this politically correct hand-wringing. Most geeky jobs especially IT means:

1. Lots of time taken up by emergencies, on-call, etc.
2. Getting down and dirty: pulling wire, moving equipment, etc
3. Never having a typical office job.
4. Limited opportunities for growth.

What women would want this? Women in general are more social than men and more concerned about status and looks. IT is the worst place for them. I know women who are just chomping at the bit to leave the field because no one told them this. The PC types just wave their hands and say "EVERYONE IS 100% THE SAME!!" That advice has lead to so many people unhappy with their jobs. TBL tellng people the problem is sexism isnt helping either. Explaining the realities of the job should be the #1 priority for people on the fence about getting into geeky careers.

Article thin on details (4, Informative)

radarjd (931774) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700123)

Wow, the article has basically no more information than the summary. It doesn't tell us what "stupid male geek culture" is, or what the objectionable elements of it are. It's hard to have more than an emotional reply when the article contains so little description of what is actually wrong...

Re:Article thin on details (1)

happyemoticon (543015) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700267)

The author of that article has apparently never taken a journalism class. Reading that article, I don't know when he said it, why he said it, in what context it appeared, or even whether it was printed or spoken. Furthermore, the author doesn't clarify what Tim means by "stupid" at all, or provide any examples. You could illustrate it with two bullet points:

  • Tim thinks geeks are stupid
  • Girl-on-girl action

I have all sorts of things I could say about the subject of women in technology and discrimination, but I just refuse to do it here because of the appalling lack of substance in the article.

Re:Article thin on details (1)

jamsessionjay (802511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700329)

Ah, you must be new here. Let me be the first to welcome you to Slashdot!

Total Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700135)

not lies but utterly useless brain fart.

I find fault with this statement (3, Insightful)

dctoastman (995251) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700139)

"which could lead to greater harmony of systems design"

Being male or female neither enables nor disables the ability to create harmonious systems.

Re:I find fault with this statement (1)

jpfed (1095443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700583)

But a larger talent pool could help, no?

We know (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700143)

"'...They should realize that they could be alienating people who are smarter and better engineers,' said Berners-Lee."

Last thing we need is smarter and better people. How're we supposed to keep our job?

This Berners guy isn't very bright, is he.

Tim Berners-Lee is a dude! (0, Troll)

guysmilee (720583) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700151)

Tim Berners-Lee is a dude why the hell would I care what he has to say about women in the office ... maybe he's a sensitive 90's guy ... or maybe he just has nothing to right about!

Re:Tim Berners-Lee is a dude! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700209)

He's trying to get laid.

Re:Tim Berners-Lee is a dude! (2, Funny)

lucifig (255388) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700339)

He is just trying to get some action from the new receptionist.

I've Suffered From It Other Places Too! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700171)

The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has called for an end to the "stupid" male geek culture that disregards the work of capable female engineers, and puts others off entering the profession.
I know! It's so STUPID. You know what else is STUPID? The fact that even though I'm a balding fatass computer programmer with acne, I have been rejected time and time again as a fashion model to walk down the runway. What the hell? I am just as capable--if not more so--than those sickly disgustingly thin women. It's this STUPID mentality that ruins the fashion industry!

And don't even get me started on the 'construction' industry. Try working as a woman there!

What good does it do to bitch about something that is inevitably going to occur somewhere regardless of the profession or sex?

Publications (1)

cephalien (529516) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700177)

Basing -any- major decision heavily on publications is dangerous -- but it happens in a lot of disciplines. Whether or not the publications are any good is often overlooked, just as long as you've generated something in a journal. I've known good solid smart researchers who had half the publications of rather poor scientists (who were nonetheless better paid and higher ranking!), because those researchers chose to put out solid work instead of half-baked MPUs (minimum publishable units)

Dumb article (3, Informative)

StarvingSE (875139) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700203)

The very short article consisted of Berners-Lee saying that male geeks act stupid, and that causes women to not want to enter the field. It would be nice to have some examples of this so-called stupid behavior. You're always going to have idiots, both male and female. I don't think this is the rule.

I work as a software developer, and being male I am the minority. We have 3 men and 7 women on my team, and none of us act stupid. I would say most teams here have at least 50% women.

This sounds like ranting that has no factual basis what-so-ever. Don't bother reading the article, it contains no more info than what is contained in the summary.

Re:Dumb article (3, Informative)

geekgirlandrea (1148779) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700477)

I think that depends on where you work to a great extent. At my employer, I'm one of only two female programmers in the company. It's been like that pretty much everywhere I've seen.

Re:Dumb article (0)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700625)

I think that depends on where you work to a great extent. At my employer, I'm one of only two female programmers in the company. It's been like that pretty much everywhere I've seen.

A chick on /.? A/S/L?

( the above was meant to be humorous when taken in context with the linked article. I, in fact, have no interest in knowing the above poster's stats, as it were. )

Example of stupid behavior (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700783)

The very short article consisted of Berners-Lee saying that male geeks act stupid, and that causes women to not want to enter the field. It would be nice to have some examples of this so-called stupid behavior...
I agree that the article is very short on specifics, so I'll try to supply one. And I'll offer my guess as to why it works

Here on slashdot, there is the stupid running joke about "In Russia [noun][verb] YOU" It contains an implied sentence "you [verb][noun]". For someone to compose such a joke, or to understand it, they must understand the rules of grammar which are very useful in programming computers. Futhermore, if somone understands the joke, and likes it, we can infer that they like the mechanics of tranformational grammars and are therefore comfortable working with them regularly.

In summary, from one idiotic joke, we infer that they have some of the skills and interests that make for a good programmer.

Gee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700211)

They should realize that they could be alienating people who are smarter and better engineers,

No, they're not. Women are better at breast feeding. Men (real men) are better techies.

Meh (3, Interesting)

faloi (738831) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700217)

I'm willing to bet that people working in high tech fields without a four-year (or more) degree face more discrimination than women with a four year degree any day. The playing field isn't about who can actually get the work done these days, at least not everywhere.

That doesn't make either right, obviously.

Re:Meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700621)

I'm willing to bet that people working in high tech fields without a four-year (or more) degree face more discrimination than women with a four year degree any day.
So you're equating the inability to get a degree (which most certainly DOES show something about the individual) with sexual discrimination.

I'm speechless.

If you don't have a four year degree, you can go get one. (And you should - it proves you can stick with something through to completion, and proves a certain baseline of intelligence.) Women don't exactly have the option to become men during the work day.

Re:Meh (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700797)

And what about discrimination against people with low IQ's? No one talks about that.

"Sir" using "Stupid" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700221)

It seems as if he intended his "article" to be flame bait by using the word "stupid".

i'm confused (3, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700225)

Engineering research facilities that interview candidates based only on how many papers they have had published also risk adding to the problem, according to Berners-Lee, because of an apparent in-built bias against women.

I don't get it. is the task of writing papers inherently biased against women?

Re:i'm confused (1)

geekgirlandrea (1148779) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700531)

From the article:

One academic went through a sex change, submitted the same papers under both identities, and found that papers were accepted from a man but were rejected when they came from a woman, said the web inventor. This bias is unaccountable, but adds to institutional bias, he said.

That sounds an awful lot like bias to me.

Re:i'm confused (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700691)

One academic went through a sex change, submitted the same papers under both identities, and found that papers were accepted from a man but were rejected when they came from a woman...

That's certainly more commitment to testing a hypothesis than I've ever displayed!

Re:i'm confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700537)

Keep on reading the article.
"One academic went through a sex change, submitted the same papers under both identities, and found that papers were accepted from a man but were rejected when they came from a woman"

The article isn't very clear on this point, but there have been studies showing that if you submit the same CV, with same # of papers etc, under a male name or under a female name, then the hiring committee will be more impressed by the male. Which is very silly.

Of course there is no "built-in bias" in the # of papers statistic alone, though... the article phrased this really stupidly!!

Score! (2, Insightful)

businessnerd (1009815) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700231)

He's just saying that cause he wants to score. Geeks have a hard time meeting women on their terms. He just wants to turn it around so that they meet on "geek terms".

Biology or Bias? (1, Interesting)

Runesabre (732910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700265)

I think what is commonly pointed at as male bias against females is really just biology.

Males are naturally aggressive, looking for whatever advantage they can to get the upper-hand and conquer.

Woman are naturally passive, looking to nurture and keep the peace, often times at their own personal expense.

One style is no better or worse than the other.

Women entering any competitive environment need to realize that if they feel there is a bias against them it is because they allow there to be one not because they are being singled out and discriminated against as women.

Men treat all competitors equally; if they think they can dominate you then they will try to dominate. If they don't think they can dominate you, then they give you respect and work with you in a partnership. Unfortunately for women, navigating this kind of environment is often counter to their natural biology and inclinations so the common outcome is that women make easy targets to be competitively dominated. They aren't being singled out for being women; men treat other men the same.

On the flip side, men need to realize that most women don't enter a competitive environment with the same goals of domination and aggression like men do. Men assume that women compete just like men; to dominate and conquer their opponents. Men will often do things out of ego or to assert their authority regardless if that's beneficial for the task at hand whereas women work out of good faith and with the belief that everything they do is for the good of the group rather than the good of themselves.

Instead of pointing fingers and calling foul on one gender or the other, we need to start understanding and accepting the differences and motivations that influence each gender's actions.

Re:Biology or Bias? (2, Insightful)

Saige (53303) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700601)

Men treat all competitors equally; if they think they can dominate you then they will try to dominate. If they don't think they can dominate you, then they give you respect and work with you in a partnership. Unfortunately for women, navigating this kind of environment is often counter to their natural biology and inclinations so the common outcome is that women make easy targets to be competitively dominated. They aren't being singled out for being women; men treat other men the same.

Bullshit.

Research has shown that when a women shows the same behavior that is supposedly prized in men, than she's labeled a "bitch" and the like, and continues to be on the receiving end of discrimination, just of a different sort. The actions are the same, they're just perceived differently because of who they're coming from. Apparently, So as a result, it's damned it you do, damned if you don't.

I read TFA. (3, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700279)

According to Berners-Lee, a culture exists where women can be put off a career in technology both by "stupid" behaviour by some male "geeks", and by the reactions of other women.

This is news? A fairly closed off and socially inept social subgroup can turn off normal people from wanting to be a part of it?

Where are the tears for average guys looking to educate themselves receiving derision from holier-than-thou geeks? This isn't so much a gender issue as it is a problem endemic to geek culture: Perceived superiority due to an established knowledge base. You see the same behavior from informed body-builders, laughing at skinny people who express an interest in exercise but don't know where to start.

Re:I read TFA. (1)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700673)

[blockquote]You see the same behavior from informed body-builders, laughing at skinny people who express an interest in exercise but don't know where to start.[/blockquote]Umm, pick up the heavy things

Men and women (4, Insightful)

Raindance (680694) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700285)

This is a fearsomely difficult and touchy topic... for what it's worth, here's what I believe.

There is meaningful bias against females in parts of tech culture. There is also meaningful bias against geeks in parts of female culture, as gurps_npc notes. Doesn't excuse either bias. Gets into philosophical hierarchy/expectation/etc issues I suppose.

Some of the worst cases of anti-female bias I've seen have been driven by other females. I'm not sure what that means.

Men and women are socialized significantly differently.

Men and women are biologically different. There is meaningful evidence that men are simply drawn more strongly to technology (I'll phrase it in terms of interest, rather than aptitude, but that's another variable we should consider). Since men and women *are* different, we shouldn't necessarily expect males and females to be present in equal numbers in technology fields. But we shouldn't use sex differences as an excuse for anti-female biases.

We'd all benefit if participation in tech fields (as well as the rest of society) was wholly meritocratic. It's definitely not right now. I believe females do tend to get unfairly marginalized by some parts of tech culture.

I thought this [fsu.edu] was an interesting take on sex differences, which could perhaps be applied to explore differences of participation in technology fields.

Re:Men and women (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700545)

"philosophical hierarchy/expectation/etc"

Is it bad that I immediately wanted to `ls 'philosophical hierarchy/expectation/etc'` to see what the configuration for said philosophical hierarchy is?

Tim, your wife called ... (1)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700297)

... she said you can have your balls back now. :)

Re:Tim, your wife called ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700371)

AtomicPunk, your computer in your parent's basement called, it's eager for tonights jerk off session with its favorite 20+ year old virgin.

Total Anecdote but.... (2, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700313)

.... the female telecom engineers I work with are on a whole, worse & sloppier than the male engineers.

Reverse Reverse Discrimination (0, Troll)

Fierythrasher (777913) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700327)

So women face discrimation in the "Stupid Geek Culture"...does that mean that they are discriminated against because they don't like Star Wars, have a 40th level Orc in WOW, and played a Magic User with lame powers in D&D in the 80's? They don't know TSR from WOTC? They could care less how the terminator chip left in 1984 was tehn used to build the terminator itself? Um...Is this discrimination, or simply not wanting to be part of workplace banter? I worked in a fitness center for three years with the common conversations being about how much people bench, what their peak hart rates were, etc. Just becuase I didn't give a damn doesn't mean I was discriminated against...it meant it was the wrong group for me to try and interact socially with.

I feel I speek for all of us when i say... (1)

ttapper04 (955370) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700345)

I'm happy to talk to a women, let alone discriminate against her.

Not enough information! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700381)

Where does Berners-Lee say this and what exactly does he mean by "stupid male geek culture"???
It is difficult to evaluate his statements when we are given almost no details/explanations....

I feel it all the time (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Female (17974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700391)

I work for a fortune 100 company as a software engineer and I face this discrimination all the time. I frequently get this vibe from my male co-workers that they don't take what I say seriously. And then when I do great work, they all try to get their hand in the pot and take credit for things I did, which frustrates me to no end. A male co-worker actually got a promotion which seemed to me (from the little congratulations email went out describing all his wonderful accomplishments), mostly based on MY work. And did I get a promotion? Nope. And when I do, I'll still be at a lower level than most because my raise will be based on a percentage of what I currently make which apparently was pretty low compared to my male counterparts.

And then there's this whole thing all women have to deal with at work that being aggressive = bitch. And I feel like whenever I try to get other people's names detached from my work, my bosses don't take it seriously and have even gone as far to joke about it infront of other people!

And whenever I come to work dressed somewhat fashionably I get weird comments, not compliments, they are actually making fun of me I think. What the heck is that about. Sorry I'm not wearing wrinkled khakis and a wrinkled blue dress shirt like the rest of you slobs (we're corporate so don't do the jeans/t-shirts thing).

Yeah so the other day I was talking to a female in marketing at my company asking her what it's like there cause it's really not cool in IT.

Re:I feel it all the time (1)

Tanuki64 (989726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700499)

I work for a fortune 100 company as a software engineer and I face this discrimination all the time. I frequently get this vibe from my male co-workers that they don't take what I say seriously. And then when I do great work, they all try to get their hand in the pot and take credit for things I did, which frustrates me to no end. A male co-worker actually got a promotion which seemed to me (from the little congratulations email went out describing all his wonderful accomplishments), mostly based on MY work. And did I get a promotion? Nope.
Yada yada, I am male and something like this happened to me, too. So what? Do the same I did: Resign and look for a job where your work is valued. Must be nice to be female. Having an excuse for all problems and failures.

Re:I feel it all the time (1)

Anonymous Female (17974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700543)

See the thing is the job is pretty good otherwise, you can't really get fired, the pay is good, the benefits are great, and the stock options are worth alot. I have this feeling that no matter where I go I'd run into the same problems, so don't want to go to a lesser job and not have those nice stock options to cry into at night.

Re:I feel it all the time (1)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700585)

If you have no intention of leaving your job, or even putting any effort into seeing what else is out there, it has the effect of making your complaints seem quite hollow.

Re:I feel it all the time (1)

Anonymous Female (17974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700635)

eh, honestly, money > getting proper credit for work. I work to live, not live to work. I like my condo, car, and all my toys :)

And plus I have no reason to believe it would be different at any other company. Was the same at my last job too, but that one didn't pay very well so I left.

If only women had a greater than 3:1 teacher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700395)

...advantage.
(sarcasm off)

Tell you what, get male-female teachers to parity, with role models in a wide variety of "not geek" fields, and perhaps women would have a greater chance in technology fields.

Hrm... (2)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700407)

So how do we quantify "stupid"? Knowing most of the dialogue to Holy Grail?

Bias or Flawed in general? (1)

protolith (619345) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700421)

"Engineering research facilities that interview candidates based only on how many papers they have had published also risk adding to the problem, according to Berners-Lee, because of an apparent in-built bias against women"

This idea of interview based only on the number of papers published is more likely to overlook qualified and talented people, not from some "gender bias" that sees fewer women getting published, but because it creates a bias that seeks quantity over quality.

Just because some hack spun a whole bunch of papers off one good idea, he/she is going to get an interview, yet someone that has had numerous and significantly profound ideas but only published a handful of papers that covered the ideas will not get noticed. This is independent of gender.

Yeah, so stop saying biased things yourself (2, Insightful)

geekgirlandrea (1148779) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700435)

Berners-Lee said that a culture that avoided alienating women would attract more female programmers, which could lead to greater harmony of systems design. "If there were more women involved we could move towards interoperability. We have to change at every level," he said.

That seems like an awfully stereotypical and biased view of female programmers on the part of Tim Berners-Lee.

Perhaps it's a deeper cultural issue... (5, Interesting)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700445)

Seems to me, having been an IT director in the past, that the "bias" we see in IT has more to do with deeper cultural issues than anything specific to the IT industry, and could be applied to many hands-on fields, and even to your average corporation and management selection.

Our built-in selection criteria for "better" IT employees, which is cultural and psychological, is related to several factors. Dedication being one of the major ones that I used to look for. Because IT employees generally are exposed to so many concepts, ideas, and a breadth of knowledge that can be staggering, men, who are more likely (from a cultural and possibly genetic standpoint) to be willing to dedicate higher percentages of their lives to immersion in the culture end up being better employees. This isn't specific to the IT industry.

It also strikes me that being "adventurous" is definitely a plus in IT. The willingness to figure things out, to go way beyond the required knowledge, is something that lends itself to the male-stereotype of being adventurous and exploring. My old *nix admin used to "explore", by which I mean he build image after image, broke things, changed things, generally just messed with crap to see how it worked. This is a trait more in line with male psychology than female.

As someone who's responsibilities included help desk support, I was always looking for good female employees. Abusive users were far less likely to get beligerent with a woman than a man, and the problem I always faced was finding women with the skills, attitude and abilities to be a part of our group. We were a meritocracy. I had 11 people running an ISP, and there was no room for people who couldn't produce, who couldn't keep up, or needed to be directed. I never hired for experience (one of my best finds was a manager at a gas station who didn't own a computer the day he started; a month later he had build his own linux system (hardware and OS) from the ground up. I also had a woman who eventually became my help desk manager, as she was willing to learn, taught herself HTML, etc. She was good with customers and didn't have to be hand-held or babied.

While I understand what TBL was saying about publication issues, I think that the underlying factors in IT gender-bias are as much cultural and applicable to many industries, rather than just IT.

Bill

Re:Perhaps it's a deeper cultural issue... (1)

Runesabre (732910) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700777)

Nice post. Wish I had mod points. :)

I think women are better than that (3, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700451)

I don't think they need men or other people to make excuses for them. Women honestly interested in IT and have skills will make it. How about we work to remove the males from IT who don't have the skills to really be there.

Re:I think women are better than that (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Female (17974) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700501)

You can have all the IT skills in the world (which I do :P) but that doesn't get you into the old boys club.

Re:I think women are better than that (1)

Rycross (836649) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700623)

Being male doesn't get you into the old boys club either. I've found relatively shortly after graduating that success is, in large part, knowing the right people, or being able to establish connections with the right people. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has been a more valuable tool for me than my programming books.

Not to trivialize women who are having real problems in the work place, but a lot of women who complain about the "old boys club" don't seem to realize that its a problem for the men too. A highly talented male engineer can and will get passed over for a marginal engineer thats buddy-buddy with the boss.

Heck, I had to work up from a low position simply because I was recommended for a job by a friend, who was part of a consulting group that was not well-received by project managers at the office.

Re:I think women are better than that (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700653)

I guess I am just inexperienced. I haven't yet come across any type of only boys thing in IT. I'm quite young, so maybe it has yet to occur.

Disregard for women's accomplishments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700503)

I don't know why everyone's suddenly demanding citations and evidence and stuff for this. It's not like it should be news to geeks that there's a huge misogynist streak in geek culture! We've had articles here on /. before on the subject, but I guess some people like to pretend.
  Heck, I've noticed this nastiness going back decades. I remember hearing fellow geeks back in the late eighties make snide remarks about how Dona Bailey "didn't REALLY write Centipede, Atari only gave her credit for it as a marketing stunt aimed at liberals and women's groups."
  That reminds me, Gamasutra recently did an excellent interview with Dona Bailey: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1659/the_original_gaming_bug_centipede_.php?page=1 [gamasutra.com]
  - mantar

Bias? Really? (1)

prxp (1023979) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700511)

Engineering research facilities that interview candidates based only on how many papers they have had published also risk adding to the problem, according to Berners-Lee, because of an apparent in-built bias against women.
I can't see how requiring a good publication record is in any way a bias against women. That requirement applies to anyone, regardless sex or gender, and it's gonna be an unfair burden to anybody who is starting her/his career (or a fair one for people who are just plain mediocre).

I may agree that this requirement alone might not be enough to select the best professional, but everybody suffers with that, not just women.

Come on, let's not bias the bias!

Discrimination? Where? (1)

Weslee (1118943) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700523)

As an employer of programmers, admins, and basically all-around geek jobs, I deal with a lot of resumes.

Maybe one resume in 30 or 40 is a women.
This to me is actually a large improvement.

When I first started years ago, if I got one women in 100 resumes it was considered amazing.

To me, the rate of women entering the IT section has very much improved from where it used to be.

I don't see any discrimination, I see lack of interest.

We hire both designers and IT.
The rate of good male resumes applying to be designers has actually dropped in my company.

We hire less women for IT positions because less women apply.
We hire less men for design positions because less men apply.

With that said though, as noted above, the ratio of women applying for IT positions has, at least in terms of my company, significantly increased.
I don't see there being any problems, I see it getting better.

And on a personal note, I couldn't be happier -

Uber-nerds here are not the most hygienic, and we have a lot of programmers that could really learn a thing or two in that area.
Having women around, the office actually smells nicer.

Not because of any female perfume, but because the men are actually taking showers now.

Just human (1)

pokerdad (1124121) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700567)

There isn't a job field of any size that does not have its own culture and a tendency to make those who don't fit the culture feel like outsiders (regardless of their ability to perform the job). It may not be right, but it is human.

There is a big difference between XX and XY (5, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700581)

I am not your typical Male Chauvinistic Pig and I consider myself quite broad minded. (cut out the snickers, boys, it is not that kind of broad). It is reasonable to expect equal treatment, and equal opportunities in all fields. But it is unreasonable to expect equal outcome.

Men and women are completely different in behavior. First realize that 80% of our ancestors collectively are women. Yes, 40% of males who ever lived died without producing an offspring. The Y chromosomes that survive today did so by using completely different strategy than the X chromosomes. No matter how successful, attractive, dominant, creative a woman is, she can't produce more than 5 or 10 offspring in her lifetime. Very dominant men typically marry more than one wife and produce easily more children. What it means, statistically is, the subdominant Y chromosome does not get to breed.

Upshot of it is, that Y chormosome takes more risk, it produces more variation. On both ends of the spectrum. It produces brilliant mathematicians and horrible criminals. TBL should ponder on the fact that 85% of our prison population and 85% of the combat troops are also men. XYs form shallow relationships over a very wide network. XXs form very intense relationships in a much smaller network. Men went out in expeditions and ships and joined the armies and 40% of them died without ever producing an offspring. Men form groups and their hostility is directed outside the group. Females form small cliques and their hostility is directed to other members of the clique. The X chromosome does not have to take that much risk to realize much of the potential maximum of 5 or 10 offspring.

So TBL might rave against unfairly denying opportunities to women or discrimination. But to expect 50% of the nerds to be women, it ain't gonna happen. Much as I would like my daughter to be a scientist or a programmer, she is likely to end up as an academic in a soft science.

Re:There is a big difference between XX and XY (1)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700809)

> Upshot of it is, that Y chormosome takes more risk, it produces more variation.

Read your post again and ask yoursef: might I have an extra chormosome?

Or maybe I'm just not getting what expeditions, ships and armies have to do with pasty nerds in lab coats doing calculus, watching Star Trek and eating Doritos. How are hard scientific or technical disciplines "risky" from an evolutionary perspective? You kind of gloss over that part in your post.

Stupid geek culture (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700749)

I don't think geeks directly hold it against female engineers who decide to skip happy hour and don't hang around for the after-hours LAN party. Its their choice, just as its ours to hold and attend those events. The folks who skip those events miss the socialization that results in better teamwork, and that's also their choice. And if anyone wants to initiate other team social events that they like, I'll support them 100%. Heck, I enjoy picnics, camping and all sorts of activities that someone else makes the effort to organize.

But don't tell me I shouldn't hold the weekly quake deathmatch because it might alienate the female engineers. That's a load of crap.

You know what... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700753)

Over my 25+ years of being a software developer I've worked for many different companies in both the US and several different European countries and I can truly say that I've not EVER personnaly experienced any workplaces where female software engineers weren't treated at least as equal as male software engineers.

Actually what I have found is that most if not all companies I've ever worked for trip over themselves to ensure female software engineers do get given at least equal breaks, so actually females can end up getting better treated than their male counterparts.

I've also met several women engineers that even though they're actually being treated at least equally still think they are being treated worse.

Its also common to see female engineers get more recognition after actually achieving less than other unrecognised male engineers just apparently because management want to avoid any chance of being accused of discrimination.

More women (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20700765)

I don't really see where he gets the idea that there's discrimination. Most of the male geeks I know would love to see more women in the tech fields. Of course, that's not because they like diversity so much as it is because they're lonely.

It's interesting to me (1)

Supergood-ape (959376) | more than 6 years ago | (#20700787)

That adding "culture" to a group of people seems to allow for blatant bigotry.

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