back to article The gender imbalance in IT is real, ongoing and ridiculous

Over the past few years it has been my delight to serve as a judge with Young ICT Explorers, an annual competition of primary and secondary age kids who put their heart and soul into some often very impressive IT projects. After every event I come away seriously impressed with the skills of the next generation. I judge the …

Page:

  1. Lusty

    The problem has nothing to do with the IT industry. It's true that we get fewer women applying for roles, but it's certainly not the case anywhere I've worked that it's a male environment or misogynistic in any way (UK based). Perhaps it's different in your locale, but here the problem lies squarely with the 20 or so years leading up to entering the workforce. There is still far too much gender bias while growing up. Why do women wear dresses and men don't? It's because parents dress up little girls because they look pretty and then reinforce that by telling them how pretty they are. This and many, many examples like it lead to girls having different preferences than boys. Disney is a prime offender here, telling the little princess that her job is to find a prince. Fast forward to working age and it's no wonder that women don't fancy the lifestyle that goes with IT. Long hours in the deepest darkest corner of a building for low pay. Women have been brainwashed from birth to prefer caring work such as teaching and nursing while men were brainwashed to prefer power, challenge, difficult. There is no natural preference, so if your little girl decides not to get a job in IT it's your own fault, not the fault of the industry.

    For the record, I know more women in IT than I do female lawyers, and I worked in the legal industry for many years.

    1. xerocred

      I do not agree preferring pink is not the reason.

      Researchers have found even at 1 day old baby boys look at mechanical things more than 1 day old baby girls - the choice was faces or things. YouTube - The Gender Equality Paradox, Norwegian with English subtitles.

      Like gay people are born that way, not made by bias.

      I will not urge my 4 year old son (or anyone male or female) to do Engineering or IT - why? cos it can be outsourced to low income countries, ever changing technology that you have to keep on top of and compete with cleverer graduates Interesting for a while yes, but a long term career, no.

      No, I will implore him to become a doctor or lawyer and to specialize. But he likes Lego and everything he builds is symmetrical and fragile and is described as a flying thing, so what can I do? Dress him in pink flowery things?

      Disclaimer: I am an male engineer for which I make no apology - 1 female out of 65 males on my EE course, she did power engineering IIRC.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Maybe women are too sensible to do engineering...

        I'm an engineer, my wife is a lawyer and earns double what I earn.

        I earn less than 17 years ago too ($ for $ not even accounting for inflation).

        She has not expressed an opinion that she regrets not being an engineer to me.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I couldn't have said it better myself.

      Yes a gender imbalance does exist.

      No it does not exist because everyone who works in IT either hates women, doesn't take them seriously or conspires to keep them out of the industry as part of "The Patriarchy". Or at least this is my experience in the UK.

      If you want more women in tech, you have to get them interested in tech. The girls I work with are completely self-reliant, proficient at their job and have a passionate interest in their field so I'd like to think that I'm to be forgiven for believing that some of the people who complain the most about this issue don't really have much of an excuse. All too often I get the impression that the idea of male-dominated fields being misogynistic and keeping women out is perpetuated mostly by people who want to blame their personal shortcomings on society at large and by self-loathing male "feminists".

      Sometimes I think that IT staff and employers are attacked so much over this issue purely because it's easier to beat down a bunch of quiet geeks and force companies to adopt quotas than to take on big marketing corporations that force feed pre-determined hobbies and interests to boys and girls.

      At the end of the day, the world of technology is a meritocracy and many of the people who work in IT understand this and agree with it. Everybody has to prove that they are worthy of the job they want. To give preferential treatment to anyone just because of some myths regarding "cis white male privilege" is unfair to the people who work themselves to the bone in order to succeed.

      tl;dr you want women in tech, get women interested in tech because moaning at us about how bad we supposedly are does nothing to help anyone and will only serve to alienate people from the field.

    3. virhunter

      Something along these lines has to be the cause of it because there are so few women in any IT courses at colleges or universities. This tells me they are not even considering going into the field, so all the promoting of women in IT is not going to close the gap.

      With contraversies like donglegate and groups like the Ada Initiative (claiming to advocate for women in IT) censoring talks at conferences, I'm surprised there isn't open hostility to women in IT. I wouldn't mind seeing more women in the field, but if so many of us already in the field run the risk of losing our jobs because some over-sensitive, over-emotional (in a way that even the worst misogynist wouldn't dream of) woman gets her panties in a bunch over a joke, maybe things should stay the way they are.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not just IT

    Not to take away anything from your point, but I think it applies to anything that can be seen as technical or engineering. I know nearly 10 car mechanics. All male. I don't think I've ever met a female one.

    They keep talking about the fact that we need to attract more girls to STEM* subjects, so I think this probably applies in [most of|all] those areas.

    *Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths.

    1. Lusty

      Re: Not just IT

      As I said above, you can't attract women into STEM subjects if everything leading up to that point was brainwashing to create a preference against such things. The commonly held belief that girls prefer pink is a prime example - surround someone young and impressionable in pink for 10 years and tell them they love it and they will likely prefer pink. Just as computers were considered "boys toys" in the 80s don't forget girls were being given easy bake ovens and baby dolls in pushchairs as "girls toys". The workplace is complete as far as gender equality is concerned, the next steps are society and parenting, and articles such as this one are just distracting from that truth.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not just IT

        " [...] surround someone young and impressionable in pink for 10 years and tell them they love it and they will likely prefer pink."

        A friend had two boys and then a girl. As each reached their early teens they were provided with their own PC in their bedroom. When it was the girl's turn for that step - a new PC was set up in her bedroom as a surprise for her, When she entered the room her eyes went wide - and she exclaimed "Zomg! - it's pink!". The event is fortuitously recorded on the webcam that was running at that instant. Yes - it had been painted to match her chosen room decor. However - she never expressed any technical interest - and anything technical she automatically assumed was impossible for her to understand.

        That was a family where both parents and her brothers were interested in technical things. However - peer group pressure accounts for much of a child's development.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Not just IT

          You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink - no matter how much the other horses are drinking.

          If you want more women in STEM then start dressing them all in shapeless blue overalls from birth and give them testosterone injections and cutting their hair short and not giving them the option to study art or music, not dolls just weapons and meccano and car engines. Maybe you get a few more engineers, but you'd have a hellofa lot more miserable young women, young men and parents.

          I was good at French and German - but I dropped them like a hot brick as soon as I had the option. I just wasn't interested. Do I lie awake at night wishing I had done French and German - NO! I've only had to say 4 words in French in my whole life so the 3 years of study I consider an utter waste of time.

          Is there an army of women out there that wish they had continued to study A-level Physics Maths and Further Maths instead of English Biology and Chemistry? I don't think so - but let's hear from some who do.

        2. Amorous Cowherder
          Flame

          Re: Not just IT

          "However - peer group pressure accounts for much of a child's development."

          So very true. A battle we're fighting right now with my own daughter. Our daughter had Barbie when she was young but was always way more interested in the cars you could get for them. The most played with toys while she was young was her garage and cars and her LEGO! She loved building houses and cars. Despite having messed about and worked with computers for close on 35 years ( since I was 7 years old! ) I tried to gently persuade our daughter to take up more technical subjects but she was never that interested. However she loves the more traditional science subjects over maths and english, and for the last 2 years she's talked of nothing else but desperately wanting to be a vet.

          This is where it's starting to become harder. She's in 2nd year at Secondary and none of her school mates like biology, they can't stand the idea of cutting up fluffy animals and inspecting the insides ( be honest neither do I ) but my daughter loves biology and chemistry. She loves getting to understand the nitty gritty of what makes us all tick inside. All the kids in her class think she's weird wanting to be a vet, some have called her a freak for enjoying biology and the hard part is convincing my daughter to stay true to her dream of becoming a vet. We're always talking about the work, what she's been doing and even though she's only 12, already showing her the websites and requirements she'll need to get into the Royal Veterinary College. Taking her to zoo, behing-the-scene days, farm yards. Anything to keep that dream alive.

          I don't want her dreams crushed by morons who can't see that some people do have dreams and want to pursue them. Peer pressure is a battle you have to fight by proxy, a hard fight.

      2. Matthew Taylor

        Re: Not just IT

        You seem very sure that we would all be equal if only women weren't "brainwashed" during their childhood. Isn't it possible that statistically women tend to make different choices, and that this difference is innate, rather than the result of some patriarchical oppression?

        1. Lusty

          Re: Not just IT

          I never said women were brainwashed, I said all children are conditioned. You took that to mean that I thought girls where I clearly said boys and mud too.

    2. 142

      Re: Not just IT

      Exactly. It depends on the role not the industry. There are a ton of women in the music industry for example. But none are sound engineers at a high level. In my ten years or more in the industry, I haven't met one in woman in a professional sound engineering context. Managers, musicians, songwriters, stage managers. Yes. TONS. But none in a senior engineering role.

      Music tech colleges generally have an 80:20 split between guys and girls on entry. Almost invariably, they end up focusing on the other areas I outlined - less on the tech.

      My own thinking is that there needs to be a fundamental change at school level.

      We need to somehow stop the situation where girls willingly accept help from boys to solve tech problems for them.

      Teaching sound engineering, and having studied IT in college, I've witnessed countless situations where the girls never learnt how to problem solve tech for themselves. You'd never see a guy allowing another guy to do everything for them. And absolutely never a girl help a guy. This showed itself right from day 1.

      Yet, it was far more democratic when it was book learning, as opposed to practical. They'd form balanced study groups and all help eachother.

      So, I'm not sure whether it's the case of:

      A/ the guys being overly enthusiastic "knights in shining armour", or

      B/ guys subconsciously don't believe that girls are fundamentally capable of solving these sort of practical logic problems or

      C/ if it's the case of girls finding it easier to get through life playing the "damsel in distress" card, or

      D/ the girls have been conditioned to believe they can't figure out this kind of thing.

      E/ another reason?

      Either way, I found it so frustrating to witness intelligent girls simply not learning because of this.

      I'd be very interested to hear a female perspective on this!

      1. Stacy

        Re: Not just IT

        To be fair I think a through c are all probable. I knows spoilt little rich girls who just expect people to do everything for them because they are pretty little rich girls. That doesn't help...

        I've also had guys trying to be knights in shining armour taking over to help me when all I wanted was a second take on a problem (though I have also been guilty of doing that to guys too :-P)

        And I have had a lot of guys who rather than help me just took over as they thought that I was incapable (which annoyed the hell out of me).

      2. AbelSoul

        Re: Not just IT

        I haven't met one in woman in a professional sound engineering context. Managers, musicians, songwriters, stage managers. Yes. TONS. But none in a senior engineering role.

        Music tech colleges generally have an 80:20 split between guys and girls on entry. Almost invariably, they end up focusing on the other areas I outlined - less on the tech.

        I attended a Sound Engineering course 3-4 years ago and there was one woman in a class of ~30.

        OTOH, one of my favourite live music venues in town here has a female resident sound engineer.

      3. DropBear
        Facepalm

        Re: Not just IT

        I'm pretty sure it's mostly "C" coupled with a corresponding amount of "A". I've seen countless times in life that people always end up playing to their strengths - relying on them, developing behaviour with those at the center; one of the most striking such patterns is that people not needing to do things for themselves just never learn to do them - it's just much easier to rely on one's ability to get other people do it for them. And before anyone objects, I've seen this applied by men just as well as by women - although admittedly male instincts toward women are an easily exploited target and form the bulk of such behaviour. If people like you, they tend to offer their help, and you tend to grow up learning to rely on that - as simple as that.

        The other side of the coin is that this is just a generalization - specific individuals, male or female, will learn whatever they are interested in: I have seen women in IT that couldn't have been kept out of it even by sharks with lasers. But they are the exception; a lot of women actually just don't seem to enjoy the sort of challenges IT tends to offer so they stay out of it - if you want proof just stroll up to someone and try explaining to them the last problem you faced and how you solved it (if sixty seconds later she's still around you, you're either looking at a unicorn or she really likes you). Like it or not, that's not going to be less true just because someone has a chip on his shoulder and some windmills to fight...

      4. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Not just IT

        >But none are sound engineers at a high level.

        That's not entirely true. Women producers and engineers make up around 5% of the industry. So they're rare, but they do exist.

        >We need to somehow stop the situation where girls willingly accept help from boys to solve tech problems for them.

        Maybe women simply don't find tech very interesting? They certainly don't seem to get myopically obsessed with it in the way males do.

        Thing is, to most of the population tech is a dull incomprehensible world full of dull incomprehensible people, and programming is mostly drudgery, punctuated by management abuse.

        When women can become doctors, lawyers, or architects relatively easily, why would they want to be engineers?

        I'm always baffled that STEM careers are sold as if they offer a promotion from 'just being a girl'.

        "Yes we know you have ovaries and like Barbies, but if you learn C++ and GitHub you'll be all better."

        The reality, in the UK at least, is that many STEM jobs are relatively low-status. If you're going to get a degree and aspire to be middle class there are better career paths to follow.

        Perhaps a lot of women are savvy enough to realise there are better opportunities elsewhere.

        Cultures that don't patronise people who get useful things done inexplicably seem to have a better record on equality.

        1. 142

          @ TheOtherHobbes

          Interesting arguments I hadn't considered.

          > Perhaps a lot of women are savvy enough to realise there are better opportunities elsewhere.

          I'm not sure I agree, but it's certainly food for thought.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Not just IT

      "All male. I don't think I've ever met a female one."

      An acquaintance in the late 1980s was an ex-naval mechanic. His daughter learned to strip and rebuild car engines with him. She later complained that no matter how good she was - her father never gave her any credit "because she wasn't a boy". He was socially conservative and chauvinistic to a pronounced degree - but probably not atypical of his generation.

      1. Benjol

        Re: Not just IT

        I know several men who have suffered all through their adult life because their fathers never gave them any credit. Because.. what? I don't know. That's just the way they were. They didn't DO praise in those days.

  3. Christian Berger

    Some women aren't helping it

    Here's an example of a "research project on 'gender inspired technology'".

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E5KhOKzIl_g

    That's not helping it at all. That's just showing idiots as if they were representing women.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nothing to do with Work culture

    Mark Pesce you are utterly deluded.

    You can't (for example) just simply decry a lack of ethnic Scandinavians in the Senegalese restaurant industry as sign of discrimination - there is an underlying reason for it that has nothing to do with prejudice.

    There are very few women in IT (particularly the hard-core types of IT - engineering, low level programming type stuff), because very few women have any qualifications or portfolios that will put them above the piles of men who might apply for the same job.

    Here is a simple test -- go online and just *Look* at the open/sample/uploaded code that people are making in their bedrooms. Nobody is paying them to do it, and none of them are required to seek permission to do it. Yet it is nearly all guys.

    We can't just drag girls in off the street and force them to be in the 'IT industry'

    A disclaimer -- My sister is a qualified programmer who is continually offered work and opportunities and makes decent money, because she is good.

    1. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Nothing to do with Work culture

      @AC

      "A disclaimer -- My sister is a qualified programmer who is continually offered work and opportunities and makes decent money, because she is good."

      Something I do notice is the difference in quality of male to female developer. The females I find are really good and interested in the subject to be there and so produce good results. I find males to be much more variable but numerous ranging from great to diabolical. I do not believe that women are just better at it than men just as I dont believe the other way around, but I do believe it has a lot to do with my experience through uni. All those wonderful adverts of quit your job and make your money in IT caused a lot of kids with no clue of what they want to do to take IT in various forms. My classes were full of people who went to uni to avoid getting a job (student loan is free money and let them drink and party) with very few who actually cared about the subject.

      My expectation is that the girls had their own choices of what to do without a clue and if my experience since school is at all representative there was a worrying number who's aspirations ended at getting up the duff early and being given a council house and free money. I do hope mine was an odd experience but I expect the many girls with no idea what to do will disperse to their own interests. I expect the vast sea of blokes in IT is down to them having no idea what they wanted to do and followed a herd.

      *Note: One of the guys in my classes would regularly ask extremely basic questions which at first got on my nerves thinking he didnt care about the subject like most of the people there. However after a while it became apparent that he didnt know much about the subject but was actually interested in the topic and I went out of my way (as did a couple of other serious students) to help him understand the classes.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing to do with Work culture

      I cannot explain why I have no interest being a doctor, a banker, or a biochemist; I just know that I have no enthusiasm to take on those roles. All those options were open to me and I was encouraged in those directions rather than turned against. It is not necessarily discrimination, lack of opportunity, or something which can be fixed, but perhaps simply that most women are disinterested in technology, engineering, programming and IT.

  5. smartypants

    I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

    Sometimes, such a thing is the simple consequence of a deep unfairness in society. Take, for example, the number of women with the vote 150 years ago. Or take the number of women who drive cars on their own in Saudi Arabia today.

    In these cases, it isn't the imbalance itself which irritates. It's the unfairness which explains it.

    When I look to IT - or at least the little corner of it that I inhabit in Blighty, I don't consider it another example of society being unfair. I don't see the mountain of women put off by things that Need Changing (tm).

    There's a lot of hand-waving about gender imbalance in certain corners, but not others. For some reason, IT has been singled out as something worthy of our attention. Presumably, nursing's rejection of men will follow later? (Please don't bother).

    The women in our organisation are few. But they don't have to fight any battles beyond the bug splatting. Their relative scarcity is entirely a product of the percentage of applicants being female being so small. There is nothing to fix at our place, and I suspect this is true of much of the UK industry and elswehere.

    The only way I, as someone who hires people, could fix this perceived 'problem' is to invite only women to new vacancies as they arise, or at least to heavily bias the selection process so that it operates largely upon gender lines rather than the judgement of the best person for the job.

    This is palpably unfair - just the sort of thing that annoys me about the real injustices that remain in the world.

    Why would I want to make the world a worse place for candidates on the basis of their gender? Isn't this precisely the sort of thing that we ought to be getting away from?

    In summary: No. I won't change our hiring choices. It'll continue to be on suitability for the job rather than chromosomal make-up.

    1. Stacy

      Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

      It isn't about discriminatory hiring practices to get more women into a team - that is just never going to work well, you should hire the best person for the job. It's about making the industry more attractive so that more women decide to educate themselves to be able to work in it and be that best person.

      Read the article again. Up until a certain point girls outnumber boys. After that something happens and they get turned off. Why? Could it be the comments about girls / women knowing nothing about IT (I am a development team lead for the largest online insurance comparison site in my country and I still get these 'jokes' said about me. I also get shocked reactions from sales people when they meet me and have been asked to prove I'm technical by one moron who lost the sale with that question). A woman in IT needs a thick skin, much thicker than a man needs in the same industry.

      It has nothing to do with parents telling their daughters they are pretty. It is about telling them that they can do whatever they want if they try hard enough. You can do both as a parent. One does not rule out the other.

      It is about encouragement and positive role models. It's about fanning a spark of interest that someone shows, rather than trying to put it out (I had that at school too - being told that I was aiming to high). Its about changing attitudes about women full stop (my grandmother cannot believe that I ride a motorbike - after all that is what men do!)

      And yes it works both ways, should a boy want to be a nurse then they should get the same encouragement.

      1. Lusty

        Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

        My comment about parents telling them they are pretty was a single example of the conditioning that all children are put through as they grow up. Look at any toy shop - there will be one aisle of "girls toys" and one of "boys toys" and that's a prime example of the change in young people. Yes, you can tell your little girl that she can do anything she likes, but give her an easy bake oven and a pram for her 6th birthday and her brother a console for his 7th and subliminally what did you actually tell her? Allow her brother to go out in the mud while she stays in playing with makeup and brushing her hair and you can tell her what you like but inside her head it's not that she can do anything. Even if you don't stop her going out and playing in the mud, what if all she has are those pretty dresses and her brother has ripped jeans - you think she's going to ruin a princess dress in the mud?

        Add to this the various media pressures both sexes face and you end up with a society that genuinely believes women prefer "women jobs" because they are genetically programmed to be more caring.

        What I'm saying is lay off the "unfair workplace" nonsense and start a campaign to actively push parents to be gender neutral to fix the root cause and the rest will sort itself out. Give the boys makeup and get the girls playing on their skateboards and for the love of $deity, keep them away from comics and magazines and make sure there's an even split of movies and tv shows.

        1. Stacy

          Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

          Did you read my comment about about the comments I get in my job? Yes, the workplace also needs attention. Notice I said also.

          I wear dresses to the office (except on those days when I know I'm going to be crawling under a desk - then it's jeans!). Wearing dresses does not reduce my intelligence. It reduces the respect that i get though - but I'll be dammed if I'm going to let narrow minded idiots determine what I wear or do.

          And I don't see why girl can't have the doll and the computer (my niece does), and she plays ruff and tumble. And with cars. And with what ever else she feels like playing with.

          Why do you think they should be mutually exclusive?

          1. Grifter

            Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

            Well Stacy as you can see from all the comments in this thread, there is no inequality or discrimination, and if there is there are multiple excuses listed in all these comments boiling down to basically it being the fault of women themselves.

            Sigh.

            1. Stacy

              Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

              @grifter: I've learnt not to expect better...

              What really made me shake my head was a comment that amounted to "give girls positive encouragement" and it was down voted nearly as much as up-voted.

              The fact that people ignore my experiences and proclaim that they don't happen, or that I should just have to put up with it are par for the course unfortunately.

              1. Grifter

                Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

                Sadly in our society it's all too easy to dismiss anything said by women, I mean look at the Cosby stuff right now, it took a man (Hannibal Buress), after decades of women not being believed.

                You shouldn't have to put up with this shit, and I wish you wouldn't have to.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

          "My comment about parents telling them they are pretty was a single example of the conditioning that all children are put through as they grow up. Look at any toy shop - there will be one aisle of "girls toys" and one of "boys toys" and that's a prime example of the change in young people."

          Don't you know any gay people?

          Gay boys will typically prefer playing with "girl toys" from a very young age regardless of all the cultural conditioning and resistance they encounter.

          Sorry to rain on your parade but boys and girls like different things and it doesn't always have to do with their culture and upbringing.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

            Don't you know any gay people?

            Gay boys will typically prefer playing with "girl toys" from a very young age regardless of all the cultural conditioning and resistance they encounter.

            Do you actually know any gay people? Or are you basing your argument on stereotypes you've seen on TV?

            The gay guys who like "girly" things are more obvious but there are plenty of us around who you wouldn't notice.

            The fact that some boys like "girl toys" contradicts your final paragraph quite neatly. Or are you trying to argue that gay men are actually women?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

              "The fact that some boys like "girl toys" contradicts your final paragraph quite neatly. Or are you trying to argue that gay men are actually women?"

              I'm sure you're being dense on purpose.

              Obviously gay men share certain traits with women, e..g, liking men. So why not other traits, like playing with "girl toys" when they are younger? Just because some things share traits doesn't make them the same thing. If you were a little less indignant I'm sure people would take your points more seriously, although I'm not sure if you're trying to make any actual points. (Gay men not being women isn't something that really needs to be argued.)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

                Obviously gay men share certain traits with women, e..g, liking men. So why not other traits, like playing with "girl toys" when they are younger? Just because some things share traits doesn't make them the same thing.

                All gay men share one trait with women, being attracted to men. Some men (gay, straight or whatever) share other traits with women, such as liking "girly" things. There's an overlap between those groups but I have no way of knowing (and neither do you) whether that overlap is large enough to justify your statement about what gay boys typically prefer.

      2. foxyshadis

        Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

        Most of the push is just impatience; the idea is that there is an injustice, and we must fix this injustice NOW. Since there's no way to go back in time to change everyone's upbringing, it falls on industry now to retroactively fix society's bullshit. The occasional instance of a wildly unjust and misogynist workplace is blown out of proportion to its real-life influence, and if anything that myopia only drives away women who'd be happy in most IT departments. (Well, as happy as any of us; IT is full of alcoholic clock-punchers. Can't say I blame anyone for avoiding it.)

        Unfortunately, it doesn't work out that way. Some social revolutions take time, and can only start with the new generation. This really shouldn't be news to anyone who looks at social dynamics.

        1. dan1980

          Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

          @foxyshadis

          "Some social revolutions take time, and can only start with the new generation."

          Which is why there is push to - as you say - "fix this injustice NOW".

          Change - real change - must be organic. You can help steer it and nudge it but you can't force it. If you try, you will get backlash and, while you can engage political spin mode and point to this isolated incident or that, you will not have actually achieved the goal.

          As with the gender pay gap, this will take a while. It that instance, most of the difference is due to more men holding the top-of-the-top positions, which pay extraordinarily well, and skew the balance.

          But those people are almost always 55 and over - usually quite a bit over. To see why, those people dominate and are able to skew the results, you can't look at things now; you have to look at things when these people were entering the workforce. At that stage, it was very sexist and these people have benefited from that, including the - 'old boys club'.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

        > Up until a certain point girls outnumber boys. After that something happens and they get turned off. Why?

        So it couldn't be adolescence then. Or is that a bit too obvious?

    2. Alfred

      Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

      " Presumably, nursing's rejection of men will follow later? (Please don't bother)."

      So sick of hearing this ignorant bullshit. Nursing has been trying to attract more men for decades.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I can't get excited about gender imbalance on this occasion

        >So sick of hearing this ignorant bullshit. Nursing has been trying to attract more men for decades.

        Yet remarkably, there doesn't seem to be a realistic claim that there are so few men because of sexism in the health service.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think our company has any issue hiring females into any role. (Our CEO is a lady of serious character and presence). The only concern I'd have is whether we pay them equally. From the few people I've had conversations with it doesn't seem like we do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      More likely the pay issue is aggressiveness, men are more demanding, hence they get more pay...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gender Imbalance

    Happens all over and on both sides. My daughter's primary school had entirely female staff; even the caretaker was female. A customer of mine who works at Lloyds bank told me that the entire branch staff ( a largish branch) were female. The HR department at a major corp I used to work for was all female - except for one bloke. So, if women don't want to sit in front of screens writing code, who cares?

    1. GrumpyOldBloke

      Re: Gender Imbalance

      Who cares? The war mongers and the bankers that's who! We can't send the men off to fight for some bankers profit or some politicians glory if industry immediately grinds to a halt because all the specialists were male. Similarly we can't just keep paying males to do stuff and not capitalise on the negative wage pressures that are possible from doubling the list of potential candidates. What do we do next? Despite the massive distortions that we have engineered through much of society to advantage females and discard the energy, risk taking and initiative of our young males we still cannot overcome psychology and biology for this glorious future of an xx slave labour force managed by right thought.

      Mark Pesce - if you want to lead the charge go for it. Give up your employment on the understanding that your position will be given to a women. Spend the rest of your days in righteous poverty knowing that you did your bit for the new world order. Please keep writing for the Reg to let us know how you are getting on and be sure to record that moment when the warm fuzzy feeling wears off and you realise you have been had.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gender Imbalance

      If people of gender A actually, genuinely don't want a job (stereo)typically seen to be usually done by gender B that's fine - I don't think anyone has a problem with that.

      However, if people of gender A don't think (for spurious reasons, like it being implied they can't without anything to back it up) they can/should do a job (stereo)typically seen to be usually done by gender B then that isn't fine. And somewhere along the line it seems that these biases are still being fed to children.

      Also, to keep hearing "there's nothing stopping women/men going into that profession, it's just that they don't want to" is a subtle reinforcement of the status quo. To a child it can make you feel odd or wrong for wanting to pursue a particular career path, or make you feel like some things are off limits. As adults, it's easier to throw off. As children and teens, it's harder as the pressure to fit in with your peers seems a lot greater at the time. Hell, it can have that effect on adults, sometimes, too. (And before anyone asks, the only example I'm prepared to mention explicitly is me (which means next to nothing given I'm posting as anon ;-) ), but I've had others say this sort of thing to me as how they feel)

  8. madmalc

    Marketing wasn't in it

    Back in the early days of the 8 bit micro no one in this line of business had heard of marketing - adverts for micros were completely amateur stuff mainly just describing the product (That usually wasn't finished yet). Techie stereotyping, not gender stereotyping! On my computing degree course there were about 35% females, some of whom were happy to flutter their eyelashes at the cleverer lads to get them to do their coding. Wherever I've worked females have had exactly the same pay. If you look at the Meyer Briggs personality types that suit coding you will find a lower percentage of them are female. My wife is one of those personality types, has a Masters degree in IT and wipes the floor with most of the males she works with.

  9. petur
    Thumb Down

    BS article

    When I was studying electronics engineering (no sign of IT focus back then, but electronics did have programming courses), there were maybe 3 or 4 girls in a group of a few hundred, so < 5%.

    Things have gotten better since then, but not so much, so I'm not surprised of the imbalance.

    If the facts were to show that there is an imbalance of unemployed IT workers (lots of unemployed female and less or none male), THAT would be an interesting fact.

    Want more female in IT? Get them interested and in the schools. But maybe you need to face the fact that males and females are DIFFERENT and have different interests.

  10. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    What

    None of what I have read matches anything of reality.

    It is also a delusion born out of feminist dogma to deny differences due to gender.

    It is also not a problem if there are professions that have a gender imbalance.

    Can we now close this dossier?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What

      "None of what I have read matches anything of reality."

      Like fuck it doesn't, you lying sack of shit. I look around my workplace; far more men than women. Every high-tech workplace I've ever worked in, the same thing. He said that, it's true, it matches reality.

Page:

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020