back to article Ladies put off tech careers by sci-fi posters, Coke cans

There's more research out this week on the vexed question of why there aren't more women in the field of computing and IT. According to the latest study, such seemingly harmless habits as putting up sci-fi posters or leaving cans of Coke about can be much more offputting than one might think. "When people think of computer …


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  1. lukewarmdog
    IT Angle

    junior what?

    They're letting unqualified trick-cyclists carry out psychotherapy now?

    The reason there aren't more women in IT is because men are inherently sexist. If you go for interview and the place is covered in coke cans and pictures of wookies then you're in someones basement and shouldn't accept that job.

  2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    We are clearly in the 21st century

    "The computer geek surrounded by such things as computer games, science fiction memorabilia and junk food," says Sapna Cheryan, a junior trick-cyclist at the university of Washington, America.

    "That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes."

    Only in the 21st:

    1) "Trick-cyclicism" is now a university course.

    2) There is a need to specify the landmass in which "Washington" resides

    3) An important trait of "masculinity" is being surroundes by games, Sci-Fi memorabilia and junk food

    1. Anonymous Coward

      the landmass in which "Washington" resides

      Not sure I see your point, unless it's that only an American would be arrogant enough to presume that Washington would always refer to a place in the US.

      The original place is in England, if you must know, although I had no idea there was a university there. I expect George's ancestors were originally from those parts, hence his surname.

    2. Cameron Colley

      I may be mistaken, but perhaps it's a joke?

      I think, perhaps, that the "Junior Trick-Cyclist" is, in fact a Junior Psychiatrist...

      As for where Washington is, last I looked it's in Tyne and Wear -- perhaps you require a geography lesson? We don't all live in a universe that started in 1592* and exists purely on the American continents.

      *Excluding Leif Ericson, natives et. al. fro the purposes of simplicity.

      1. Alan Newbury

        Location of Washington

        which is also a village in West Sussex - sadly no university

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Serves them right

      '2) There is a need to specify the landmass in which "Washington" resides'

      For all the times they stick a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the screen with the caption

      Paris, France.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You are not telling me men do IT!

    I thought it was the exclusive conclave of women. There is TCP Barbie, Stay at Home Ken, Tampoon with their 'I am Still Coding around the Painters Better than I Ever Did' slogan.

    No, shirley you jest, men don't do IT, it would boggle and baffle their little heads too much. IT is women's work, where women can be women.

  4. fords
    Thumb Down

    What a load of old shit

    Maybe women preferred the other room because it was tidier? I'm a woman in IT but I can't stand working in a messy workplace. I'm also not a big sci-fi fan either - oh noes, I'm not normal! Bring on the soft pastels!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      @What a load of old shit

      I prefer a tidy workspace too and I'm a man!

  5. Anonymous Coward


    ...let me get this right....

    They create a room full of sci-fi tak to prove that IT is nerdy, but adding coffee and nature makes things better.

    I actually have NEVER worked in a place with sci-fi posters or stupid little toys or heard of one, so not sure where this stereotype comes from, except by ill informed people in the media, so on this count she is right.

    Maybe the shite hours, putting up with moaning ********* and the lack of reward is more to do with it....

    1. Langalf
      Thumb Down

      That would be me, you insensitive clod!

      My office has Sci Fi / Fantasy posters, toys, and so forth ... I guess I must be the source of the stereotype, since you have never seen or heard of such a place :)

  6. Stacy

    Yes please...

    The chance to work in a relaxing, tastefully decorated environment instead of surrounded by posters for computer games?

    An emphatic yes...

    Did the stereotype put me off?

    An emphatic no...

  7. Steen Hive

    So they've demonstrated correlation

    But who is to say they haven't got the causality bass-ackwards?

    The reason geek environments are full of that shite is because the sad people that work there put it there!

    People that pursue careers in IT are likely interested in technology, manifestations of future technology (sci-fi) , gadgets blah,blah - those saddos that have a preference for My Little Pony artwork and Constable landscapes will likely fuck off and do media studies or something. It's the nature of the beast.

    "Jen, this is THE INTERNET"


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I didn't realise that MLP=Constable!

      So should I take my My Little Pony collection out of my 'geeky' IT office then? And here I thought they went quite well!

      Personally, I prefer the geeky atmosphere

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Speaking as a lady in IT...

    I'd be very wary of a non-geeky looking office.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The correct term...

    "That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes."

    The correct term here is not 'masculinity' but 'looser'.

    "A lot of men may also be choosing to not enter the field because of the stereotype" And this bring the question: did they asked "WHY" or just assumed that it was because of the stereotypes, not at all because of the worldwide crysis and the tendency of pay peanuts or offload the job to india, no eh?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Shurley Shome Mishtake?

      "The correct term here is not 'masculinity' but 'looser'"

      I think you meant loser, as in someone who deosnt win or are you expressing the opinion that IT workers are somehow looser (i.e., not as tight as some other professions?)

      Some tips for budding bloggers & commentards:

      Lose - to not win

      Loose - not tight

      Their - belonging to a person of unspecified gender. i.e. that PC is theirs

      There - placement. i.e. that PC over there

      Have - A word that should ALWAYS be used in a phrase like "the government should HAVE done this, that or the other" as opposed to "of"

      FFS people, it's just English

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        You're forgetting...

        'Crysis - a game you can't run on full'

      2. Anonymous Coward

        In my reply

        Obviously I meant to say doesn’t win, FFS it's only English :-)

        Petard, hoist own, yes, I get it :-)

        Fail for my own pedantry failure

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I thought that the stereotype also missed out:



    more acne


    limited sense of clothing

    flatulence (coke and fast food combinations along with closet vegetarianisms)


    dubious or non-existent personal hygiene?

  11. TeeCee Gold badge

    It's a slippery slope.

    "..... computer geek surrounded by such things as computer games, science fiction memorabilia and junk food,"

    Has it come to this? When I started in this business it was easy to spot a true geek in his lair. The desk was laden to the gunwales with half-empty coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays, you were able to cut chunks out of the air in the vicinity with a blunt knife to build a wall, and there'd be some arcane bit of COBOL, FORTRAN, RPG or such glowing in baleful green on the screen.

    It'll be *diet* bloody coke next.....

  12. zenkaon


    ..."my stack of disposable coffee cups is nearly as high as my monitor", he says looking around at the stacks of hardware (working and knackered piles) and large technical diagram of custom boards and FADC chips.

    Maybe I should clean up that coffee stain seeping through the unsorted mess of documents to my right and possibly hoover the crumbs out of my keyboard.....nah, I'll get on with writing some code.....

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They were offered a choice

    Meanwhile, in the real world, you take any job you can get.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Girly IT

    I agree, this is the sort of stuff they need

  15. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down

    It's pretty simple

    If you don't *want* a career in IT, don't have one.

    If you do, a few Coke cans and Chewbacca posters aren't going to put you off when compared to, say, working 8 hours per day, getting out of bed early to catch the train, etc.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Empty Coke tins and Half-eaten junk food lying about is just lack of cleanliness... and I severely doubt that it would be any different if it were Empty Wine Glasses and Half-Eaten Salad Bagettes.

    But more seriously, what on Earth does having Pastel Watercolours on the walls have to do with Tech work?

    SciFi memorabilia is a cliche precisely *because* the type of people that gravitate towards tech work tend to have (generally speaking, there are plenty of exceptions) similar tastes in books, TV, films, movies and games. I suspect it would be extremely difficult to find an IT workplace where a sizable proportion of the residents, for example, had never seen Star Wars/Star Trek and didn't have a Monty-Pythonesque sense of humour. (And probably, if given the option, they'd all jump at the chance to have a life size Chewbacca or Optimus Prime standing in the corner...)

    IT work is generally unattractive for the majority of the general public because it the traditional programmer/helpdesk roles are thankless jobs and require mastery of a large amount of otherwise pointless and boring information. Therefore, these jobs only tend to appeal to people who ENJOY mastering such pointless information. The kind of people who would quite happily argue with George Lucas to his face over whether or not "Han Shot First".

  17. Paul Hates Handles


    What's the point in dressing IT up so women'll join? If they're nerds, they'll join. If not fuck 'em. Regardless of gender they're either IT nerds or asshats.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "If they're nerds, they'll join. If not fuck 'em."

      You don't sleep with she-nerds, then...?

  18. Stef 4

    This is a title

    Presumably, when they interviewed women for the position of Garbage Collection; the rotting food, and overpowering stench, and working in the freezing rain, put them off? Hence the 99% male dominated garbage collection industry. If only those ladies had been interviewed in a room with a plant and a coffee cup, we could have finally had the 50/50 split the garbage collection industry so desperately needs.

    Woman burnt their bras for equality, and yet so few choose careers in garbage collection and sewer maintenance. We need to end the stereotype that these are dirty smelly jobs. Perhaps a crèche facility would improve things?

  19. Admiral Grace Hopper

    Er, no.

    It isn't the decor or the geekery that's off-putting, that's just the territory that we have to operate in, It's the rampant boyishness and casual sexism that get my goat. But that's probably just me being a humourless feminist, eh boys?

    Oh, mine's the donkey jacket - it goes so well with these Doc Marten's, don't you think?

    1. Stu Pid

      Er, no...

      "But that's probably just me being a humourless feminist, eh boys?"

      Yes, yes it is.

  20. GunstarVixen


    Is this actual scientific research?!! If people are getting paid to do this then maybe I should leave IT and go and throw on my lab coat and make up complete rubbish!

    As a woman in IT I don't care if the guys desks are full of coke cans and if we have 'geeky' posters on the walls then so what? I wanted to work in IT not a Laura Ashley showroom...

    1. J 3

      No...seriously you

      I'd suspect you would do yourself a favor if you refrained from speaking about things you clearly have no clue about. It's embarrassing. Nothing personal, same goes for most commentards above, by the way.

      "Is this actual scientific research?!"

      Just because you think you're good at rubbish it does not mean you can do it. You failed even here, for crying out loud. The report is NOT about science. It's psychology. Completely different type of endeavor -- although some psychologists sometimes do try to get the credibility of science by trying to "look scientific". They shouldn't. Hasn't worked so far, because it is too complex. They would do better sticking to what they can do than to pretend being scientists and giving everyone, including them, a bad name.

      Second, your insignificant anecdotes or opinions are completely irrelevant. Anyone with a minimum of scientific literacy knows that things like "but I am an X and I don't do Y" is not evidence. It's all about tendencies and general rules. A bell curve, for the sake of example; not everyone falls on the middle, but most do, and those are the one who get the most "votes". Who does not know that does better staying in IT, indeed.

      And finally, from what the article says and as I see it this research is valid in its field (which I'm kind of guessing, since I'm a scientist and not a psychologist or sociologist). And it's not necessarily about what is, but how people perceive it to be. THAT's what is the most important sometimes. It does not matter if there is no single place on real-life Earth that looks like the geek environment office described in the article; what matters is how people see it. Changing perceptions can be important, and to change them one has to first identify them. I would expect that something like that would be easy to understand by someone with the amount of schooling needed to be in IT. Maybe I "misoverestimated" you lot?

      You guys apparently don't understand humans. Nor do I.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    People our defence fields to repel stupid people are working! Continue the sterotype defence.

  22. gls

    What a load of balls

    I'm a girl software engineer. My desk is easily the messiest in my workarea, it's generally stacked high with old Diet Coke cans and lipgloss.

    Quite probably the type of women involved in the research aren't really the type of women who would thrive in IT.

  23. Anonymous Coward


    I have worked in IT for most of my adult life and while yes some guys in IT have a preference to guzzling coke/coffee and enjoyed some sci/fi I have never seen coke cans stacked high or had geeky posters up in any of the companies I have worked in.

    Heck, if I was able to be untidy and sit there geeking out talking about sci/fi and playing games all day instead of having to listen to people complaining their mouse is not working right or how their computer is acting "funny" I would take that job in a heartbeat!!

  24. Nick Davey

    Bad Science is Bad!

    I've worked in IT for my whole employment, it may be a mere 12 years but I have never been in an office/computer room where there have been stacks of coke cans and sci-fi posters. An IT manager I worked for came in once and had a barny that we had a Holly Valance calendar hidden away between desks out of sight of the general public because it was "smutty". She was fully clothed throughout. No environment I've seen fits the stereotypes presented here, all they're managing to qualify is that people with no interest in IT have even less interest when shown a workplace that has no resemblance to any office in the real world... bravo!

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Change the record

    It's about time they stopped trying to increase the proportion of women in tech.

    I have 2 nieces who are very bright and had the ability to do science A Levels, but preferred arts and ended up doing degrees in Art and Music.

    If women aren't generally attracted to tech, let them excel in subjects that really interest them.

    1. J 3

      That's right...

      "If women aren't generally attracted to tech, let them excel in subjects that really interest them."

      Yeah, that's right. They should stay in their places. KKK .

      (Kinder, Küche und Kirche, if you're wondering what the hell hooded nuts have to do with all this)

      I've heard there were good old times when them wimin weren't attracted to voting, participating in politics or generally working outside of home either. They excelled at what they excelled at, it was great. Why change?

      Just the natural way of things, right? Unbelievable...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        no u

        You have heard there were good old times when them wimin weren't attracted to voting? I think you haven't heard that.

        You read a comment saying that women don't belong in tech jobs? I don't think you did actually.

        1. J 3
          Paris Hilton

          What's that sound?

          That? That's just the sound of the point flying high above AC's head...

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Wedding planning

    As a blokey boy i would have liked to be a wedding planner but all the lace and flowers and candles and blushing women put me off, can the whole industry be changed so i can feel more at home please!!!

  27. Vanir

    @Stef 4

    "Woman burnt their bras for equality, and yet so few choose careers in garbage collection and sewer maintenance."

    Good point!

    Yet there seems to be no shortage of women from the affluent west choosing to enter the pornography industry. It's a funny old world!

    I'm fed up with maintaining rotting code mixed with the overpowering stench of management incompetence. Why would anyone want to become a software engineer / programmer these days?

  28. John Tserkezis
    Thumb Down


    People not trained or interested in computing nor psychology, are surveying other people who are also not in, nor interested in computing, whether or not they might be interested in computing based on environmental changes, even though they clearly showed they weren't interested in the first place.

    These trick-cyclist clowns aren't even qualified to ask "Would you like fries with that?"

  29. Rob Crawford

    Pastel wookies and half eaten images of nature

    I'd just be glad to work somewhere that isn't a fucking dungeon (and not the interesting sort either)

    The current office I work in has early 80s decor & furniture, but at least the 90s are only a few years away

  30. blackworx

    No, really, where do I sign?

    So all we have to do is buy an Art™ or two (of the random bland screen-printed nonsense on canvas wrapped round a matchwood-frame variety) invest in a few pots of brown and beige paint, bland everything up a bit and we too can share our workplace with a bunch of vacuous idiots?

    Please somebody - hold me back.

  31. Simon C

    Could it be simply down to primal attributes?

    Its often accepted that men are inherently problem solvers, and work in a logical format.

    Women are little more airy fairy, ruling by emotion and are inherently less prone to be problem solvers.

    These are typical primal attributes.

    They certainly are not exclusive to either gender, but may have a simpler way of explaining the IT divide.

    There are certain job classes that are dominated by women, Nursing/Caring for one. Other classes are dominated by men, mechanics, IT.

    I would just wish the PC brigade would get of its high horse of "must fulfill XXX quota of <choose differing party> to show we are a PC industry". Its a crock of horse manure.

    As someone said earlier , the job is what it is.., stop window dressing. The women who want to be in IT, will do it, regardless of decor, the men who want to be nurses will do so regardless of emasculation fears.

    I couldnt give two hoots what breed the person across the desk is, provided they can do the job, and are a semi-decent co-op/DM player.

    Other than that..

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I started...

    ...there were lots of women in IT and very few geeks (I can only think of one in my first job). They'd all followed the same route as the men: they were originally accountants.

    These days, IT is dominated by geeks. Girls geeks don't seem to fully embrace their geekiness until their 20s (as opposed to boys who start around 10) so they miss out on a proper IT education. This is why the majority of girl geeks are graphic designers.

    The geek / IT person divide still exists as can be seen in all the people above who have never worked in an office with toys, scifi, etc.

  33. Anonymous Coward

    Some hotties of the past

    and look, no coke cans!!!

  34. Anonymous Coward


    What is the obsession with this brown watery drink?

    I can't stand the stuff. The smell alone makes me ill. I've even tried forcing down a few cups going for the kill or cure method. Felt worse than any hangover I've had on booze.

    Many a book store has a coffee section. No more will I be thumbing the pages and smelling that new book smell unless I buy online. Shopping malls are becoming a no go area for me. I don't want to inhale costa's fumes. I shop like a ninja now. In, grab and go.

    As for posters. The only ones we have round here are work related anyway. No fancy prints or geeky posters to be found. Yet its all blokes apart from the odd secretary.

  35. Yorkshirepudding

    the IT crowd

    if my office was anything like the basement of reynolds Industries id be a much happier IT bod

  36. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    I have a massive poster of James T Kirk behind me

    although I've never watched Star Trek. I just like keeping people out of my IT cave :) I even have a pyramid of coke cans. This article could have been written about me.

    IT geeks are antisocial, shock horror news at ten.

    The HR office has pink fluffy pens and other girly tat, should I complain that it's too feminine? No, because it makes them happy.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    would love an artsy room

    truth be told, way to often IT rooms are either empty (maybe a couple of wallcalendars) or having too many motivational posters.

    I would love to have something artsy on the walls, like for instance grafitti and airbrush abstract models.

  38. Steve Swann

    We showed a female only group...

    ...around the set for the "IT Crowd" and then a real IT environment in a modern business before asking which they would rather work in.....

    I've been in IT for over 20 years and I've *NEVER* seen a working environment as the one described by this student psychologist. They are the staple of sterotypical thinking, and that folks, is as bad as saying "All women are bad drivers". It is no more true than "All techies are saddos/geeks/anaraks..." etc. etc.

    Various organisations, including those dedicated to so-called feminism have been battling for years to shed such lables, so I find it somewhat suprising when someone else comes along, and in the name of equality, tries to re-establish the same pigeon-hole categories.

    Stop it.

  39. Anonymous Coward

    What utter crap.

    As I type this, there are four cans of a certain habit forming liquid substance on my desk in various states of either unopened, being drunk or have given their lives so that I may continue with my work in full flow. **burp**

    In this particular IT office there are six females and four, very broad-minded males. (they have to be, simply to survive!!!) And ... no ... put that CV down as there are presently no vacancies. Just put it this way; when you consider this amount of PMT in one location, at one time ... you want to be ANYWHERE but here.

    1. Brutus

      he he

      did you ever get your gun licence?

      back on topic: that's a very odd M/F ratio. Is your work space pastel with Mopnet prints all around?

  40. Asgard

    Real social influences and failed researcher logic...

    People who are not interested in the subject of IT are already primed to dislike that subject. Therefore if you put them in a poorer environment, they are going to be even more disgruntled when asked about a subject they already dislike, but its not the environment that is causing their dislike of the subject of IT!

    So sales pitching the IT stereotype as the reason for people disliking the subject, is simply a poor attempt to draw attention to this flawed research.

    Also their research misses obvious social influences. For example lets face it, there are some in society who simply wish to make derogatory comments about IT. This is shown for example by the derogatory labels such as geek and nurd. (I know some try to embrace these labels as good, but its still often used in a derogatory way).

    The question then becomes, why do some in society feel the need to verbally hit out with derogatory geek like comments about IT. (The point is, what do they get out of using derogatory comments?). The answer is its a common behaviour of Histrionic Personality Disordered people. Histrionic people seek attention and so almost by definition, the act of seeking to become the centre of attention, is also to seek to deprive others of attention. Most people in IT have at some point in their lives experienced being verbally put down by Histrionic people. The reason this is important, in the context of this discussion on women in IT is the fact that the majority of women are more influenced than men in their daily lives by Histrionic people. For example the entire fashion industry is totally dominated by Histrionic people. The majority of women are relentlessly influenced to conform to the expectations of this industry. (In the fashion industry we again see this same pattern of derogatory comments, where people are berated for being unfashionable and so therefore the Histrionic repeats the pattern of putting down others whilst trying to show themselves as central and leading. Its a manipulation of people, centred around the need for attention. The majority of women are relentlessly under this influence, so is it any wonder that many of them try to avoid association with anything so relentlessly put down by the Histrionic people.

    (A person knowledgeable on a subject and starting to speak about their subject of interest is enough for a Histrionic person to seek to put down that person and thereby removing the attention from the knowledgeable person and back onto them. After years of practice Histrionic people get very good at manipulative and subtlety derogatory comments. Subjects such as IT and science are inherently domains that require years of study and as such more likely to be targeted by Histrionic people).

    Histrionic's influence on society is considerable because they seek jobs that give them attention. Turn on a TV and its an almost endless stream of Histrionic people. The whole main stream (superficial) side of the media industry is dominated by Histrionic people. e.g. Celebrity news, singers, actresses, fashion etc.. (Even many of the reporters in these superficial areas of the media industry are Histrionic as they seek attention through their work and they seek to be a part of that world of attention and they seek to hold up Histrionic people as role models).

    Therefore its hardly surprising with such Histrionic social influences that fewer women would want to be associated with IT. This is why the women who are in IT and science often show a self confidence to not be so influenced by the superficial concerns of the Histrionics.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    i was confused initially

    As there are far more women in IT where I work (UK company), however, there is a pretty solid divide.

    The majority of Women fall into the Business/systems Analysis roles, and the majority of the men fall into development/Architecture.

    In my specific team the developers are a 50:50 split, but the guys are definately more technically inclined, although some do completely through the stereotype (geeky female COBOL developer, who is really young and attractive)

    Just generalisations, but given the size of the IT department here, thousands of people, it's a pretty good one.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Their - belonging to a person of unspecified gender. i.e. that PC is theirs

    Their is singular in your first introduction of the word, and then takes on plurality by the end. This somewhat invalidates your i.e., and undermines your argument a little. But, don't let that stop you on your crusade for better grammar, or grandpa: ACs are not sexist.

    1. ElReg!comments!Pierre

      Untitled pedantry

      "Their is singular in your first introduction of the word, and then takes on plurality by the end. This somewhat invalidates your i.e., and undermines your argument a little."

      Plural? So yours is the plural form of your, too? A your, two yours? A her, two hers? That's one more subtlety of ye olde Queen's English I was not aware of. Damn, they were right, you never stop learning.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whose reality is it anyway?

    I'm a bit puzzled by reports of this mythical workplace of coke cans, sci-fi posters and smelly nerds: every IT department I've worked in has been a pretty normal office, not this strange parallel universe presumably also inhabited by wackos like Guardianistas and Daily Wail readers.

    If women don't want to work in IT, it's more likely to be because of the crap people management practices that are endemic in the industry. More fool the men for putting up with it.

  44. ElReg!comments!Pierre

    "Sci-Fi Posters" vs "Nature and Arts"

    I'm sure the average geek also posses a number of "artistic" posters, each more "natural" than the others. Not sure if putting them up on the wall instead of under the bed would appeal to ladies though.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Ah the job went to the dogs when we were barred from having the line-printer version of the topless women pinned on the walls.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In the direction of Asgard

    2010 - The year we take back what is ours :)

  47. Nusato

    BITE ME (pointless angry rant follows)

    You don't like my bookshelves filled with Shadowrun books side by side with the OOO programming books? Then have a hearty "F**K YOU" and stay out of IT.

    I didn't get a job in IT so that I could spend all f**king day listening to a pack of wild bitches talk about their damn hair. I got a job in IT so that I could have some connection with my co-workers, however tenuous (freaking WoW players, ENOUGH! Play a real RPG!). I have nothing in common with the backwater dimwits who want "nature" pictures on the wall and I don't want to.

    Also? I drink Pepsi. Regularly. And I have enough confidence in myself and my abilities not to need artificial reinforcement from a stupid motivational poster in the workplace. Of all the garbage research into "women" in IT this is the kind of thing that makes my blood boil. The reason those soft-skinned limp-wristed bitches don't work in IT is because they aren't any good at math, or science, or any kind of logical thinking. They don't understand computers, they want the world to be soft and fuzzy and to cuddle them.


    I DON'T WANT YOU IN MY IT DEPARTMENT. I do NOT want all the men that I've taught to respect my abilities to suddenly drop me down into the "encouraged women in IT" group. GO AWAY. When you get a pair and learn how to install a hard drive with your bare hands despite the long nails, you can come back and try again. Or if you max out your Rogue. Basically, when you prove you want to work in IT, you can come here. Otherwise, f**k off and leave me out of your stupid pathetic little enabling world. EARN IT IF YOU WANT IT.

    P.S. And stop trying to steal my romance novels. I use those plots for tabletop games.

    1. Misoriented

      A bit too far?

      It always pains me when I have to agree with somebody that does my side of an argument a disservice. As it is with Nusato. Much of what you say makes a lot of sense to me, but the way you say is somewhat less than optimal.

      Yes, a lot of IT guys are geeks. I'm a software developer, and I've been known to play some WoW and drink a carbonated beverage on occasion myself. I don't see how these things are any harm to anybody. In fact, I understand when you say that it gives me a connection to my coworkers, who often enjoy the same things.

      I'm also unclear why these "scientists" are always trying to figure out how to get more women in IT. What's the motivation there? It is really important that more women SHOULD be in IT? Who cares? It just seems like a pointless exercise. I guess when you have to "publish or die," you'll publish about anything you can think of.

      Also, this is just my experience, but the women I've worked with, in general, have not had the same level of technical abilities as men with a similar level of experience. I'm sure that's not true in other cases, but I've just never really been impressed by the female coworkers I've had. They've always seemed to be lacking something. Your mileage will most certainly vary.

      However, I'm not sure the anger is really appropriate. You seem to imply ("EARN IT IF YOU WANT IT") that women are demanding to be let into IT even though they haven't earned it. I'm not seeing that. They seem largely uninterested to me, and I agree with you that I'd rather not work with anyone that isn't interested in their job, so it's a win-win. They don't care to work with us, so we don't care to have them. Fine, we can just leave it at that.

      Have a beer. You sound like you need it. :)

  48. Int 19h

    Market glut

    While the study is interesting, the notion that we want to draw women (or anyone else) into IT is rather silly. I'm not aware of the figures for UK or Europe, but in the US there are a distinct lack of positions available for IT professionals. Unemployment periods tend to start at about six months and can go well over a year for an infrastructure geek who is between jobs.

    I'm happy enough to share my cube farm or server room or whatever with male, female, and of any race, but right now is NOT the time to be encouraging people to enter a market that presents a decided lack of jobs.

  49. John Dougald McCallum

    Piles of rubish on office desks

    If this is the scene at your desk ask your self this who sacked the cleaner?

  50. Bucky 2

    Round and round we go

    So my understanding of this study is that female non-geeks conform to stereotype X because male geeks conform to stereotype Y?

    And the conclusion is that if the men would stop conforming to stereotype, then the women would, too?


  51. TimeMaster T

    generic title

    "computer games, science fiction memorabilia and junk food,"

    "portrait of masculinity that it evokes"

    This has got to be the first time those sentences have ever been used together.

  52. Denarius Silver badge

    Another waste of electrons, but...

    The females I work with in IT, one tech, one wetware interface/web design, loathe "special " treatment. They just want to be accepted on thier merits.

    So why is it that non IT types insist on trying to tell everyone else on how to get more women in IT ?

    A sense it has status ??? hahahahahahahaha, never been employed by corporate droids, have they :?

  53. Goat Jam

    We had a female helpdesk tech

    She was lazy and boring as batshit*. Sat at her desk all day listening to her ipod. She wouldn't get into the spirit of things with the rest of the guys who really tried to involve her (I was a late entrant, she left a few months after I started) .

    Got some young guys to replace her and things are much more easy going now.

    The fact is, it takes a person with particular emotional/intellectual makeup to work in IT and in my 25 years I've met damn few women who make the grade. The one or two that did though, man were they awesome.

    * She did look damn good in jeans though

  54. Ammaross Danan

    @Nusato among others

    @Nusato (only for part)

    What a wonderful rant to read. Thoroughly amusing. Although there are some points I do agree with. It has been my experience that most women are simply not as interested in IT as they are in other "stereotypical" fields (I'm not listing them due to the obvious need for a fire-retardant line of fashion....). Throughout my schooling in computer-related courses, the head count was 1 (one!) female in the class. MAYBE. Similar thing for the math/science courses. Women in those courses (few as they were) were there due to a Major requirement (for medical sciences or somesuch *cough* NURSING *cough*).

    Why there is this trend has been the topic (or in this case, the side-effect observed) for many research attempts. I say attempts since they haven't really definitively PROVEN anything yet, have they? Except perhaps statistical analysis (funny ANAL is in that word...) has shown that more men are in IT than women...which is where stereotypes come from: percieved patterns in a group. If a pattern didn't exist, there wouldn't really be a stereotype for it (albeit an outdated stereotype). I'd like to see the more obvious stereotype of the "IT Geek" who has some form of caffinated beverage at hand (or recently disposed of, since we're not "slobs," as our mind-set doesn't allow it!), tasteful posters of interest (be it "natural art" that should be under the bed, an AMD/Intel poster of preference [but that's what the sticker on your PC/Mac is for...], or the sci-fi type poster [who wouldn't want the Movie poster for Core on their wall???]), and the obvious PILE OF MISC. CABLES that you have a nick-name for... These things, along with a healthy pile of computers in various states of life (newly minted and yet to be christened to being eaten by dust bunnies and other semi-solid quartermass animorphous lifeforms....) and fulfilling various roles laying about the office.

    Real IT people's offices look like someone actually does work in them. Perhaps women are too put off by the "mess" that you have no time to clean up properly before more is brought in? I know I would be [am, actually] at the very least daughted by the shear volume of work that needs to be prioritized and worked through. Maybe it's the pressure of never being "finished." At least in network admin/ support role....

  55. SisterClamp

    Letters and/or digits

    My desk is stacked with Linux distros on CD, catalogues, bottles of nail polish, USB sticks and a couple of nail files. It also contains 3 screens (2 lappies, 1 desktop, 2 of them running Linux, natch!). The rest of my home office contains another Linux lappy, an Enterprise model with light & sound effects :), an ST:TOS shuttlecraft perched on top of my polarised light lamp, books, 2 printers, blank CD/DVD spools, a digital frame that shows cool wallpapers I've collected along with pix of the family, and posters from Reservoir Dogs and Trainspotting. Oh, and a 5ft aquarium. It's dark and warm. Hubby's home office is bright, spotless and airy with the obligatory 3 machines as well on his desk as well. But the rest of it is clean, sparse, less humid and more pastel-y. Also, he likes pink. We're both in IT. Gads, I love stereotypes.

  56. deadlockvictim

    Social Norms at play

    I had always assumed that it was due to social norms unconciously at play. IT is a boy's world*, and women somehow feel uncomfortable moving into it. Similarly looking after children in a creche is a woman's world* and men (as a rule) feel uncomfortable moving into it.

    That being said, our head DBA is female and a (female) neighbour is an electrical engineer.

    Does anybody have any info on the uptake rates of women in IT in other societies (say France, Japan or Russia)? I'd be interested to learn if the reasons are purely social or if something more innate is at play.

    * more accurately phrased, 'is perceived to be a'

  57. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well said, Nusato!

    So women don't like IT, and it's the mens fault.

    We are not here to win a popularity contest. Working in IT is dealing with a steady stream of frustrations. If you are put off by coke cans or sci-fi posters, you might not be up to the rest of it anyway.

  58. JohnG

    Career choice

    People (whatever their gender) who alter their career choice based on what personal trivia their future colleagues may have around their desk probably aren't destined to get on with anyone in any workplace.

  59. Anonymous Coward

    pfff wtf is all this crap?

    posters?? Coke cans? I can't believe someone actually dropped trou and crapped on their keyboard enough to make this story.

    I've been in the job for 15 years and am sad to say the pay divide between genders is still rife in the I.T industry *THAT* is a bloody good reason why women wouldnt be interested.

  60. Alice Andretti

    Bad teachers vs good role-models etc.

    I still remember my high-school basic-electronics class, where the slimeball oldschool teacher had the class memorize colors of resistors by using a well-known traditional mnemonic jingle - this is the version that we were taught:

    "Bad Boys Rape Often Young Girls But Violet Gave Willingly"

    Not surprising that sort of attitude didn't attract girls in droves, for a variety of reasons including at least two flaws in the basic premises of the mnemonic itself. In that particular class, I was literally the only girl in a class of about 30 male students, which made me feel like a freak at first. The other students were cool (nice), just normal people, but some of the old-guard *teachers* had attitude problems and they tried to pass on their worthless/harmful attitudes to new generations. (I guess I went to bad schools, up until college anyway.)

    I stuck it out because, at the time, I liked the subject matter itself well enough to ignore traditional dumbf**k attitudes, but more sensible ;) girls stayed far away from such classes.

    Not everyone would be as motivated though - I have a bit of a stubborn streak.

    @ Asgard:

    "People who are not interested in the subject of IT are already primed to dislike that subject."

    Possibly, but it's also true that many people have never even *heard* of IT (it's not exactly a common acronym among the general populace), therefore such people would have no preconceived ideas about IT one way or the other.

    "women who are in IT and science often show a self confidence to not be so influenced by the superficial concerns of the Histrionics."

    Good points, what you wrote about Histrionics.

    My dad (who was an excessively-nice-looking guy and an extreme workaholic), always said that "Anything that's popular, is probably no damn good" (partly there he was referring to *himself* in his younger rakish years - he certainly had no lack of women's companionship before marrying at a relatively older age), and then he'd launch off into stories of lemmings and "herd mentality", complete with scathing denunciations of the fashion industry, "face-paint for primitive mating-rituals" (his term for women's makeup), recreational-drug users, draft-dodgers and "hippies", "new math" etc... he was very opinionated about some things!

    (Note that this was many years before personal computers, so his anti-lemming stories were *not* related to any modern OS-based lemming diatribes that one may have heard, y'know the usual Windows vs SomeOtherOS thing.)

    Point being, it's not surprising that a kid who's heard that sort of thing zillions of times since infancy, might end up with "non-traditional" career interests.

    I suspect that many other women in non-traditional lines of work, probably also had some similar strong influences in their lives that gave them the idea that you don't necessarily have to do what society or "peers" (lemmings again) tell you to do. Be interested in things for their own merits, not because of following fashion/style/bad-peer-pressure or whatever. If something interests you, then go for it, work hard, do a good job, be successful at it. If despite your best efforts you can't hack it (no pun intended), then find something else that you *are* good at and work hard at that too.

    Having a workaholic mentor/role-model probably has something to do with it, too, because it makes one less inclined to be discouraged at going against the tide (dealing with naysayers etc.).

    A lot of traditionally male jobs, are in fact *difficult*, either mentally or physically - that's probably one of the reasons that the pay is often higher. Many people - men as well as women - aren't well-qualified for those jobs and/or aren't interested in that kind of work (whatever it happens to be) in the first place. People (men or women) who get into those lines of work just on a lark, and who don't apply themselves or who spend their time goofing off, are apt to fail or be mediocre. If there is something 'unusual' about the person, their failure will stick in people's memory more.

    Side note:

    I once worked in an all-girl shop (quite a change of environment/culture from the usual mostly-male workplaces I'd worked at previously). The boss made an exception one time and she hired a male. He turned out to be lazy *and* a thief ($$$$) and he got fired, and ever after that, the boss swore up and down that she would never ever again hire another man because she'd hired that *one* man that *one* time and he was no good (that bosslady had good technical skills, but she wasn't very people-smart). She kept her word for the entire time she was in charge of that shop, another 4 or 5 years or so. "One bad apple"... I see similar things with regard to mostly-male workplaces that dare to hire females - some of the females are good workers, some aren't, but the bad ones stand out more because they were already different to start with, thus reinforcing already-existing stereotypes or whatever.

    Just my long-winded ramblin' two cents there :)

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