I am a geek and I am proud of it.
P.S. Being a geek doesn't mean that the person is a spineless brainiac with thick glasses. Some of us hit the gym as well; not me though, I am the spineless brainiac type :-)
The number of women enrolled in training courses preparing them to work in the tech industry has not changed for 30 years, an MP has told the House of Commons. Ahead of a debate last Friday on “attracting girls to ICT careers”, Labour MP and former shadow minister for innovation Chi Onwurah warned that Britain's tech sector …
Should we also teach young children to be more androgynous ? Should we have more women on building sites ? Are there too many men in the army ?.
Some jobs will always have a natural tendancy to attract more men than women and vice-versa.
Equality is not always about equal quantity. Women have exactly the same possibility of moving into the tech sector, there are no barriers whatsover for them to begin a career. As mentioned there is almost 20% of women within the industry.
I hate these kinds of articles they smell more of PC than of common sense.
> Some jobs will always have a natural tendancy to attract more men than women and vice-versa.
I'd suggest rather that some jobs have a cultural tendency to attract more of one gender than the other. I strongly believe that cultural norms and peer pressure can trump biology and genetics in almost every case of workplace gender bias.
I agree, and it would be interesting to hear the views of any female commentards. I think that there is a big difference between "not choosing" to enter the tech sector, and "choosing not" to enter it. In my first job I'd have said that the number of women was >> 16%, but that was in a city wirh a large university CS department and lots of female students. My current employer does anecdotally seem to be around that 16% figure, for a much older workforce. Have the percentages been studied with age in mind?
There is clearly no physical or mental reason why the sexes shouldn't be equally represented (unlike building sites, for example), so there must be other causes. I see no sex-related difference in the quality of engineering or design work among my colleagues, although I have found female QA engineers to be better than their male counterparts. Whether they are more conscientious, or just better at delivering criticism I'm not sure!
It is clear that around age 30-40 women do take a larger share of child-raising tasks, and whether that is cultural pressure or personal choice is a sensitive subject for debate. It can result in a career stalling, someone getting a reputation for "never wanting to travel" etc. That may not be a problem for someone with the drive & money of a Marissa Mayer but not everyone feels like her.
It isn't unusual for someone to make a life/career balance choice in early life and regret it later, and the usual double-standards raise their heads. The man who neglects family to forge a career, and later regrets his poor relationship with his children, is a staple of popular drama and it's fashionable to criticise him for his decision. If a women puts family first, and later bemoans her lack of career advancement, it gets blamed on "society" or "industry" causing problems for the women. Criticising the woman is slammed as being sexist, or playing to stereotypes. Equality by the numbers isn't the solution.
"The man who neglects family to forge a career, and later regrets his poor relationship with his children, is a staple of popular drama and it's fashionable to criticise him for his decision. If a women puts family first, and later bemoans her lack of career advancement, it gets blamed on "society" or "industry" causing problems for the women."
Wish I'd been able to put my feelings on the matter (in agreement with yours,) so concisely!
You wouldn't because you're already past the selector. The question isn't if there's a difference between them within the group of people who do the work, the question is whether they are being drawn from the original pool with equal probability.
The problem comes when you attempt to define "original pool" for purposes of the experiment. I would define the original pool as "those with the ability to do the work who also have an interest in doing it." If that population is 50/50 male female, the number of workers would be 50/50. If for some reason that breakdown was 20/80 in a fair worker selection the worker breakdown would also be 20/80. At this point the question becomes what is the "some reason" the population moves to 20/80? If the reason has to do with sexual discrimination, there is a problem. If the reason has nothing to do with sexual discrimination there isn't a problem. But the assumption whenever this issue arises is that there cannot be non-sexual discrimination reasons for a 20/80 split.
@Poor Coco - Lots of people are stopping women having careers in ICT - the amount of crap that I see the female senior developer that I work with getting from junior staff who clearly think that she isn't capable of doing her job despite all the evidence to the contrary is frankly shocking. I've heard senior UNIX department managers at a FTSE 100 company seriously discussing if they should employ women and decide not to "because women can't do unix." The examples are countless and if you think this is down to women you are part of the problem.
"The debate heard that between 2001 and 2011 the percentage of tech jobs held by women declined from 22 per cent to 17 per cent."
On the other hand, the percentage of tech jobs held by people like Eadon increased correspondingly, which presages further declines in the percentage of tech jobs held by women.
I do not hesitate to say that having an ICT workforce more representative of humanity must result in technology which is more humane
I would like to see more women in the security business, because we urgently need to lose the idea that it's all about technology - I think we're in a reasonable state in that area. Especially at the level that we work at it's more about people, and most women I know are better wired for that than men (admittedly that's a limited sample range, but facts seem to bear this out :) ).
Those who look very, very very closely at a typical male human being and a typical female human being will notice we’re SEXUALLY DIMORPHIC. Sexual dimorphism extends to more than gross physical characteristics, with good reason. If we didn’t have the divisions of labour between men and women that we developed as a hunter-gatherer species, we would not have survived to dominate the planet.
Ignoring this, and demanding that women comprise 50% or more (notice gender feminists never complain about sectors in which women dominate), is to ignore fundamental human nature in favour of baseless ideological twattery.
I shouldn't be suprised to be told that it was - except that most of them live, work and pay tax in India and China.
But seriously, personally I think this is a significant problem.
At the most trivial you could say that its nice for sad old middle aged geeks like me to have younger women around the workplace because it improves the ambience.
Howver I do believe that women tend to be better at some types of role than men, and in any case its always a bad thing if your industry is putting off a significant percentage of good workers that are therefore lost to other industries.
"The lack of women represents a loss to society of the types of ICT that might come from non-male minds"
LBGT community and amanfrommars, step up!
"I do not hesitate to say that having an ICT workforce more representative of humanity must result in technology which is more humane"
Please DO hesitate to say so. "Must result"? I would like to believe.
"All too often technology is imposed on us aggressively and before it is fit for purpose"
Like those Apple maps? That has more to do with market conditions than with the caring, sharing mind of wimmin. And really, the only one who "imposes" stuff is state. From others, one can run away or build a better product.
I thought she had been in the biz for 25 years?
I remember watching a psychology documentary a while ago about the male and female brain. The male brain being more logical and aimed at abstract jobs like engineering or maths. Then they had the female brain which is more empathetic and better geared towards personal rolls like doctors or nurses.
As part of it they got a set of career professionals, both men and women, from the various 'gender set' rolls. So you had male teachers and nurses, or female engineers and builders.
On the female aligned jobs (teachers etc) both male and female scored around teh same on their tests ,and when it came to how they taught or did things again it was very similar. Likewise when you reversed it, the male minded half of the test, both men and women, had the same results with them scoring very similarly in the same areas.
I think one of the tests funnily enough was putting together a flat pack table and set of drawers. Feminine minded people went straight to the instructions, failed miserably and gave up after 10 minutes. Male minded folks ignored the instructions, laid the parts out, got straight to work and were finished damn quick.
Saying we need more women in IT is then, absurd, as the women who joined up would tend to have the similar logical brain of the male IT folks. Not only that but it isn't even us engineers who make the decisions. We get told what to do by the designers etc who funny enough, tend to lean more towards the ampathetic feminine mind.
As an example of this, at uni I did a videogames course. On the software side of it the course was entirely guys in our year, in the years after us there were one or two girls, out class was entirely boys though.
On the other side of the course, in the arts section the class was very female dominant.
Saying we should split the work so there are more women in IT is effectively spitting in the face of darwinism (extreme I know, don't take it literally) survival of the fittest dictates that those who are good at something will excel and thrive, those who are not will die out.
If we keep artifically forcing people who aren't most suited to a roll into said roll purely to fill out some bullshit statistics we're effectively cutting off darwinism, and instead of pushing the most effective people in to the positions they'll make the most positiive impact, we're moving people away from the jobs they'd be bst suited for and replacing the mwith less than stellar counterparts.
It's almost like the peter principle but starting from square one.
For those unaware, the peter principle is the process by which you start out low, and by showing extreme competence are promoted, each promotion takes you further from your core skillset and relies on skills you don't have. Basically somebody who is the best engineer you have eventually winds up an incompetent manager because he doesn't have teh skills for it, he then stays there.
The situation they're advocating is doing this from square one, take somebody less apt to the job, who would be better suited in another field, and give them a job they aren't suited to. They won't accell because they don't have the skills (until a statistic comes out and shows women are being turned up for promotion in favour of men) and the entire industry suffers.
As a final note however, i am not saying that women as a whole aren't suited to the IT industry, a lot of the women I work with are probably more competent than the men in many respects. What I am against is finding that there are more X than Y in industry Z, and making some bullshit quota to for more of Y into the industry and more of X out.
You don't see statistics poitning out the fact that there are more female workers i the housekeeping industry, (it's the only industry that ame straight to mind, sorry)
What is the relevance of automated tills in supermarkets?
They do their jobs perfectly from what I can tell - walk up, scan your item, stick it on the output area, repeat until finished, tap pay, choose method and then insert cash or card. Done.
What else would she think a woman would do to them?
The drive for equality is a good thing (so long as equality is actually the goal) - but sometimes, people are getting lost on the way. Highlighting things like the above make the speaker here seem like a bit of an idiot IMO.
Judging by the assistants I see scurrying around the automated checkout area at our local Morrisons, helping people who've got stuck, using them isn't quite as straight forward as you suggest. I do realise, nonetheless, that this is the fault of the stupid customers.
Mine's the one with the items in the wrong bag.
It is quite straight forward. The difficulty lies in remembering how stupid the average person is, and then remembering that half the population is dumber than that. Or bloodied minded about their stupidity.
If I have a bunch of stuff I normally go to a person manned aisle. If only a few I will take the self-checkout lane. The self-checkout is slow because the computer has to check each step of the process before allowing you to continue. So you can't throw an item in the bag and scan the next one before the system has had time to register the weight of the processed item. Clerks can do that because they are the check against theft. The other day I was at the store with my female roommate. She kept trying to scan things faster than the system would register the weight and got all flustered when the "unexpected item in bagging area" alarm went off. She just couldn't cope with being faster than the computer. She is mind you, a pretty good mechanical engineer and makes more at it than I do as a help desk tech.
I'm not sure, but I had trouble using them at first, depending on the store - they all do basically the same thing, but differently and not as well. I think the early Sainsbury model in particular defeated me when I tried to use the "Brought my own shopping bag" routine. I also didn't understand - as I believe I now do - that the thing is basically a big weighing scale. I suppose they maybe consider that to be an important secret.
I hadn't thought before, but probably the best re-useable bag would be one that holds itself open while you pack. Are there any such on the market? (My own ideas deleted in case I get to make my fortune by inventing one.)
It would probably be simpler if they just forced you to use the shop carrier bags that are provided on the special mounting thing, even if you have your own bags. Is that a man idea or a woman idea? I'm a man, so I suppose that's the answer.
I also have a man solution to the problem of ironing clothes. It is difficult or impossible for a robot to iron a shirt in the ordinary way, and it's tiresome to do it yourself. My secret solution is that I don't iron the shirt at all. It saves so much time and nobody cares.
Nothing really wrong with self-service checkouts, except that they're as yet imperfect. Half of them claim to let you use your own bags but then make you hang around for verification if the bags aren't gossamer-light. And it's annoying to have to hang around for age verification because your shopping includes wine. The worst ones are in B&Q. They're voiced by a ratty woman who nags you if you pause for more than ten seconds between items.
But in what sense is this technology "imposed on us aggressively"? These checkouts are rarely more than 25% of the checkouts. I use them because they're fast, but if the former shadow minister for innovation doesn't like them she could always queue up at a manual checkout.
Horrible things, tried a few.
I was recommended to use one to save queueing.
Take your item and wave it, doesn't register or you have to put it in a certain spot, next item ignored because I hadn't done something else. Look stupid piece of junk I put item in front of scanner then the next, anything else I am not interested in.
I just abandoned and queued for a human - it was quicker.
Just get stuffed automatic till, much quicker to use a checkout person, their scanners just beep and let them get on with it. You can talk to them if you want.
Argos - would not let me order an item - had to go to till so why bother.
B&Q rejected my card, normal till took it.
I make a point now of NOT using them, if I want to buy something without human interaction I will buy on line
I would not say menial, possibly boring, but a good source of income for students and without insulting them people whose partner is the major wage earner (eg part time mums on tills.)
My wife always gets chatting with them, till staff appreciate it.
And they hate the till messages more than us!
Ok, from the mixed responses it does seem that we have a number of people who are unable to think the process through properly.
How can an automated till confirm what you've scanned is what you say you've put in the bag? Cheapest way is to go be weight. So, that explains the whole "using your own bag always flags up an issue" thing - if the bag you're using is heavy, then the till needs confirmation that you're not secretly hiding things in there to get around having to scan them. Think about it logically and it makes sense. Maybe that's too much to ask though.
I've never once had an issue with an automated till. You just do what it tells you! But people also seem to dislike doing that too - in all walks of life. Send out an email to staff telling them how to do something. If it has more than 1 step, cue the influx of people who say its too difficult.
" from the mixed responses it does seem that we have a number of people who are unable to think the process through properly."
No, you'll find we have thought the entire process through properly and decided that these machines do not yet function well enough to be useful to us.
I am very happy for you that you always do what you are told by the machines and have not had a problem as a result - please consider this post to be a machine telling you to take your patronising attitude and bag it.
If people like her keep painting a negative picture for women then why does she think women would be attracted to those roles?
Secondly, why would there be any improvement to IT just because women were there? What have women done to improve politics? Can anyone spot the difference between when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and some guy was? Was Thatcher any more compassionate than a man? Does this particular whining woman bring anything new to politics herself?
Nope and that's we're not that different so a woman going into politics will share the same qualities as a man in that they'll both be self-centred useless leeches.
Stupid idea - you just get the worst. Look at the so called Blair babes.
Make it open to best PERSON.
Just to annoy the inadequates who like these short lists, how come a woman became Prime Minister without them, and women chosen using them have been invariably useless.
I am very in favour of EQUAL opportunities as the best person not the best man / woman / alien / teapot ect
It's not only about female advancement. Where I live the local party selected a candidate who the central party didn't like. He was a man so they imposed an all women shortlist and flew in a woman from outside the region whose only job had been working for the party. Control was restored and brownie points earned.
Where I live the opposition party has gone down this route, she seems a bit useless, council manager, being really hyped up by her party.
Currently got a chap whose father was the MP in the 70s and is also the only political person to door to door in the last 5 years.
"If people like her keep painting a negative picture for women then why does she think women would be attracted to those roles?"
Quite. I have noticed that over the years, I've noticed the percentage of women in IT gradually decreasing. I can't say there's a direct link between the dwindling numbers and this sort of publicity, but it's unlikely to help; personally, I think IT has become such a toxic place to work that I'm hesitant to recommend it to anyone (don't get me wrong, I love my job, but the working conditions, not so much.)
This makes me laugh, Engineering makes me think of something that that technology forward. In the 20 odd years I've been sleeping at the keyboard, nothing very much has changed in ICT. Yeah brand names have come and gone, also "new technologies" have evolved, but in the main, this new tech is just old stuff done either slightly better or just renamed.
How can you extol the virtues of an industry that is so stagnant?
ICT is, in reality, just an exercise in customer services, logistics and hand holding.
People laugh at ITOL for being a simple tick-box exercise and just being logical steps, but that's all ICT needs to be successful.
Why on earth would ANYONE, be it male or femail want to get into this industry now?
> women are not choosing to enter the tech sector
Yes, they're not CHOOSING it. They have the option to enter the tech sector, some: not all, choose not to. In the past women have successfully infiltrated (if that's the right word) previous male-dominated professions, like: well, all of them - doctors, lawyers, advertising, acting, TV ... and the list could go on, and on, and on.
So there is no lack of abillity to break into a predominantly male line of work. The fact that there is little long-term change in women's numbers in IT can only be due to their lack of willingness to qualify for and take up IT jobs - compared to what they've achieved in most other walks of life. The simplest conclusion is that they prefer NOT to work in IT.
Now if you want a sector that badly needs gender-equality for the sake of all the members of society who pass through it in their formative years, lets see a similar campaign to get men (back) into teaching.
In the 1960s there were many women in the computer industry. Very few were in the Engineering department - but there were significant numbers in software development, software support, sales, and marketing roles.
There were fewer as computer operators because they weren't allowed to work night shifts. However that restriction didn't apply to women software developers who would book "hands-on" slots in the early hours. While they waited they would chat up the operators.
In my department in 1967 there were two junior guys and five more senior women - all doing technical support and programming. The change probably came in the 1980s - possibly as the industry started to want recruits with degrees in IT.
I'd like to see a more balanced distribution of teachers, but honestly, what man is going to take the risk these days? One false accusation from a disgruntled pupil (male or female) and not only is your life ruined, but so is that of all your family and friends.
I worked at a company where the majority of employees (and managers) where women and IT was very much a man's department with the exception of the IT director. There could possibly be a more woman friendly company and they still opted to avoid IT both internal and external applicants.
I'm sure sexism plays a part in area like Silicon Valley where you have a bunch of 20 year old guys in a company but that is not the vast majority of IT work and I suspect any reasonable human understands that. I suspect women just aren't attracted to it.
Who can blame them? I question why guys want to work on a IT help desk or even as a Db admin. The only attractive job imo is programming and while I enjoy it the job can be unnecessarily stressful and unrewarding in some companies.
"If" is a very big word.
For what it's worth, women complain, that's what they do, and they're not very good at things. It's science!
I say they should consider themselves lucky; because before men provided automation, they couldn't do anything, let alone not very much.
And if you don't believe me, ask Ron Burgundy.
"I do not hesitate to say that having an ICT workforce more representative of humanity must result in technology which is more humane"
How to promote gender equality - describe one gender as intrinsically inhumane.
If I were to claim that anything designed by women was automatically inhumane I would be deluged in abuse. And quite possibly charged with a criminal offence for hate speech. So why is it acceptable to make such a claim about men?
It's just bitch about Men hour.
If you give a woman true equality - you know the really shitty backbreaking dirty jobs your wife doesn't want to do that you end up doing it's amazing how quickly they think the idyllic 1950s stereotype is suddenly a good idea.
And then there' s
"...technology will never have the position it merits at the heart of our society and economy if it remains the preserve of such a narrow section of society." (my emphasis)
Narrow? Last time I checked men were O(50%) of society.
Okay, I've rechecked, men are only 49% of the population. (Some sexist bollocks about women living longer.) So her point stands.
So the barriers are broken and you give choice to the people. The only problem is they keep picking the wrong one (according to your statistics) . So to compensate you reduce the choices of others to compensate for your statistical anomolies. Well done you've just invented barriers again.
Grow up and realise that only by making things irrelevant can you make them equal.
Basically the reason for the low numbers of women is that engineering and by association ICT is still percieved as a totally male dominated greasy overall profession. The corollary being that it is not the sort of workplace that women would enjoy being part of or welcomed into. Women in general prefer a work environment that includes a fair degree of social interaction and ICT is seen as the opposite of that with its introverted geeky men, slavishly staring at the screen for hours on end, with little or no regard to human contact or personal hygene. I work in an office that is approximately 90% male and I can go an entire day without speaking to any of them. I once sat next to an engineer whose preferred method of communication was instant messaging and email to those sitting around him!
If we really do want to encourage women into the world of IT there needs to be a huge shift in the perception of the industry in the media. Only when young girls believe that IT will be welcoming, exciting and socially enhancing will it become as attractive as other professions and encourage them to pursue a career in that direction. We spend an awful lot of our lives at work so it makes sense to choose a work environment that we would enjoy being in and at the moment ICT does not have that appeal. Perhaps if TV or films were to show women having a leading role in the technical world instead of just being delightful eyecandy next to the clever males (examples being Dr Who, Iron Man, Star Trek) there might be a change to the current status quo.
Rather than changing the work environment so that it becomes attractive to women, we should teach women they should stop trying to interact socially, and get them to stare at the screen the whole day like the male engineers!
And please stop showering so often, I can't stand this lack of smell coming from you!
Oh, please! Complete tosh.
Any woman so stupid as to think that way has no place in IT. Women choose not to enter IT because they prefer other careers, those that do enter IT are every bit as competent as their male collegues (in some cases more so, but when I think of some the idiots I've worked with doesn't say much) and are treated according to their talents and nothing else.
If you want more women in IT, then you have to change them and their out-dated views, not the industry.
As the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink"
"IT is seen as the opposite of that with its introverted geeky men, slavishly staring at the screen for hours on end, with little or no regard to human contact or personal hygene."
I'm properly sick of that. So, in order to improve take up from one group we must remove the employment opportunities from one of the mostly maligned minorities: The introvert.
A group of people who are instinctively detail focused and are able to focus on a problem without the constant need for other people to define your self worth. This, you'd thought, would be a necessary talent in a field where thinking hard about something until you make sense of it is the primary skill.
Also, the personal hygiene thing is just offensive.
Only when young girls believe that IT will be welcoming, exciting and socially enhancing will it become as attractive as other professions and encourage them to pursue a career in that direction.
It's a job, not a f***ing coffee morning! You're there to get stuff done, not swan around interacting and socialising and enhancing.
greasy overall profession
In 30 years in IT, the only people I've seen in greasy overalls have generally been the cleaners.
I work in an office that is approximately 90% male and I can go an entire day without speaking to any of them.
Maybe if you had anything intelligent to say you'd get more interaction.
"I work in an office that is approximately 90% male and I can go an entire day without speaking to any of them."
I've also come across this, and it has nothing to do with either the workplace or the attitude of the guys working there. More to do with the fact that some of the women are simply moody cows who only talk to other women and the small percentage of males they fancy.
Anyone they feel doesn't meet their "standards" basically just gets ignored.
"...I've also come across this, and it has nothing to do with either the workplace or the attitude of the guys working there. More to do with the fact that some of the women are simply moody cows who only talk to other women and the small percentage of males they fancy...."
And people wonder why there isn't more female representation in ICT.
"English supermarket tills don't work?"
The do-it-yourself checkouts where you scan items yourself and put them in a bag on a weighing platform have a number of problems including but not limited to:
- not being able to cope if your own bag is too heavy, where 'too heavy' can include very normal shopping bags, possibly supplied by the same shop whose automated checkout can't cope
- needing some kind of human staff intervention for various scenarios including buying alcohol. Said human staff are naturally thin on the ground as that is rather the point of installing these systems
- not being able to cope with very light items, demanding that they are placed in the weighing area when that has already been done
Some people are perfectly happy with them, others feel they just do not work well enough and that there is no benefit for the customer in having these in preference to the normal, manned tills.
I have fond memories of my first job where the head of the punch room *and* the chief programmer were women. Extremely demanding and forceful women, who pushed for and got lockstep compliance and total obedience from the staff and who were extremely strict with juniors.
It was the best job I ever had.
"In working with women in open source, the Ada Initiative found that many women are reluctant to post their code publicly when they are first getting started in open source software. This reluctance has good reasons behind it: fear of being told they are bad programmers, fear of being publicly mocked or harassed, and even fear of losing job opportunities. All of these are greater risks for women on average than men", Ada Initiative Blog
work in a true 'equal opportunity' country do you realise just how many jobs in the West are non-female.
My favourite InterNet tech is a female who has fixed several fibre optic problems that her male counterparts 'patched' up.
A few years ago I was on a job that involved climbing a 100 metre transmitter mast. Luck of the draw assigned a female radio tech from the carrier company. It rained much of the time we were up there, but not one word of complaint from my partner and she pulled her fare share of the bad parts of the job.
Equality works, try it, you might even like it. And make sure females get paid the same for work of eequal value!
I’m glad your workmate was fully competent; it sounds like your employer places priority on safety and does not reduce standards for women to pump up the ranks. That behaviour, documented in the armed forces and fire-fighting, places the feelings of women above the very lives of the people they are there to protect; while a woman may avoid feeling offended at being rejected for a physically demanding job because she’s just not strong enough, people may very well die if their rescuer is not physically up to the task.
Since your co-worker was nothing like this, and she works on equal basis and with equal evaluation standards, she is an example of the ideal I hold. It makes perfect sense for people with equal qualifications, experience and seniority to be paid the same — and that, in fact, is exactly what happens. The “pay gap” is vapourware.
“But,” I hear the peanut gallery bellow, “Women on average make only 77% of what men make on average! Patriarchy!!!” — but this, too, is manure. Men make more money on average than women do, because men tend to make hard decisions that result in higher-paying employment. This includes work that is unpleasant and/or dangerous work, which pays more because it’s dangerous and unpleasant, but which women are seldom willing to perform. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a garbage man who was, in fact, a woman? I haven’t, and believe me, I would have noticed.
As a result, men on average earn more than women. But they are maimed and killed VASTLY more often by that work: 95% of all workplace fatalities are men. Oddly, you never hear feminists discussing this 20-to-1 death rate.
Once again: your coworker was a delightful exception, and I love nothing more than working alongside smart, skilled women. Every single person I have met who fits this description has been an anti-feminist.
I'm sorry but if you can't work out how to use one then perhaps you should consider a new career, one that isn't in the technology sector.
As to women in IT, I couldn't give a toss about your gender, ethnic background or religious views any more than I do about the colour of your hair. Pass the technical test and the job's yours.