After reading Ted's Post about Robert's Post - which was about Marcie's post (gotta love following the links/trackbacks/comments/pingbacks stuff) - I thought I'd throw my hat in the ring on the subject of women (or dare I say girls) in IT.

I agree somewhat with Ted in saying that I think Robert missed the point of Marcie's post. I think Robert lacks (as all men, including myself do) the women's perspective on the issue. I think the better question to ask ourselves though, is “why are there are so few women in tech jobs?“, rather than “who cares what gender the MVPs are?“

It's not because they can't do the jobs as well. I still remember many years ago when I was a fresh young n00b and attending my first MOC course at a CTEC and the woman that instructed the class did an excellent job. She even had a pretty good sense of humor if I remember correctly. I've had a couple female bosses before too. So what's the deal? To quote Julie in Ted's comments, "So why is it that I can count the number of bright female programmers ...that I am aware of ... on one hand?”.

I'm interested to hear what either Marcie, Julie, or maybe someone like Michele has to say on the subject. What's sad (I think) is that that last sentence linked to every female techie I'm aware of. Ok, maybe minus Lissa.

I think I'm going to do some thinking and research on this and post my results / thoughts.

UPDATE: Something I found interesting; I asked my wife (who's far from computer illiterate but not exactly a techie) why she thought there weren't more women in tech jobs. Her response? The lack of emotion. She said she thinks women thrive on jobs that involve emotion (Teachers, Nurses, etc.) whereas she thinks men enjoy the lack of emotion found in tech positions. I think she might have a good point.


  • Jason - this is all pointing back to an interview that was just published today. It is the very last question in the interview that Marcie was referring to which is my attempt to scratch the surface. Marcie links to the interview in her post.

  • Julie - sorry about that - I forgot to click the link in Marcie's post before writing my post. While I think there is some truth in the answer you gave, like you say, you only really scratched the surface. I think there are some underlying psychological and perhaps social reasons behind the lack of women in technology.

  • Jason- you should ask my husband some time if I ever get emotional when I'm programming! Like "i'm gonna throw this damned box out the window if it doesn't do what i *want* it to do!" :-)

  • Heh, Julie - that's just the computer's ability to frustrate you. Everyone experiences that. In fact, I bet it's worse for those that aren't programmers. They have less of an idea about why it won't work.

  • The answer, or I should say answers, to the question is simple, in my mind. Julie hit on these in her answer during the interview. There are two major reasons that females are not represented equally in the IT industry:

    1) Men and History: It is a historical fact that men have prevented women from being treated equally in the workplace. Now, one might argue that this is changing but I believe that history is one place you will find a piece of the puzzle as to why there are fewer women "in the IT " than there are men. We are still emerging from a "man's world" to one where things are more equal.

    2) Society and gender ring fencing: Again, historically we can see that women were not always pushed to work outside the home let alone work in the science/mathematics field (the precursors to computer science). Society has not done much to encourage the education in and pursuit of technology by females.

    Genders are not "ring fenced" like they used to be but there are still men and women who believe that each gender has a certain purpose in life. This is a societal issue that has plagued the United States for a long time. We see this with both gender and race.

    Now, don't get me wrong - A LOT of positive change has taken place in these areas over the last 20-30 years. Women are certainly in a better position today than they were even 10 years ago. That said, societal changes of this kind take many many years to come to fruition. We have a long way to go.

    Lastly, I think we can all agree that there is no difference in the capabilities among men and women in the IT field. That is to say, there are no physical or mental reasons a women can't be as successful or more successful than men in the IT field. So, I don't think it is a good idea for us (men) to in any way demean the idea that there can and should be more women in the IT field. If both genders are equally capable (which they are) then there should at least be a more even distribution in the workplace than the current 90/10 split.

    In response to the women speaking at TechEd line of questioning, I think you are seeing a "chicken and egg" type problem. In order to coax more women into the lime light, there needs to be a sufficient number of women already on the top of the field. How do you get the chicken before you have the egg? I don't think you will (as you've seen thus far). Instead, over time people like Julie will raise awareness to a level where it is seen as a "cool" thing for women to be on top of the IT field. You must wait for the egg to hatch.

    I think as we see more women enter the IT field in the next ten to twenty years we are going to see some innovation that wouldn't otherwise exist.

  • people , women just dont like to show how smart they are

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