getting a 'man' to fix computers

(46 Posts)
southeastastra Fri 27-Sep-13 22:51:37

this is really starting to annoy me at work.

when anything goes wrong with the computers ALL the women run to fetch a younger man who will be able to fix the computers

i am computer literate and can fix most computer problems, if i can't i will research how to fix yet i am ignored and a MAN is always summoned and they will hum an har like i Do when then problem isn'st straightforward

when i complain to my femail colleages about this they nearly always say 'ooh i don't know anything about computers' so building the myth

rant over but anyone had similar experiences? this is in a predominately female environment

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WidowWadman Fri 27-Sep-13 23:03:37

When I have a computer issue at work I ring IT. Half the time the call is handled by a man, the other half by a woman. Wouldn't dream of asking some random pencil pusher to sort out my work computer, and really, they wouldn't be able to anyway.

TiggyD Fri 27-Sep-13 23:04:28

I was on a childcare course once. Me and 100-150 women. The organisers were having trouble with the projector/computer and said "We need a man!". I was too embarrassed to volunteer although funnily enough, I could probably have fixed it.

I suppose it's because more men than women are really into the technical side of technology.

Ms23 Fri 27-Sep-13 23:05:04

Not the case in my office. I have an I.T. qualification but it leaves me no more likely to be able to fix computer problems than anyone else. In the 5 years I have been working there, nobody has figured this out and they always come to me for advice. 9 times out of 10 I can't even begin to imagine how to fix the problem!

Drives me nuts, I love computers, in most of my old jobs I've been the one most able to fix stuff. So tedious to have people ignore me in favour of looking for a man. angry

SilverApples Fri 27-Sep-13 23:07:16

I hate dealing with computers, but the fixit people at work and at my home are both female.

scallopsrgreat Fri 27-Sep-13 23:13:09

I have the opposite problem <sigh>. But I do tend to deal with system wide issues and people come to me because they know I'll take ownership of the problem. Generally the men they have asked before me have sliding shoulders and I need to learn to say no But this is my job, not a skill on the side of my day-to-day work.

ErrolTheDragon Fri 27-Sep-13 23:23:21

I use IT if there's a significant problem so that I can get on with the main reason we have computers in our company - to write software. Of course, working from home I have to deal with the hardware and probably deal with things as a matter of course that might stump some people.

Frodosmum Sat 28-Sep-13 01:55:17

I am not a computer ‘techie’ per se but manage to solve most software, if not hardware, problems. One reason is that I have learned the (often irrational) way in which software creators think. There are certain patterns and standards which one can pick up only with experience. It is also possible to look problems up in Google, as you are rarely the first person to encounter the difficulty. Be careful to enter the most important and relevant words in the Google search.

Frodosmum Sat 28-Sep-13 02:05:16

I had a good laugh at the idea of a ‘Man’ being ‘summoned’ like a witness in an old-fashioned court drama. ‘This problem is unladylike. Call – a Man!’

EBearhug Sat 28-Sep-13 02:12:22

Drives me mad, too. I'm the only woman in a techy team. At least it's been a few years since I got asked if I was the secretary. But I've been doing this about 15 years, and it seems to be getting worse, not better.

EBearhug Sat 28-Sep-13 02:13:40

I mean it's getting worse in that there seem to be fewer women in techy roles than when I started.

Naoko Sat 28-Sep-13 02:15:50

I thankfully haven't experienced this personally, but I've no doubt it happens. I'm pretty technologically competent and tend to take the 'help, my computer has done something weird' phonecalls for my extended friend group so I guess it is well known that I know what I'm talking about, this might help, as is my complete and utter lack of shame at being a total geek. I'm also not very traditionally feminine, maybe people subconsciously place me in the 'man' box?

wordyBird Sat 28-Sep-13 02:37:40

It gets on my nerves.
It seems to be the last bastion of sexism. Some women reinforce it by flapping (literally) and saying, oh I don't know anything about it!! It's ok not to know, but please, either take a moment to learn - or don't flap! ;)

Some men reinforce it by affecting over confidence and manly reassurance, when they haven't the faintest idea what they're doing. That REALLY annoys me!

tribpot Sat 28-Sep-13 05:59:42

Back in the days before I was a techy, when I was a PA, we had to know how to fix most of the problems with the hardware, particularly the printers and the photocopiers, because we'd invariably have some glitch half an hour before the boss needed a letter printing to use in lieu of a visa to get into Russia on business or some such. You had to be able to fix most things yourself as (understandably) IT couldn't appear at short notice and nothing was networked, so you couldn't send the document to someone else to print, nor could anything be diagnosed over the phone.

At my next place, I quite often helped the photocopier repair guy (it was a guy, as it happened) work out how to fix the bloody things. And then the IT people realised I could help them reboot the servers if they talked me through it over the phone so they'd always ask for me when they needed doing.

At the same time, my brother (an engineer) and my friend (a doctor) were running into the generational problem that their older bosses assumed they would know 'all about computers' (how?) and really struggling when put on the spot.

So some of it is generational I think if these women are older. But mostly it's just bizarre and a symptom of that 'forced helplessness' that is also used to get women to do jobs traditionally within their sphere (cooking, cleaning) for men.

Lifeisontheup Sat 28-Sep-13 06:12:11

I get this at work but with removal of spiders. I really don't mind removing them but oh no we must ask a man who then turns out to be a scared as the women. Meanwhile the poor spider has given up waiting and shuffled off to have a fly cookie and a cup of tea!

Drives me mad, the possession of a penis does not automatically make you not scared of spiders.

sleepywombat Sat 28-Sep-13 06:16:58

My 'feminist' mother does this. Any question about computers, diy, anything really she asks my dh (well often she asks me, ignores my answer & then reasks dh), who is in the same profession as me & knows about the same amount as me.


claraschu Sat 28-Sep-13 06:30:04

Why not just remove the spider or fix the projector? If women were always stepping confidently forward, people would get over their absurd prejudices.

Well I work with lots of feisty women and asking someone for help is the last resort. We mostly fix our computers and other equipment ourselves as there is no time to dither waiting for the IT lummox. All other problems are usually solved by the resource officer, a woman, naturally grin

Lifeisontheup Sat 28-Sep-13 06:47:28

I do as soon as I find out but I can't be bothered to go and investigate every squeal, normally it's because someones posted something on FB that someone else doesn't agree with, short of shouting 'FFS grow up' I can't help much with that and the noise hurts my ears.grin

DropYourSword Sat 28-Sep-13 06:54:26

I think as more women study forI and become employed in IT rules that this will cease to happen. think that currently it's a male dominated fieldbut there's really no reason for that

DadWasHere Sat 28-Sep-13 08:24:19

"It seems to be the last bastion of sexism." Hey, I am more than happy for that bastion to fall, I am so very sick of being the go-to computer nerd for extended family and friends. But, frankly, I would not put it down as 'sexism', I would put it down to that tried and true insight once expressed by the robot from Lost in Space: "When in trouble or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."

PractialJoke Sat 28-Sep-13 08:42:04

IME, people ask the person who is most willing to help and/or most approachable.

When PCs were first introduced to my company and I was the young one, they often asked me.

If you know there's a problem and you want to help, do you offer?

Practial I usually offer, point out what I know then get a kind of weak smile followed by them wandering off to find a man, who (at best) says exactly what I said. Or to rub salt in the wound a bit, fucks it up more.

Even better if it turns out to be one of those "stand aside women, a man is here now" type blokes.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 28-Sep-13 09:21:32

I used to work in CeX, now, granted, I'm not big on console games which was what most people wanted to ask, but I was hot shit on hardware questions because I liked to read up on things and I have a good memory for that kind of thing.

Used to annoy me when someone (usually a bloke) would come in, look straight past me to my male colleague and ask him a question which he'd then deflect to me because he didn't know the answer.


(That was the expression on the face of the customer too, like they couldn't possibly compute that a woman knew about computers)

Of course then they'd ask me some question about games which I would have to deflect and then 9/10 they'd look at me all smugly like "See, don't know everything, do you?" Well, no, I don't. I have no interest in shooting alien heads off or endless managing of imaginary football teams.

Yoni I used to work for Jessops, I ran the damn minilab, I was the tech girl. I still got ignored in favour of talking to a bloke. Not helped by the fact that in one of the stores the idiots guys I worked with also thought they knew better than me. Put it this way, the two of them once spent a whole day trying to fix the store printer. Didn't serve a single customer, just spent the day poking and prodding the thing, guess what was wrong with it? They hadn't plugged it in. hmm And yet people would rather get their help??

Did ask my boss once if I could put a sign up saying "Computers and cameras are not penis operated". She laughed but refused. grin

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 28-Sep-13 09:26:03

Oh yes it's even more annoying if they give a crappy answer that you could have improved on loads.

LordLurkin Sat 28-Sep-13 11:05:27

I seem to have solved the problem for me personally. At the mere ask of something techie I give a shudder (a literal one as well). I am probably the worst person on the planet to ask and have no intention of messing up said tech problem further. Once I explain that I tend to be left alone. I have a reputation for killing computers on a semi regular basis so I get passed over for tech support.

I do get asked for other practical job simply for being a man, and my response of "I will come round and show you how to fix it" usually get a confused sounding ok. I have "taught" plenty of people how to install washing machines, driers and dishwashers.

The bit that really gets me is that most of the women asking me are competent and smart enough to do it themselves. But are so used to getting a man to do it that they don't think they can do it.

This problem is unladylike

That made me laugh! I am going to nick that phrase next time someone irritates me by asking for a man to do or fix something.

EBearhug Sat 28-Sep-13 15:15:06

^I think as more women study forI and become employed in IT rules that this will cease to happen. think that currently it's a male dominated fieldbut there's really no reason for that^

But it's not happening like that. The numbers of women on IT courses at university is currently in decline, from a peak in the late '80s.

There is no reason for it being a male-dominated field - there's a huge variety of different roles and can be interesting and something which will stretch your brain. Depending on the exact field and tech skills, can be very well-paid. It can be very flexible, which you'd think would make it more attractive to women, as it can be easier to accommodate child care and so on (which unfortunately is still a problem for more women than men.) I've never really understood why there are so few women around - but the more technical the area, the more true that seems to be. I've been doing it for about 15 years, and female field engineers are so rare that I've done a double take when first meeting the only two I've ever met in the course of my work. (And I'm really annoyed with myself when that happens.)

When we've been recruiting in my current department, we seem to get very few applications from women (as far as you can tell from names on CVs, and there are plenty which aren't obviously male or female names.) We can't recruit more if we can't interview them, and we can't interview them if we don't even get applications from them.

Quite a few of the earlier pioneers in computing (in the 1940s, '50s & '60s) were women, because it was seen as mundane administrative work. It's got more male as it's "grown up" and become more professionalised. There was a great programme on R4 a month or two ago, where they interviewed some of the women who worked in the computing industry when it was getting started.

(It's a subject close to my heart; I could go on at much more length, but won't!)

mathanxiety Sun 29-Sep-13 02:06:40

It's not the last bastion of sexism, sadly. It is a fact that male drivers outnumber women in the UK by a significant margin and that British women (judging from many MN threads) can come up with an amazing number and variety of responses as to why driving a car is a skill not necessary for them. British women also claim to be afflicted by pregnancy brain and that their thinking faculties are negatively affected by their hormones when not pregnant. The assumption that 'a man' will be able to fix a computer and a woman probably wouldn't be is part and parcel of the same thing. British women are happy to present themselves as Luddites whose brains are turned to mush by hormones. You don't hear this sort of twaddle elsewhere. Women may well feel at a disadvantage in other places but they would never admit it out loud.

D0oinMeCleanin Sun 29-Sep-13 02:56:01

I had this when Virgin Media supplied us with a new router after the one I bought to replace the one they gave us that never worked packed in.

A seemingly nice man came and disconnected my X-box, Wii, the wi-fi network and my PC and then connected a shiny, new Virgin Hub, which he tested with his fancy t'inernet checker thingy wot-not. After which he declared "Your router is all working now love, alls you need to do is wait for your bloke to come home and he can set up all your x-box and stuff again and you'll be able to watch your filums again n stuff" angry

I asked him if he would stay and explain to "my bloke" what a home network was and could I not just re-do it myself as it was me who set it all up in the first place. He hmmed at me. Needless to say I complained loudly both on their FB page and to their customer support helpline. He was "re-trained" apparently.

Boosterseat Sun 29-Sep-13 17:19:50

I work with a lot of men, they all happen to be completely hopeless with a pc.

Imagine the look of shock when I pulled out crimpers and knocked up a new network cable.

Im pretty sure they thought hair crimpers were about all women could manage.

I proper love being a nerd grin

wordyBird Sun 29-Sep-13 17:59:37

Good work Boosterseat.
Not tried that yet, will have to give it a go.

I like Lordlurkin's 'teach you how to fish' approach; I prefer to do this too, if the audience is at all receptive. That way people can gain confidence and competence, and perhaps help someone else.

Just to clarify, I've no problem with nerds of any sex, they are my kind of people. My objection is assumed competence/lack of competence based solely on gender.

Math that's an interesting point - you find the ' can't possibly do this' attitude is more prevalent in the UK? I wonder why that is

Well done D0oin, some people are just so stupid.

Boosterseat Sun 29-Sep-13 21:20:22

You're not wrong Birdy, like the goon at work who thought I would have a sewing kit in my office because I'm a mother?

He was having a right larrf, I can't even wonder web grin

ErrolTheDragon Mon 30-Sep-13 10:44:15

>I get this at work but with removal of spiders.
DH and I work from home and I'm the designated Spider Removergrin. Even if its up high somewhere that he could reach but necessitates me standing on a chair.

DontGiveAwayTheHomeworld Tue 01-Oct-13 14:57:42

DP does all the techie/DIY stuff, but then he actually enjoys it. You should see him with a flat pack, he's like a kid in a toy shop! I could do it myself, but I honestly can't be bothered. Then again, there was the time he came home to me on a stepladder changing the hallway light bulb. He goes "oh, I'll do that for you, don't want you to hurt yourself." Well, thanks, but I'm already up the ladder, and you're just as likely to fall off it as I am (he's not much taller than me, so would still have to use the ladder). So maybe he does see it as men's work.

Funniest one is cars, I think, rather than techie stuff, since cars are seen as such a masculine thing. Every time I've had a flat tyre, a man has stopped to 'help' me. I'd rather do it myself, thanks, at least then I know it's done right, and I can do it in about half the time they take.

DanglingChillis Wed 02-Oct-13 23:49:29

I call IT at work to fix the computers. They are both male and female, but some of the men deliberately do things quickly and don't bother teaching you how to correct the problem yourself. at homme DH does it but since he works in IT that seems reasonable, I'll deal with the plumbing and car though. I have been known to 'ask a man' to replace a tyre though but since I am the manager of the man I asked and earn a lot more than him I think that's OK.

registary Fri 04-Oct-13 01:20:03

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

Threalamandaclarke Mon 07-Oct-13 19:18:02

lifeisontheup the possession of a penis does not automatically make you not scared of spiders*

as someone with grade A arachnaphobia I was might pissed off when I discovered this after moving in with [now DH] angry grin

EBearhug Tue 08-Oct-13 21:57:48

If you haven't listened to Wendy Hall on A Life Scientific, please try and find half an hour to do so - it was really good. Towards the end, she quotes Karen Spärck Jones saying, "Computing's too important to be left to men."

EBearhug Tue 08-Oct-13 21:58:46

Let's see if I'm sufficiently technically able to add a clickable link...

Kleptronic Tue 08-Oct-13 22:06:18

I'm a web developer and a woman. I have the opposite problem, in that I am expected to be able to fix anything electrical whatsoever. I can, I do and it's progress, but it annoys me anyway! grin

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