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silent technical privilege

(9 Posts)
lasareena Sun 16-Feb-14 11:49:21

I came across this article recently and thought I would share. It's a really interesting perspective on the lack of diversity in tech.

www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2014/01/programmer_privilege_as_an_asian_male_computer_science_major_everyone_gave.html

EBearhug Sun 16-Feb-14 12:42:58

Yes, I circulated it at work (not that anyone responded.)

It is a subject very close to my heart just now.

ChunkyPickle Sun 16-Feb-14 19:58:22

Except, as a female (non-asian) programmer, I just don't find my experiences echoed in what he says. In my experience the people I work for and with are the most focused on what you can do rather than who you are or what you look like that I've ever worked with (comparing with supermarket/sales/telephone/bar/other jobs I've done over the years)

It might be that he's an academic, he's only done internships at big, well-known companies, rather than been a jobbing programmer - I left Uni and never looked back, but I've heard on here that academia can be very woman-unfriendly.

In my opinion, the lack of women in tech starts far earlier, when at Christmas the boys hog the playstation, or at school the turtle and BBC micro, so the girls wander off and lose interest and never go back.

grimbletart Sun 16-Feb-14 21:18:37

So here's a thought. How about hogging it right back? I know boys shouldn't be so selfish but what's to stop them if girls don't stand up for themselves. And that is not victim blaming before anyone says it is: it is simply teaching our daughters that it is OK to take up your allotted space in the world.

EBearhug Sun 16-Feb-14 21:38:32

In my opinion, the lack of women in tech starts far earlier, when at Christmas the boys hog the playstation, or at school the turtle and BBC micro, so the girls wander off and lose interest and never go back.

I thought that's his point - he got all these opportunities early on, which girls don't get, that's where tech privilege starts. By the time they get to college and beyond, boys have already had goodness knows how many more hours of experience, so not only are they generally better as a result (through experience rather than aptitude.)

I think women still have to prove themselves more than men do. I am biased, though. I am currently having a disagreement at work (where I'm a unix sys admin) because exceeding the performance of my peers is apparently still not good enough. I'm not sure if it's gender bias or personal bias. I've also had someone tell me the reason I can think logically is because I don't have enough female hormones. I think that my department can be particularly bad, which affects my view on things, but the figures for women in tech suggest things are currently getting worse, not better.

funnyvalentine Sun 16-Feb-14 21:51:15

It's an interesting article, and I think shows how privilege works in a way that saying 'I was disadvantaged' doesn't.

I work in tech, the numbers are terrible, and I think girls are turned off the field long before they get to secondary school. Which is depressing as it's a huge growing area that's well paid and with a lack of talent at the moment.

EBearhug Sun 16-Feb-14 22:20:10

It is the backbone of almost everything we do these days. It's really important that women take their part in that. Girls are interested in using IT, all the apps and so on, but when you ask if they are interested in having a career in IT, most of them say no. I think some of it is down to thinking IT jobs are just about programming and sys.admin, so we really need to get them understanding what a range of roles there are in IT these days. I hope the new plans to bring coding into schools at a young age will also help.

ChunkyPickle Mon 17-Feb-14 07:54:20

Grimble - Absolutely!

Parents (and other adults) need to see that by not making the boys share, and by calling the girls down to do other things (I seem to remember having a lot more 'entertain the relatives' duties than my cousins) they are perpetuating this.

EBearhug Tue 18-Feb-14 10:52:55

I agree with that, the having to entertain and so on.

Actually, the IT industry would benefit from more people learning to socialise. Being a techy whizz is of limited use if you can't communicate with others, especially in the workplace.

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