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What Really Keeps Women Out of Tech

(45 Posts)
MsAmerica Wed 02-Dec-15 00:22:00

Interesting - and maybe unexpected - article

www.nytimes.com/2015/10/11/opinion/sunday/what-really-keeps-women-out-of-tech.html?_r=0

GreenTomatoJam Wed 02-Dec-15 08:14:20

I clearly remember going for interviews for my second job out of uni, and noting that when I was shown around a lab, all the men (all men) were wearing geeky t-shirts.

It wasn't that I didn't think I would fit in though (I loved all that stuff just as much as the next geek). It was that I knew that the kind of young men who wore those t-shirts tended to also be the kind of young men who mis-interpreted any amount of attention (eg. casual work chats) as romantic interest, and the thought of moving country and trying to walk that line of making friends without getting groped in the lab didn't appeal (among other things - but it was one little cross on my mental pros and cons list)

In contrast, the job I actually took, I went for a weekend to the (different) country, and they actually took me out for the evening after the interviews (all men again, but a fair smattering of girlfriends joined us) - everyone was professional sociable, without being creepy, and that sold the job to me as much as the job itself.

EBearhug Wed 02-Dec-15 09:48:25

Why is it unexpected? It's not new that geek culture, brogrammer culture, etc, can be off-putting to women. It's been known for ages that it's just one if the factors which puts women off.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Wed 02-Dec-15 17:39:40

Yes but it's probably new that people care about it.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Wed 02-Dec-15 17:40:44

It's still one of the things that puts me off and I work in it.

EBearhug Thu 03-Dec-15 00:08:40

Yes. It's mostly the crap management I struggle with - a lot of techies who've been promoted because of their technical ability, regardless of the fact they have no people-management ability. (Some do; not all.)

PassiveAgressiveQueen Thu 03-Dec-15 09:48:34

see i like all that geek stuff, but then i am spottable as a geek at 100 paces.
The only way it will change is if you get a variety of people in who do their own thing as well.
At one place our passwords were quotes from firefly, i loved it.

TriJo Thu 03-Dec-15 11:50:20

I consider myself a bit of a geek, but I'm not a huge fan of geek culture. Not a huge fan of gaming or sci-fi at all and brogrammer culture is just annoying. I'm a software developer so this makes me seem a bit weird! I'm lucky with the team I'm on in work at the moment though, it is all female and just about everyone else has children and everyone looks out for each other, which is really unusual in my experience.

VestalVirgin Thu 03-Dec-15 12:05:52

I know a woman who is in a techy subject, and she had no friends among her classmates, because they were all immature dudes. She is rather much a geek herself.

It's not the geekyness, it's the male entitlement that often seems to come with it.

EBearhug Thu 03-Dec-15 13:02:45

It's not the geekyness, it's the male entitlement that often seems to come with it.
Yes. And having to fight that much harder for every bit of recognition.

TriJo Thu 03-Dec-15 13:34:41

And on a somewhat related note, just had a comment at lunchtime out of nowhere from a male 50-something PM from another team: "Your team is more prolific at producing babies than applications" - I'm 24 weeks pregnant and another dev has a 18 month old daughter. Prick.

EBearhug Thu 03-Dec-15 13:54:05

I could say that about my own department, but it wouldn't get the same comments because they're just being manly men with their fertile sperm. (I'm impressed that got autocorrected to spermatogenesis by my phone, even if I really did mean sperm.)

PassiveAgressiveQueen Thu 03-Dec-15 15:38:14

"Your team is more prolific at producing babies than applications"

so why would women take that as an insult but men wouldn't?

as i can not see anyone taking that well.

madwomanbackintheattic Thu 03-Dec-15 15:42:46

Because it's a compliment for men 'oh, you stuuuuuds!' and a put-down for women 'you are crap at your jobs and should just go and breed somewhere quietly out of the workplace as you are wasting your time here'?

madwomanbackintheattic Thu 03-Dec-15 15:51:54

I do find that article problematic though, because of the tacit underlying acceptance that pink and Cosmo are women things and Star Wars is man stuff, ergo people will obviously feel uncomfortable in the environment opposite to their sex. (Er...)
The author mentions having a crisis of gender of her own, but still seems to believe that 'stuff' is inherently gendered. Not that the people themselves are actively gendering it, and causing the problem...

PassiveAgressiveQueen Thu 03-Dec-15 16:15:52

but the actual line says "can't get projects out" that is an insult to everyone surely?

TriJo Thu 03-Dec-15 16:31:50

My team is all-female.

BreakingDad77 Fri 04-Dec-15 09:27:18

Yes. It's mostly the crap management I struggle with - a lot of techies who've been promoted because of their technical ability, regardless of the fact they have no people-management ability

I work in civil engineering and the same could be said in this field as well.

MsAmerica Fri 04-Dec-15 23:55:21

Ebearhug, I think it’s unexpected, at least to me, because the usual stereotype is just that women don’t gravitate to what I call the “hard” fields (finance, technology, science) as much as to the “soft” fields (academia, publishing, art).

EBearhug Sat 05-Dec-15 09:38:20

I guess I have read a lot in the last few years on women in STEM, so it's not a surprise to me - there have been plenty of articles on the culture over the years. And even if you take the stereotype of women not gravitating to finance and tech and so on - doesn't hat make you ask why, rather than accepting it at face value with no further analysis?

Arrow200 Sat 05-Dec-15 19:03:24

I think that's a factor, but not the complete story - STEM disciplines are notoriously competitive, to the point of seething rage and hatred (the reason why is obvious - people in STEM don't generally have anything else going for them, and derive their personal esteem from being great at STEM - anybody who challenges that is an enemy of the highest calibre). I know when me and my friends competed, we took absolutely no prisoners and were ruthless, even if we stayed friends afterwards.

Also, guys like objects and gadgets and tools. They like numbers because that quantifies superiority and inferiority (instead of asking which one to get, you immediately get the biggest or fastest one and problem solved), and they like to have a solution for every problem that they might face, preferably one that fits in a pocket (another reason why they like pockets, to stuff tools in them), because they are looked to to be able to solve a problem, because they are the leaders in modern society and since time immemorial (or at least have the social responsibility of being the problem solvers for a while now).

Oh, and not to get too real on you folks, but men have larger brains too through the virtue of being bigger and taller than women, and are less emotional than women, making them perfect for the cold logic of technology.

onahorsewithnoname Sat 05-Dec-15 19:10:06

Eh, what??

QueenLaBeefah Sat 05-Dec-15 19:15:04

My brain may be smaller but that is because it was built for speed. wink

Missyaggravation Sat 05-Dec-15 19:25:45

Maybe overall men's heads are bigger, but I have a massive bonce, know loads of peaheaded blokes grinhmm

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 05-Dec-15 19:27:30

Compact neurons, Queen. Less far for the signals to travel smile

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