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Re: Female Programmers-WOT

by delegatrix (Scribe)
on Jul 13, 2001 at 17:29 UTC ( #96386=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Female Programmers-WOT

Where to start . . .

There are a lot of women in IT. Groups like DC WebWomen, San Francisco Women of the Web, DigitalEve, and WebGrrls have large numbers of members. That said, not all of these women are programmers. The growth of the Web has brought in people working various ways with new media.

I have known lots of female programmers and I have found them to be less visible in programming communities. There is most certainly a small number of women that actively participate in the perl community.

In my experience as a programmer and sys admin, I was often discouraged by the treatment I got from men (of all ages, not just the dinosaurs), who assumed that my technical knowledge lagged behind my male co-workers'. This attitude puts off a lot of women.

Carnegie Mellon's Scool of Computer Science has been studying this issue since 1995 and has a number of papers on the subject See their publications for some insight. Here are a few quotes from one:

  • " We surmise that "Geek mythology" is especially pernicious for discouraging and repelling women students."
  • "Rather than epiphany moments of falling in love with computing at an early age as described by many of our male students, female stories reflect a process in which their interest in computers emerges over a longer amount of time."
  • "From our two years of interviews we have heard many male students consistently describe the computer as the ultimate toy, as an alluring object; with many developing a fascination in the machine quite early on in life. The stories from women are more contradictory: Among the first group of women we interviewed, interest in computing was clearly linked to a larger agenda, i.e. what can computers do in the world for the betterment of people."

So what can you do to help pull them in so they're not left out of opportunities in high tech.

  • Encourgae your daughters to take science course.
  • Encourage your female staff to attend tech conferences.

    Are you a woman in tech?

  • Mentor a student or entry-level employee.
  • Become a role model for other women in tech by participating in community activities, speaking at conferences and local user group events, offering tutorials, etc.

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