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back to article Ladies put off tech careers by sci-fi posters, Coke cans

There's more research out this week on the vexed question of why there aren't more women in the field of computing and IT. According to the latest study, such seemingly harmless habits as putting up sci-fi posters or leaving cans of Coke about can be much more offputting than one might think. "When people think of computer …

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IT Angle

junior what?

They're letting unqualified trick-cyclists carry out psychotherapy now?

The reason there aren't more women in IT is because men are inherently sexist. If you go for interview and the place is covered in coke cans and pictures of wookies then you're in someones basement and shouldn't accept that job.

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Paris Hilton

We are clearly in the 21st century

"The computer geek surrounded by such things as computer games, science fiction memorabilia and junk food," says Sapna Cheryan, a junior trick-cyclist at the university of Washington, America.

"That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes."

Only in the 21st:

1) "Trick-cyclicism" is now a university course.

2) There is a need to specify the landmass in which "Washington" resides

3) An important trait of "masculinity" is being surroundes by games, Sci-Fi memorabilia and junk food

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Grenade

the landmass in which "Washington" resides

Not sure I see your point, unless it's that only an American would be arrogant enough to presume that Washington would always refer to a place in the US.

The original place is in England, if you must know, although I had no idea there was a university there. I expect George's ancestors were originally from those parts, hence his surname.

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I may be mistaken, but perhaps it's a joke?

I think, perhaps, that the "Junior Trick-Cyclist" is, in fact a Junior Psychiatrist...

As for where Washington is, last I looked it's in Tyne and Wear -- perhaps you require a geography lesson? We don't all live in a universe that started in 1592* and exists purely on the American continents.

*Excluding Leif Ericson, natives et. al. fro the purposes of simplicity.

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Serves them right

'2) There is a need to specify the landmass in which "Washington" resides'

For all the times they stick a picture of the Eiffel Tower on the screen with the caption

Paris, France.

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Headmaster

Location of Washington

which is also a village in West Sussex - sadly no university

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Anonymous Coward

You are not telling me men do IT!

I thought it was the exclusive conclave of women. There is TCP Barbie, Stay at Home Ken, Tampoon with their 'I am Still Coding around the Painters Better than I Ever Did' slogan.

No, shirley you jest, men don't do IT, it would boggle and baffle their little heads too much. IT is women's work, where women can be women.

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What a load of old shit

Maybe women preferred the other room because it was tidier? I'm a woman in IT but I can't stand working in a messy workplace. I'm also not a big sci-fi fan either - oh noes, I'm not normal! Bring on the soft pastels!

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@What a load of old shit

I prefer a tidy workspace too and I'm a man!

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FAIL

Fail...

...let me get this right....

They create a room full of sci-fi tak to prove that IT is nerdy, but adding coffee and nature makes things better.

I actually have NEVER worked in a place with sci-fi posters or stupid little toys or heard of one, so not sure where this stereotype comes from, except by ill informed people in the media, so on this count she is right.

Maybe the shite hours, putting up with moaning ********* and the lack of reward is more to do with it....

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That would be me, you insensitive clod!

My office has Sci Fi / Fantasy posters, toys, and so forth ... I guess I must be the source of the stereotype, since you have never seen or heard of such a place :)

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Happy

Yes please...

The chance to work in a relaxing, tastefully decorated environment instead of surrounded by posters for computer games?

An emphatic yes...

Did the stereotype put me off?

An emphatic no...

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FAIL

So they've demonstrated correlation

But who is to say they haven't got the causality bass-ackwards?

The reason geek environments are full of that shite is because the sad people that work there put it there!

People that pursue careers in IT are likely interested in technology, manifestations of future technology (sci-fi) , gadgets blah,blah - those saddos that have a preference for My Little Pony artwork and Constable landscapes will likely fuck off and do media studies or something. It's the nature of the beast.

"Jen, this is THE INTERNET"

.

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Anonymous Coward

I didn't realise that MLP=Constable!

So should I take my My Little Pony collection out of my 'geeky' IT office then? And here I thought they went quite well!

Personally, I prefer the geeky atmosphere

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Anonymous Coward

Speaking as a lady in IT...

I'd be very wary of a non-geeky looking office.

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Anonymous Coward

The correct term...

"That stereotype doesn't appeal to many women who don't like the portrait of masculinity that it evokes."

The correct term here is not 'masculinity' but 'looser'.

"A lot of men may also be choosing to not enter the field because of the stereotype" And this bring the question: did they asked "WHY" or just assumed that it was because of the stereotypes, not at all because of the worldwide crysis and the tendency of pay peanuts or offload the job to india, no eh?

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Headmaster

Shurley Shome Mishtake?

"The correct term here is not 'masculinity' but 'looser'"

I think you meant loser, as in someone who deosnt win or are you expressing the opinion that IT workers are somehow looser (i.e., not as tight as some other professions?)

Some tips for budding bloggers & commentards:

Lose - to not win

Loose - not tight

Their - belonging to a person of unspecified gender. i.e. that PC is theirs

There - placement. i.e. that PC over there

Have - A word that should ALWAYS be used in a phrase like "the government should HAVE done this, that or the other" as opposed to "of"

FFS people, it's just English

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Anonymous Coward

You're forgetting...

'Crysis - a game you can't run on full'

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FAIL

In my reply

Obviously I meant to say doesn’t win, FFS it's only English :-)

Petard, hoist own, yes, I get it :-)

Fail for my own pedantry failure

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Paris Hilton

Shame?

I thought that the stereotype also missed out:

spots

acne

more acne

spots

limited sense of clothing

flatulence (coke and fast food combinations along with closet vegetarianisms)

and

dubious or non-existent personal hygiene?

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Unhappy

It's a slippery slope.

"..... computer geek surrounded by such things as computer games, science fiction memorabilia and junk food,"

Has it come to this? When I started in this business it was easy to spot a true geek in his lair. The desk was laden to the gunwales with half-empty coffee cups and overflowing ashtrays, you were able to cut chunks out of the air in the vicinity with a blunt knife to build a wall, and there'd be some arcane bit of COBOL, FORTRAN, RPG or such glowing in baleful green on the screen.

It'll be *diet* bloody coke next.....

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Coat

hmmmm....

..."my stack of disposable coffee cups is nearly as high as my monitor", he says looking around at the stacks of hardware (working and knackered piles) and large technical diagram of custom boards and FADC chips.

Maybe I should clean up that coffee stain seeping through the unsorted mess of documents to my right and possibly hoover the crumbs out of my keyboard.....nah, I'll get on with writing some code.....

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Anonymous Coward

They were offered a choice

Meanwhile, in the real world, you take any job you can get.

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Pint

Girly IT

I agree, this is the sort of stuff they need http://www.guy-sports.com/humor/pictures/picture_makeup.htm

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It's pretty simple

If you don't *want* a career in IT, don't have one.

If you do, a few Coke cans and Chewbacca posters aren't going to put you off when compared to, say, working 8 hours per day, getting out of bed early to catch the train, etc.

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Really?

Empty Coke tins and Half-eaten junk food lying about is just lack of cleanliness... and I severely doubt that it would be any different if it were Empty Wine Glasses and Half-Eaten Salad Bagettes.

But more seriously, what on Earth does having Pastel Watercolours on the walls have to do with Tech work?

SciFi memorabilia is a cliche precisely *because* the type of people that gravitate towards tech work tend to have (generally speaking, there are plenty of exceptions) similar tastes in books, TV, films, movies and games. I suspect it would be extremely difficult to find an IT workplace where a sizable proportion of the residents, for example, had never seen Star Wars/Star Trek and didn't have a Monty-Pythonesque sense of humour. (And probably, if given the option, they'd all jump at the chance to have a life size Chewbacca or Optimus Prime standing in the corner...)

IT work is generally unattractive for the majority of the general public because it the traditional programmer/helpdesk roles are thankless jobs and require mastery of a large amount of otherwise pointless and boring information. Therefore, these jobs only tend to appeal to people who ENJOY mastering such pointless information. The kind of people who would quite happily argue with George Lucas to his face over whether or not "Han Shot First".

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pfft

What's the point in dressing IT up so women'll join? If they're nerds, they'll join. If not fuck 'em. Regardless of gender they're either IT nerds or asshats.

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Anonymous Coward

So

"If they're nerds, they'll join. If not fuck 'em."

You don't sleep with she-nerds, then...?

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FAIL

This is a title

Presumably, when they interviewed women for the position of Garbage Collection; the rotting food, and overpowering stench, and working in the freezing rain, put them off? Hence the 99% male dominated garbage collection industry. If only those ladies had been interviewed in a room with a plant and a coffee cup, we could have finally had the 50/50 split the garbage collection industry so desperately needs.

Woman burnt their bras for equality, and yet so few choose careers in garbage collection and sewer maintenance. We need to end the stereotype that these are dirty smelly jobs. Perhaps a crèche facility would improve things?

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Coat

Er, no.

It isn't the decor or the geekery that's off-putting, that's just the territory that we have to operate in, It's the rampant boyishness and casual sexism that get my goat. But that's probably just me being a humourless feminist, eh boys?

Oh, mine's the donkey jacket - it goes so well with these Doc Marten's, don't you think?

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Joke

Er, no...

"But that's probably just me being a humourless feminist, eh boys?"

Yes, yes it is.

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WTF?

Seriously?

Is this actual scientific research?!! If people are getting paid to do this then maybe I should leave IT and go and throw on my lab coat and make up complete rubbish!

As a woman in IT I don't care if the guys desks are full of coke cans and if we have 'geeky' posters on the walls then so what? I wanted to work in IT not a Laura Ashley showroom...

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FAIL

No...seriously you

I'd suspect you would do yourself a favor if you refrained from speaking about things you clearly have no clue about. It's embarrassing. Nothing personal, same goes for most commentards above, by the way.

"Is this actual scientific research?!"

Just because you think you're good at rubbish it does not mean you can do it. You failed even here, for crying out loud. The report is NOT about science. It's psychology. Completely different type of endeavor -- although some psychologists sometimes do try to get the credibility of science by trying to "look scientific". They shouldn't. Hasn't worked so far, because it is too complex. They would do better sticking to what they can do than to pretend being scientists and giving everyone, including them, a bad name.

Second, your insignificant anecdotes or opinions are completely irrelevant. Anyone with a minimum of scientific literacy knows that things like "but I am an X and I don't do Y" is not evidence. It's all about tendencies and general rules. A bell curve, for the sake of example; not everyone falls on the middle, but most do, and those are the one who get the most "votes". Who does not know that does better staying in IT, indeed.

And finally, from what the article says and as I see it this research is valid in its field (which I'm kind of guessing, since I'm a scientist and not a psychologist or sociologist). And it's not necessarily about what is, but how people perceive it to be. THAT's what is the most important sometimes. It does not matter if there is no single place on real-life Earth that looks like the geek environment office described in the article; what matters is how people see it. Changing perceptions can be important, and to change them one has to first identify them. I would expect that something like that would be easy to understand by someone with the amount of schooling needed to be in IT. Maybe I "misoverestimated" you lot?

You guys apparently don't understand humans. Nor do I.

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Anonymous Coward

good

People our defence fields to repel stupid people are working! Continue the sterotype defence.

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gls

What a load of balls

I'm a girl software engineer. My desk is easily the messiest in my workarea, it's generally stacked high with old Diet Coke cans and lipgloss.

Quite probably the type of women involved in the research aren't really the type of women who would thrive in IT.

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WTF?

What??

I have worked in IT for most of my adult life and while yes some guys in IT have a preference to guzzling coke/coffee and enjoyed some sci/fi I have never seen coke cans stacked high or had geeky posters up in any of the companies I have worked in.

Heck, if I was able to be untidy and sit there geeking out talking about sci/fi and playing games all day instead of having to listen to people complaining their mouse is not working right or how their computer is acting "funny" I would take that job in a heartbeat!!

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FAIL

Bad Science is Bad!

I've worked in IT for my whole employment, it may be a mere 12 years but I have never been in an office/computer room where there have been stacks of coke cans and sci-fi posters. An IT manager I worked for came in once and had a barny that we had a Holly Valance calendar hidden away between desks out of sight of the general public because it was "smutty". She was fully clothed throughout. No environment I've seen fits the stereotypes presented here, all they're managing to qualify is that people with no interest in IT have even less interest when shown a workplace that has no resemblance to any office in the real world... bravo!

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Stop

Change the record

It's about time they stopped trying to increase the proportion of women in tech.

I have 2 nieces who are very bright and had the ability to do science A Levels, but preferred arts and ended up doing degrees in Art and Music.

If women aren't generally attracted to tech, let them excel in subjects that really interest them.

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FAIL

That's right...

"If women aren't generally attracted to tech, let them excel in subjects that really interest them."

Yeah, that's right. They should stay in their places. KKK .

(Kinder, Küche und Kirche, if you're wondering what the hell hooded nuts have to do with all this)

I've heard there were good old times when them wimin weren't attracted to voting, participating in politics or generally working outside of home either. They excelled at what they excelled at, it was great. Why change?

Just the natural way of things, right? Unbelievable...

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FAIL

no u

You have heard there were good old times when them wimin weren't attracted to voting? I think you haven't heard that.

You read a comment saying that women don't belong in tech jobs? I don't think you did actually.

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Paris Hilton

What's that sound?

That? That's just the sound of the point flying high above AC's head...

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Joke

Wedding planning

As a blokey boy i would have liked to be a wedding planner but all the lace and flowers and candles and blushing women put me off, can the whole industry be changed so i can feel more at home please!!!

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Pint

@Stef 4

"Woman burnt their bras for equality, and yet so few choose careers in garbage collection and sewer maintenance."

Good point!

Yet there seems to be no shortage of women from the affluent west choosing to enter the pornography industry. It's a funny old world!

I'm fed up with maintaining rotting code mixed with the overpowering stench of management incompetence. Why would anyone want to become a software engineer / programmer these days?

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Bollocks.

People not trained or interested in computing nor psychology, are surveying other people who are also not in, nor interested in computing, whether or not they might be interested in computing based on environmental changes, even though they clearly showed they weren't interested in the first place.

These trick-cyclist clowns aren't even qualified to ask "Would you like fries with that?"

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Pastel wookies and half eaten images of nature

I'd just be glad to work somewhere that isn't a fucking dungeon (and not the interesting sort either)

The current office I work in has early 80s decor & furniture, but at least the 90s are only a few years away

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Welcome

No, really, where do I sign?

So all we have to do is buy an Art™ or two (of the random bland screen-printed nonsense on canvas wrapped round a matchwood-frame variety) invest in a few pots of brown and beige paint, bland everything up a bit and we too can share our workplace with a bunch of vacuous idiots?

Please somebody - hold me back.

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Could it be simply down to primal attributes?

Its often accepted that men are inherently problem solvers, and work in a logical format.

Women are little more airy fairy, ruling by emotion and are inherently less prone to be problem solvers.

These are typical primal attributes.

They certainly are not exclusive to either gender, but may have a simpler way of explaining the IT divide.

There are certain job classes that are dominated by women, Nursing/Caring for one. Other classes are dominated by men, mechanics, IT.

I would just wish the PC brigade would get of its high horse of "must fulfill XXX quota of <choose differing party> to show we are a PC industry". Its a crock of horse manure.

As someone said earlier , the job is what it is.., stop window dressing. The women who want to be in IT, will do it, regardless of decor, the men who want to be nurses will do so regardless of emasculation fears.

I couldnt give two hoots what breed the person across the desk is, provided they can do the job, and are a semi-decent co-op/DM player.

Other than that..

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Anonymous Coward

When I started...

...there were lots of women in IT and very few geeks (I can only think of one in my first job). They'd all followed the same route as the men: they were originally accountants.

These days, IT is dominated by geeks. Girls geeks don't seem to fully embrace their geekiness until their 20s (as opposed to boys who start around 10) so they miss out on a proper IT education. This is why the majority of girl geeks are graphic designers.

The geek / IT person divide still exists as can be seen in all the people above who have never worked in an office with toys, scifi, etc.

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Heart

Some hotties of the past

http://www.grenadepod.com/2009/11/25/sysadmins-of-the-past/

and look, no coke cans!!!

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Unhappy

Coffee?

What is the obsession with this brown watery drink?

I can't stand the stuff. The smell alone makes me ill. I've even tried forcing down a few cups going for the kill or cure method. Felt worse than any hangover I've had on booze.

Many a book store has a coffee section. No more will I be thumbing the pages and smelling that new book smell unless I buy online. Shopping malls are becoming a no go area for me. I don't want to inhale costa's fumes. I shop like a ninja now. In, grab and go.

As for posters. The only ones we have round here are work related anyway. No fancy prints or geeky posters to be found. Yet its all blokes apart from the odd secretary.

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