back to article Microsoft invests $1m in IT girls

Microsoft has made its second million-dollar grant to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to support the advancement of women in IT. Founded in 2004, NCWIT is a coalition of over 170 corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits working to expand women's participation in …

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  1. jake Silver badge

    Sexist bastards.

    Well, that's what someone would say if it was US$1 million to get more men into the kitchen.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Women in "REAL" IT Jobs

    I'm guessing that about 75% of the women who do hold those 24% of IT jobs are probably Project Managers and Business Analysts or the equivalent and don't actually hold "real" IT jobs. Most women seem to jump out of the technical side of IT and into the business side as quickly as they can.

  3. lukewarmdog
    Paris Hilton

    Face of Microsoft

    They could just get Kate Moss to do the adverts and more people would buy whatever was being sold.

    I'm all for equality but positive discrimination is wrong, women make up half the population and are clearly doing other jobs than trying to become CEO of some stupid IT company. That will be a million dollars please.

  4. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
    Headmaster

    NCWIT

    NCWIT, how do you pronounce that, Nit-Wit.

    I find it very hard to take such groups seriously, isn't it strange who there is always some group that is complain that there aren't enough women in some role.

    I guess we will have true gender equality when we get some feminist group demanding that 45% of female primary school teachers should be replaced by men, all in the interest of gender balance of course.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh please. You're killing me.

    "and they are innovative technical thinkers"

    I love women as much as the next guy. Women have their role in society, but innovative? In 28 years in IT I've never seen a woman come up with an answer to a difficult technical problem that she'd not read somewhere.

  6. Brian 29
    Unhappy

    NOT Booth Babes?

    I saw the headline in my rss feed and thought this would be about booth babes. I was a little disappointed, but I guess I should have known better when it didn't say NSFW....

  7. joe_bruin
    Coat

    broad opportunities

    "in a world dependent on innovation, it means the ability to design technology that is as broad and creative as the people it serves." Were I writing about women in technology, I would refrain from using the word "broad" to describe "the people"

  8. Carrie 2

    There is a simple reason why there are few Women in top IT jobs

    There is a simple reason why there are few Women in top IT jobs.

    I started working for the City in 1886 - financial data - futures and options - before the days of X25.

    I wrote in assembler 6502, Z80, 68000.

    I worked for a man who was part of the IEEE and helped to set the X25 standard.

    And we worked on the early ISDN standards 1990.

    I hit a glass ceiling at about 28.

    I suffered a huge amount of harassment and misogynist attitudes.

    My son - now 18 was born in 1991, and I was glad to go freelance.

    The women who should be at the top now were all driven out by completely crap maternity schemes because all the firms had secretaries that regularly got pregnant and left.

    Thus the schemes were tailored to people who were not valued by the company.

    It was a difficult era to be a woman in IT. I was the only female software communications engineer I knew. (apart from Verity of course - <waves!/>

    I left about 3 months after a new Marketing manager was appointed and cancelled a trip to Germany I had booked on the basis that "German Engineers wouldn't take me seriously".

    He was impossible to work with, and no I didn't take them to court.

    More recently I did a three month contract with a web development company, but it really didn't work out.

    Attitudes have not changed, And worse than that a 40 something woman in the huge all male communal office, really brought out the worst in the senior programmer who was 28.

    I guess they felt that something like their Mum was watching them.

    So I was an IT Girl in London in the late '80s, with a large motorbike and attitude.

    But I have since earned my living by being a trusted consultant and programmer

    web thingy etc.

    I am very happy with the way it has gone, I have freedom, work, and no blokes trying to tell me what I can or can't understand.

    Carrie

    an original IT Girl

  9. Anonymous John
    Paris Hilton

    ""Women make up half the world’s population,"

    Wow! You learn something new every day.

    Paris because she's one of them.

  10. Robert Pogson
    Linux

    Dates, 1985?

    Wasn't that the year M$ started that other OS? Could it be that women do not want to be enslaved? Good decisions the ladies have made. Perhaps the rise of GNU/Linux will bring them back to IT.

  11. Combat Wombat
    Troll

    Because they are smarter than us in some ways..

    I just came off a week averaging 9 hrs a day, and was in the office till 1am this morning, re imaging a render farm, that was plagued with virii.

    No girl I know in IT would show that kind of work ethic, they would have piked off much earlier than that.

    Women don't want to do IT, because for the most part, it is a thankless job, with long hours, and lots of monotony. They would rather do touchy feely stuff like nursing, marketing or marrying a rich lawyer.

    I have worked in the health care industry, and the nurses there are 99% female. So why don't we have massive campaigns to get more men into nursing?

    I would love more women in IT, but it'll never happen, well not above anything more than helldesk.

    thank gods for redbull, only reason I am awake today. :D

  12. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Dilemma

    I can not comment in any way, shape, or form without sounding like a sexist pig. However, here goes: Reverse/Positive discrimination grants like this are usually is the brain-child of someone with a single minded agenda that ignores that the money would be better spent elsewhere. There are very few women in IT because they do not want to be in IT. Spend the $1 million on getting women into careers they want. Daughters of rich families do not become assembly line workers, maids, or receptionists. I can foresee this money being ladled onto women who do not need the cash or those that would not normally take, and have no real interest in, IT taking free courses simply because it didn't cost anything and would look good on a resume.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Ladies in IT

    Girls don't bother it has to be the most undervalued, stressing job anyone can do. You can sleep easier, be paid more and take less crap from the powers-that-be by doing other things. I myself am trying to get out after spending 10 years banging my head against a brick wall. I am sure there will be loads of peps who will disagree with me but I bet a larger number agree. Most companies haven't got a clue what they want do / acheive from the use of IT and I don't know if having more of the fairer sex can better illucidate those answers.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All Males Boycott MicroSoft

    leave MS to the girls.

  15. tom 24

    Call my cynical...

    "Tech workers cost money; how can we increase competition so they'll be cheaper? Hey, if women weren't put off by the horror of a tech career, that would nearly double the number of qualified applicants for any position! How can we (quickly and relatively cheaply) sell women on the idea that a tech career is fun and rewarding?"

    *sigh* Why aren't they trying to discourage men, that's what I want to know!

  16. Cheshire Cat
    WTF?

    Seems they have more chance to succeed

    The figures say that 18% of the qualifications are gained by females, but they get 24% of the jobs.

    Doesn't that meant that females have MORE chance of succeeding than males, IF they CHOOSE to start down the IT track?

    I will take these things more seriously when equal effort is put into balancing out the lack of males in Teaching and Nursing (and all the GPs and dentists here seems to be female as well, for some reason)

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Commentards and

    NCWITs

  18. Carrie 2

    That other OS

    I wrote in C for the 68000, the boys used to nick the atari at lunchtime to play games,

    meanwhile I was writing code for the 68000. From the board up.

    I am very bored with the attitude of most of the respondents.

    The OS was GEM

    anyone remember that?

    Cx

  19. Steve Taylor 3
    Alert

    @Krakenfart

    > I guess we will have true gender equality when we get some feminist group demanding that 45% of female primary school teachers should be replaced by men, all in the interest of gender balance of course.

    I take it you've never read the newspapers then? People are always going on about how we need more male teachers at the primary level - and I agree with them.

    We also need more women in IT, if only because Krakenfart would find it threatening.

  20. Steve Roper
    FAIL

    @Steve Taylor 3 Re: Krakenfart

    No, Krakenfart is right on the money. Feminism isn't about *equal* rights, it's about *women's* rights. That's why it's called FEMinism.

    A few years ago we had a similar campaign here in Australia to get more men into teaching positions and the government proposed a subsidy for men entering teacher-training courses. What happened?

    The whole scheme was kiboshed within weeks of the proposal by angry feminists in the Education Department and the so-called "Equal Opportunity" Commission, who called the scheme sexist and discriminatory against women. They did not, however, utter so much as a squeak when TAFE (technical college) started an equally discriminatory program to get more women into the IT courses. But such double standards are par for the course these days.

  21. Goat Jam
    Paris Hilton

    @Steve Taylor

    "I take it you've never read the newspapers then?"

    Indeed. But the reality is that what you read in newspapers and what happens in reality are two entirely different things.

    They tried exactly that in Australia a few years back. A private organisation offered half a dozen scholarships to men to try and encourage more men in to the primary school system.

    The feminists of course went into full female hysteria mode and accused them of all manner of crimes and promptly sued them in the courts under our sex discrimination laws.

    The scholarships were pulled and only returned after they promised to offer "an equal number of scholarships to women"

    Go figure.

  22. Wade Burchette Silver badge

    Square peg in a round hole

    While I do not doubt there is a glass ceiling for women in IT, there is more to it than that.

    When I was in college for computer science and math, there were plenty of ladies in both classes. More so for math because of common requirements. The longer I was there, the fewer and fewer girls in both computer science and math. I had many computer science courses that were all male. I can guarantee you this, it was never because of bigotry. There were always girls in my math classes, but they were the vast minority.

    Every person has a different way of thinking. Some are better at logic which makes them better with computers and math. Quite often, I found people asking me what this C++ code was doing when it was crystal clear to me, this was both men and women. Furthermore, like it or not, men and women do think differently. The glass ceiling cannot explain why many girls do not take computer classes or many math classes. Instead of trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole by worrying about being "equal", why not exploit what each person is good at? Focus on a person's strength and minimize their weakness. Instead, we have a culture now that wants to magnify a weakness just to be "equal". We are equal, we all have something we are good at and something we are bad at. I realize this is not the PC way of thinking, but it is the smart way of thinking. We would be a lot happier if we stopped trying to force equality by forcing people to do something they are not good at.

    I know male dominated professions can be hard on the ladies. So if a woman truly is good at computers, she should be rewarded and not held back.

  23. Charles Manning

    re: Carrie

    up it sure looks like you got done over badly, but that was then and things have moved on a bit. I think most places will be a lot more female friendly now. We can't correct the injustices you might have suffered 20 years ago by giving modern women preferential treatment.

    Perhaps though your experience is not just due to being female. Perhaps you're just abrasive etc. If the office culture was to use the Atari for games at lunch time then just saying 'the boys nicked it' is you making sex into an issue.

    If things are going in the right direction then government or think-tank interference is quite likely not helping. Society can often fix itself without interference. Here in NZ, most graduate doctors are now female. We don't have many female garbage people, but no doubt that will equalise too with time.

  24. Roger Jenkins

    discrimination

    I keep seeing in Comments, references to 'reverse', 'positive' and 'negative' discrimination. There is only discrimination or no discrimination, there are no shades of discrimination

  25. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Sexual Equality

    Microsoft has made its second million-dollar grant to the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) to support the advancement of women in IT.

    and this is equality how? i thought all those men only institutes were illegal under equality laws and, if so, how come something like the NCWIT is allowed to exist (I guess its like the Black Policeman Associate, thats about as racially equal as it gets isnt it. We either do equality or we dont - if we do then lets do it properly.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Pint

    My 2d...

    This is just discrimination. No ifs, no buts, just discrimination.

    If you are demanding ‘equality’ why don’t you demand that 50% of sewer cleaners are women? Perhaps we should demand that half of all builders be female (certainly improve the standard of “builder’s bums”.)

    Like Carrie I too started programming ‘the bare metal’. I remember GEM, not a bad system but do you remember the Apple LISA? Now _that_ was ahead of it’s time. I also remember teaching users to use word processors. Some, of both genders, would just refuse to use the machines as they (the users) weren’t “technical.” They screamed when their beloved typewriters were removed and they had a choice of WP or dole. Other users, again of both genders, loved the new environment and thrived. Some people gaining promotions that never would have been possible under the previous system.

    I have worked with, managed and trained technicians and DBAs at all skill levels from HND to MSc. Some were excellent some were carp. The overriding factor was the way that the person thought. If you think the right way then you will be good at your chosen field. Often your job chooses you as you move from one area to another one that suits you much better.

    Some people are suited to IT work as some are suited to other fields. I can build a fsckin’ mean DB, though for me gardening should involve concrete and green paint; plus somewhere to plug in the beer fridge.

    Please stop trying to get 50% of whoever doing whatsoever. It isn’t going to work and it upsets the people already doing the job.

    And if you are _REALLY_ trying for equality, I have noticed that only 50% of the worlds’ population are currently allowed to bear children. Now work on my rights as a man to bear a child. THEN we will have equality.

  27. Tony S
    Stop

    Grow up!

    Personally, I don't give a damn what colour skin or hair someone has, what religion they follow, what language they speak, how their reproductive organs are arranged, or what they like to do in their spare time.

    The question is, can they actually do a good job?

    There are a lot of people (mostly male) who are convinced that they are the bees knees when it comes to IT - but I would suggest that there are a large number that are suffering with delusions of adequacy. Too many of them have at best so-so skills in one or two areas, but are completely out of their depth in others.

    There are simply too many people in the industry that bull shit their way into the job because they make it sound like they know what they are doing - but if they were to undertake any form of actual examination of their skills, would likely fail quite badly.

    I for one would like to see more representation from the fairer gender

  28. Bassey
    Thumb Down

    Pile of shite

    What a pile of shite. Why aren't people donating millions to get more men working in nail-bars?

    Sexism is sexism. There is no such thing as positive discrimination.

    If women really want to be treated equally they need to get together and beat the living shit out of the few "feminists" whose constant "it's sooo unfair" bleating gives women a bad name (maybe starting with tennis players).

    Men and women are equal but the sooner some people realise that they aren't actually the same the better off we'll all be.

  29. Toastan Buttar
    Linux

    Just a couple of observations.

    The best engineers are those who can 'feel the pain' of a system and figure out a way to fix it. You require to empathise with and care about a machine. It seems to me that this is more of a 'guy thing'. <shrug>

    In saying that, some of the best engineers I've worked with over the years have been women; women seem to excel at producing solid, reliable and maintainable code whereas men appear to excel at innovative solutions and firefighting and have more of a tendency to leaving the tidying up to others. Pioneers vs homesteaders ?

    Tux, cos girls like penguins !

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Reminds me of a news article I saw last year,...

    IBM have apparently built a biological CPU which uses chemical impulses to switch. A prototype has been built and has been measured at quantum-computing speeds.

    Unfortunately they built it using a female genome, so 4 years later it still can't decide what colour it wants to be!

  31. Ian Ferguson
    Flame

    We'll get more women in IT

    when Asperger's Syndrome starts affecting them as well ;-)

  32. The Commenter formally known as Matt
    Boffin

    It depends where you are in the world...

    The legality of giving an under-represented group (race, sex etc) a ‘push’ or Positive Discrimination/Affirmative Action as its known, depends on where you are. In the US and South Africa it is a legal requirement, however throughout Europe it is illegal.

    This is according to an Equality and Diversity course I had to attend recently (Due to starting a new job, not complaints!) The course also highlighted a couple of police forces (in the UK) who has recently been found guilty of positive discrimination and got large fines!

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Badgers

    Girls are silly

    and icky. They're banned from the gang hut.

  34. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    sigh

    I know you folks love to get hysterical about this stuff, but please remember that encouragement and support given to one group is not necessarily to the detriment of another.

    And please, please drop the women/blacks/disabled/gays crap. It's getting really old and it makes you look, well, like a galloping bigot who's only waiting for an excuse to bash somebody who isn't the same as you. I'm sure you're all better than that, aren't you?

  35. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: sigh

    And no I'm not saying there's no room for reasonable debate on this issue, it's controversial. It's just that - well, if you feel the urge to be a complete cock, take a breath and try and figure why that is, and if it's really necessary.

    I just want less complete cockery around here. It's probably because I'm a girl, or something.

  36. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    That's a lot of flights to India

    ...where those IT jobs will be.

    Bill, with the horn!

  37. DZ-Jay

    Ok, I'll bite

    I'm a computer programmer by trade (software developer I think they call me these days), male, and at my age I'm getting pretty sick of it (darn kids and their tweeties and web-two-point-ohs!). I make quite a bit of money, but wouldn't mind finding a more rewarding career.

    So, what I'd like to know is, where are the insentive programs for me to consider a career in a field in which my gender is under-represented?

    -dZ.

  38. Jacqui

    @Carrie

    Carrie,

    My employer has just two staff now - Me and Donna. The male staff have all left for career moves.

    I have been with my current employer for over 10 years. Prior to that I worked for Cray Research developing comms software and was the Cray rep for the OSI X.400 working group. My name is included on a RFC somewhere in the "thank you's".

    I started on C= Pets and Z80./6502 microcontroller boards - I was the one who found the "dir delete" bug in the pre-release VMS filesystem - and noted that the same bug/symptom was in the early NTFS filesystems. In those days hacking meant runing admin tasks via the MAIL service under VSM and adding ^K's to the VMS logs to hide the log entries. :-)

    My sister who has a disabled boy now has time to study and goes to one of these funded womens workshops courses - the courses are brilliant - she wants to do a degree and I am trying to get her to avoid IT like the plague - she is by far the cleverest of us and could do some other subject that would actually lead to a job. Her IT skills are already good enough for work but her age 40+ means she will never find work in the UK - unless I can find her work with me.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Sigh

    >I know you folks love to get hysterical about this stuff, but please remember

    >that encouragement and support given to one group is not necessarily to the

    >detriment of another.

    Except when it's men?

    Sod this emasculated society, I'm off to Iran where the bitches behave.

  40. Gav Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Sweeping Generalisation

    "Women ...are innovative technical thinkers."

    Sounds like a unsupportable sweeping generalisation. I'm sure some women are. I am equally certain that some aren't. Just like people in general in fact.

  41. Vanir
    Flame

    Discriminated union

    The union between women and men? I do not see mention of the word teamwork in the article or in the comments. As for the words 'rights' and 'equality' I have to admit I do not know what they are supposed to mean in the theoretical sense never mind what practical benefit they are supposed to give all members of the society that promotes these ideologies.

    Discrimination will always exist; it cannot be outlawed into non-existence; neither can bad behaviour which is what some so-called 'discrimination' is.

    Just respect your team members be they female or male, clever or stupid, pretty or ugly, or whether they are like you or not. Work with them not against them.

    My 12 years experience of programming and software engineering in the various companies that have employed me in those roles pre-dispose me to actively dissuade people from entering the profession if it can be deserved to be so entitled.

    Combat Wombat: 'Women don't want to do IT, because for the most part, it is a thankless job, with long hours, and lots of monotony.' So true! Men do not want to do this!

    Ladies in IT: 'Girls don't bother it has to be the most undervalued, stressing job anyone can do. You can sleep easier, be paid more and take less crap from the powers-that-be by doing other things. I myself am trying to get out after spending 10 years banging my head against a brick wall.' Boys, do not bother.

    I read that the average age of UK people active in IT work in the UK is around 45 and is getting older. There are not enough UK newcomers coming through to reverse this trend; the intra-company transfers that are presently in-fashion with the large employers will exacerbate the situation over the long term if allowed to persist.

    So it is not a question of encouraging females to enter the IT profession as programmers and software engineers it is a question of making the profession attractive to all. Until the 'profession' becomes a respected profession then the argument of gender is superfluous.

    One company I worked for introduced a scheme that wanted the software developers to work 12 hours a day for the next 6 months rewarded by a bonus scheme that effectively meant if an individual developer did this and whose efforts were judged to be 'good work' then the extra hours worked over and above the nominal contracted hours would gain the said developer £2/hour. You may ask why this effort was needed in the first place. I will answer: incompetent management.

    The IT profession cannot be made attractive until the wide-spread incompetence of management in IT, and in general, is addressed.

    At the recent ACCU conference there was a session named 'Welcome Crappy Code - The Death of Code Quality' by Nicolai Josuttis (http://accu.org/content/conf2009/accu09-josuttis-keynote-crappy_code-090422.pdf). There is one slide that says:

    Rule of Global Market Economy

    Telco Development Manager according to

    Jim Highsmith:

    “You can rant and rave all you want about

    software quality (or lack there of), but

    the marketing guys run the world

    and they want market share now...

    Period, end of discussion.

    My job is to deliver on time on budget, with

    the ‘appropriate’ quality metrics".

    Did you get that? The marketing guys rule the world. In other words you are not competing with other developers in other companies but that you, the poor coder. are only the marketing guys' cannon-fodder for them to compete between each other. So is the profession going to be made more attractive?

    Further on in the article:

    When marketing guys, The Contollers, rule the quality of the average programmer shrinks.

    More:

    Therefore:

    − Accept that bad code quality is common

    − React accordingly

    Where's the exit sign?

    More:

    Disenchanted?

    Welcome to the reality of the 21st century!

    Female or male, it makes no difference.

    But if your a sales and marketing troll ......

  42. Adam 52 Silver badge

    @carrie

    You weren't one of the original IT girls. ICL had mixed teams in the 70s, I think the team that wrote their first X25 implementation was 30% female - I know two of them.

    As for the glass ceiling - there are plenty of men who don't get promoted beyond the stage they reached at age 28 and they don't blame it on their gender.

    If you want success you have to work for it, have a lot of luck, take a few risks and stomp on a few rivals.

  43. Toastan Buttar
    Paris Hilton

    Less cockery.

    "I just want less complete cockery around here."

    I'm more of a Country fan, myself. Yeeeehaw !

  44. The Commenter formally known as Matt
    Alert

    Re: sigh

    You are right, I should have been clearer:

    Positive discrimination is, for example, after interviews you have a list of suitable people for a job, but rather than picking the best you pick someone from an 'under-represented' group. This is illegal because you are discriminating against the person who is the best because they are not a member of this group. Plenty of companies have tried this and have lost their cases in tribunal. (Yes that includes hiring a woman even when a man is better qualified / experienced etc. - still guilty)

    Positive encouragement (I think its called) is when you encourage a particular group to for a job, or for an internal promotion offer extra training. However after interview you are still required to hire the better candidate.

    (And yes, Straight, White Males have been successful in claims of discrimination - the law is meant to protect everyone)

    IANAL (I don't even play one on TV)

    >>> I just want less complete cockery around here. It's probably because I'm a girl, or something.

    Must... resist... too... easy...

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    women are the majority

    at least in our company, however, it's the analyst and management roles they gravitate to. The technical roles all tend to be male, and the few female developers we have don't really take it seriously. Most just do it as a 9-5 job without any enthusiasm or enjoyment.

    Even going back to university, and my software engineering degree, out of nearly 400 students, there were only 5 women. It just doesn't seem to be something women want to do, so why force it!

  46. Toastan Buttar
    Pint

    Glass Ceiling

    I'd say there's a glass ceiling facing anyone (of any persuasion) who decides to follow a technical career path. The prospects for promotion into the upper echelons of any company seem to be limited to those who jump ship and go into management roles.

    Now, I like working with technology, and I believe I've become better at it through years of experience in industry. Unfortunately, there don't appear to be many roles where you can continue to work hands-on with technology and get paid an amount which reflects the benefits of that experience over a fresh-faced graduate.

    Drink more beer, watch more telly, let us be thankful we have an occupation to fill. Work hard, increase production, prevent accidents and be happy. Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.

  47. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

    Replies

    @Carrie 2

    "The OS was GEM, anyone remember that?"

    Yes I do, and I liked it

    @Steve Taylor 3

    "I take it you've never read the newspapers then? People are always going on about how we need more male teachers at the primary level - and I agree with them."

    I read lots of newspapers, and listen to the radio a lot, that's why I posted that comment. Lots of pressure groups are always calling for lots of different things, and quite a lot of them are justified in what they are calling for, but most of time the never get what they are calling for because the money is never invested, there is a big difference in calling for something and investing a million green-backs in it.

    Billy Connolly says it best:

    'Women are demanding things these days: "We want things!!! Do things to meee!!! We want this, and that, a share of this, some of that, most of this and fucking ALL of that, but none of that 'cos we don't like it! And thats not all! We want it NOW! We want it yesterday, and we want more tomorrow. And the demands will all be changed by then so fucking stay awake!"'

    Let the flames begin....

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Sorry sarah, but I must respectfully disagree a bit

    Ive worked with women in IT, and the odd one of them were very good at what they did, and some of them were brilliant. They brought something different to the table when approaching some tricky problems and it was always good to get a fresh perspective like that. Female brains are wired differently, its not about bumpy bit difference or having inappropriate thoughts about co workers, that brain wiring can be a asset. Viva la difference and all that. I don't really care if someones female/black/gay/lesbian/got one leg/from mars etc. Contractors are all corporate whores and what matters is we deliver enough value for the client that they pay us in a timely manner.

    However... At larger corporate workplaces where it was mandated that a certain percentage had to be female, we ended up being saddled with the worst candidates you could imagine by resourcing. Its as if they couldnt find anyone quailified or with the relevant experience so just stuck the first one who interviewed in to meet targets, and once in they proceeded to pull the sexism card as a excuse to cover up their utter incompetence. Ive seen entire milion pound projects almost derailed due to this.

    Positive discrimination doesnt work. All it really does is annoy the existing group of people doing something, because they had to get in there on their merits, not to meet some target..

    I was a IT guy, in the city with a large motorbike too, and I hit a glass celing, as did anyone technical who rose to the top of the profession, and decided management wasn't for them.

    I still have the large motorbikes, and Im still avoiding management :)

    I remember gem, it was a load of TOS :D

  49. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Sorry sarah, but I must respectfully disagree a bit

    Of course. If you look carefully though that's not disagreement - I think support and encouragement = good, positive discrimination = bad. And to be honest the latter only makes things even worse for women because they get the blame for it. See some of the above comments.

  50. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Sorry sarah, but I must respectfully disagree a bit

    (Good comment btw. Shame you've anonymised really!)

  51. SimpleUser
    Happy

    This deserves

    some real good assesment from Ms Bee I suggest, all those 'manly' comments above should have some counterweight - keeping up the hope for a refreshing update on this ..

  52. Allan George Dyer Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    @Carrie 2

    I'm really impressed you were working in 1886, I guess your real name is Ada? I have to admit, that was before X25 was developed, but I seem to recall Camtech PADs around 1984.

    Yep, I remember GEM, and also coded on 6502 and Z80, not 68000 though.

    I've met many intelligent women, most seem too intelligent to get involved in IT.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hmm

    We do seem to have slipped off the issue and that's that they're trying to get more woman into IT, using the old "we'll bribe you till it looks the way we think it should look."

    Why is it most people got into IT? Well most of them were stuck around computers and other bits of technology from a relatevly early period in their lives, playing games and what not. So you go to school and already have some aptitude and think "jee this is easy I'll cruise along with this" a decade later and you're working in IT. You only decided to do it becouse it was easy and you were used to it.

    If you want more girls in IT then you need more little girls playing with computers and the like in their formative years - once you hit your teens the only new things you're interested are the opposite sex, having fun, getting into trouble, being rebelious, and maybe doing a subject you've never encountered before (you've encountered IT by then but if you havn't been hooked then it's just a pain in the backside.)

    You can't go "hey get into IT it's really great fun, and rewarding" once someones reached an age where they just don't give a damn. You just get a job you can get with whatever grades you've scrapped up that sounds interesting (and depending on how desperate you are to get a job) and get on with life.

    I'm all for the "hey come on join up" approach but I think it's a bit of a waste of time becouse it's already a bit too late by that point. Even for me IT was like my 50th choice way below fighter pilot, space fighter pilot, astronaught, rock star, and a whole range of other more exciting things.

    I like most people did a little thing in my head where I took potential earnings against effort and hassle. IT won. Others came out with a different solution.

  54. Lionel Baden

    @ the women

    nobody here has actually said Woman CANT just a lower percentage

    dont get me wrong there are loads of blokes who dont have a f'ing clue, but cliche's tend to have a ring of truth about them

    how many geeks here fit 50% of the profiling of a geek .....

  55. SimpleUser
    Pint

    @ Anonymous Coward (hmm)

    I go along with that, good comment! But, the thought of Microsoft tackling Kindergarten scares

    the heck out of me....

    However, a healthy Cheers to you!

  56. annabel
    Happy

    Countering Sexism is Good for Business

    As mentioned above the main reason that so many IT workers have to work long hours is cr*ppy management.

    But how to get decent management in place? Getting rid of all forms of discrimination is a good first step. Having decent IT management is very good for the bottom lines of companies where IT is a big part of what they do (like Microsoft, Apple and the other tech companies mentioned as funding this initiative.)

    As a woman who has worked in IT I have found that the most sexist men are usually a) incompetent, b) unsuitable for management and c) the beneficiaries of a vast amount of positive discrimination themselves - except they don't realise it, they just believe they have a natural entitlement to be given special help at school, training and a well paid job they can't really do.

    Presumably if there were a few nail-bar chains who thought their productivity and profitability was threatened by unpleasant anti-male attitudes amongst incompetent and lazy female nail workers they would start a 'National Council for Men in Nail Bars' to do something about the issue. But instead these nail companies seem to have concluded there is no such problem.

  57. jake Silver badge

    I should add ...

    My comment that kicked this off was observation; I've actually seen it. There was an effort to teach more men to cook at Foothill Jr. College in Los Altos a couple decades ago. The feminists went berserk. It was funny, in a sad kind of way.

    That said, my wife throws 1800 pound horses around, I do maintenance, the gardening, cooking and coding, and my daughter is a C programmer & Member of the Technical Staff working for a Fortune 50. Atypical? Perhaps. But we like it :-)

  58. JimC
    Paris Hilton

    I reckon the number of women in IT is dropping

    I'm sure there were many more twenty years ago than there are now, and if I look round where I work I reckon a rather higher proportion of the female techies are "of more mature years" than males are. It used to be quite normal to go on a technical course and meet one or two female delegates, but its very unusual now.

    Paris: because that's the only female icon here - which is significant in itself isn't it Ms Bee? We could at last have a Grace Hopper icon...

  59. windywoo
    Paris Hilton

    I've met several female programmers.

    I just finished a programming training course teaching java, visual Basic and C#. Out of about 40 people on that course 7 were girls but 3 of them were better than the males and the other 4 were at least as good. The course had been running 4 years previously and the top student in each of those classes had been female as well. Maybe its statistics like this that prompt MS to encourage women to get into IT.

    As far as teaching is concerned, my male friend (also on this course) was a teacher and he told me that there was a cry for more men to become teachers. However, he also told me that this is only on the surface, as he and another male teacher discovered the female teachers did not like male teaching methods.

    A little tidbit of information here, women represent slightly less than 50% of the world's population. More male children are born than female, 105 males to every 100 males. The reason I was given for this is that males have a higher mortality rate and this evens things out. OK, I'm not sure about the reason, but I am sure about the ratio.

  60. lukewarmdog
    Joke

    For less cockery

    Sapphos are world leaders in developing aunti virus software.

    Microsoft should spend the money on making women in IT look more attractive.

    Silicon-enhanced Valleys for all!

    I'd be happy to work underneath a stunner.

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