back to article Girl Geek Dinner lady: The IT Crowd is putting schoolgirls off tech

Sexism in The IT Crowd and other TV shows that chronicle of life in the tech industry is preventing women from considering a career in IT, said Sarah Lamb of women-in-tech-group Girl Geek Dinners. Jen from the IT Crowd The IT Crowd's Jen: Not an inspirational role model The portrayal of IT workers as sexist and women as …

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  1. mark1978

    "a culture of not wanting to appear to be clever among teenage girls combined with a desire not to stand out from the crowd"

    That's not limited to teenage girls, it's the same with all teenagers. Even back in the mid-90's when I was doing my GCSEs there was massive peer pressure to do poorly, or not to study.

    1. Sartori

      Completely agree, male or female, as a teenager there is so much pressure to try and blend in as those who stand out from the crowd can often end up isolated and/or bullied.

      1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

        I call it the snobbery of indifference: it's cool to be cool in the sense of not really caring about anything, and certainly not about learning. I am not sure it is a world-wide thing, I see many more people in the east doing computer science (or indeed any science or engineering course), and that includes a lot of women. I have seen a similar pattern in Uganda, where many girls do Computer Science. I think people in many non-western countries have way more respect of science and engineering, because they are all too aware of the huge benefits they bring. Many westerners are all too complacent in that respect. Many kids just want to get rich quick or be famous (often willing to debase themselves on TV for such purposes).

        Teach them the fun and excitement of science and technology early on (before puberty) and you stand a much better chance of winning them over.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. P. Lee Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: The snobbery of indifference

            +1

            I came back to the UK in the mid 80's having been in a British overseas school and was horrified to have my teachers tell me that I didn't really need to go to university if I didn't feel like it. I wondered what they thought I my reasons were for doing A-Levels.

            It isn't limited to the UK however, there is a lack of a culture of excellence at my daughters' current school which I find very disturbing.

        2. Just An Engineer
          Linux

          The problem in the West and the US in particular is, 50 percent of the population does not believe in evolution and some surveys put the number even higher. So there is no incentive to study something like science which cannot prove nor "disprove" the existence of the creation myth..

          This causes wide swaths of the population for "religious reasons" not to pursue careers in the sciences. Since it clashes with their beliefs. Sad really after all this time to put myth in front of science....

          1. NB

            The 50% not believing in evolution thing is pretty much ONLY in the US. I don't know of any European nations that glorify and revel in their ignorance to any where near the same scale as the U.S. Unfortunately, despite secularism being dominant in the UK our teenagers still seem to be under the misguided impression that being intelligent and actually working for things is somehow uncool. It's deifinitely a trend that needs to be reversed and an unfortunate by-product of a couple of generations of over privileged kids being coddled and handed everything on a plate for their entire lives.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              How does evolution affect anything? Maths? Physics? Computing? Chemistry? Medicine? Biology? Architecture? Art? Communication?

              What evolution pretends to give us is a theory of origins. That isn't quite true, it gives us a theory of development. How life comes from non-life is beyond the scope of evolution, but we don't mention that in polite company. We are here by chance with no purpose and no responsibilities. There is no hope for anything beyond what we see and beyond our lifespan. Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Plus we can have any kind of sex we want.

              A christian worldview would suggest that we were designed with a purpose, we are accountable for what we do, that there is something better beyond this flawed world, that we should avoid the things which cause people damage, that justice and mercy can and will be executed for all to see, that death does not have to be final and god will fix the things that we cannot.

              Now for the hard bit - can anyone spot which worldview is being played out logically in society?

              1. Bronny

                "How does evolution affect anything? Maths? Physics? Computing? Chemistry? Medicine? Biology? Architecture? Art? Communication?"

                It affects a huge amount! If you believe that nothing you do makes much difference anyway because a magic hand will determine all outcomes then what is the point of trying to learn how to make a difference yourself? Steve Jones has made the comment about the number of post grads in his research area (biology/medicine) and about half now do not believe in evolution. If you are not in awe of how the human body has evolved and works and adapts then why bother studying it?

              2. A J Stiles

                Is it hard work being that dense, or does it come naturally?

                "How does evolution affect anything? Maths? Physics? Computing? Chemistry? Medicine? Biology? Architecture? Art? Communication?"

                Your inability (or unwilling) to understand something is indicative of nothing beyond the fact of you being pathetic. Evolution is what makes biology make sense, so obviously it affects medicine (since organisms are continually evolving resistance to drugs).

                Since ideas evolve in a fashion analogous to living organisms, studies on the latter may help us understand the former.

                "We are here by chance with no purpose and no responsibilities."

                Except, you know, such purposes and responsibilities as we choose for ourselves. Yes, that's hard. It's part of being a grown-up.

                "There is no hope for anything beyond what we see and beyond our lifespan."

                Yes, indeed; which is precisely why it's so important to make what we've got count: this is everything we've got, and we have to make the most of it.

                "Eat drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. Plus we can have any kind of sex we want."

                That's pretty much the size of it, yes. As for the sex, well, it really depends on the other person. They have the final veto, you know.

                "A christian worldview would suggest that we were designed with a purpose, we are accountable for what we do, that there is something better beyond this flawed world, that we should avoid the things which cause people damage, that justice and mercy can and will be executed for all to see, that death does not have to be final and god will fix the things that we cannot."

                The prospect of an afterlife diminishes respect for this life, which is the only one we get. The idea that God will sort everything out absolves us of responsibilities.

                "Now for the hard bit - can anyone spot which worldview is being played out logically in society?"

                On the Continent, and especially the parts where they went straight from Roman Catholicism to agnosticism without passing through a reformation, people tend to have great respect for life, thinking it's the only one they will get. Whereas in the über-religious USA, people have little to no respect for life, thinking there is going to be another one anyway so what does it matter if we f**k this one up?

                Simple, observable fact: If your kids think you're going to take them to Alton Towers next month, they won't enjoy a visit to Trentham Gardens tomorrow.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                A christian view does...

                ...NOT suggest that we should tell lies about nature or about the bible. Creationists frequently do both once they start arguing. The origin of life, as you say, is not what evolution is 'about'. It merely describes how life develops once it exists.

                Facts about the material world do not force you to have any particular worldview. Which is probably why mainstream christianity has no problem with evolution.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                How does evolution affect anything?

                "Maths? Physics? Computing?"

                OK, I'll bite. What about genetic algorithms? I would *really* like to see you explain why they work if evolution isn't how things work in actual genetics!

          2. Figgus

            You can't entirely blame religion:

            The problem in the West and the US in particular is, 50 percent of the population does not believe in evolution and some surveys put the number even higher. So there is no incentive to study something like science which cannot prove nor "disprove" the existence of the creation myth..

            This causes wide swaths of the population for "religious reasons" not to pursue careers in the sciences. Since it clashes with their beliefs. Sad really after all this time to put myth in front of science....

            The problem in the West and the US in particular is, 50 percent of the population does not believe in being self sufficient and some surveys put the number even higher. So there is no incentive to study something like science which cannot increase or decrease the size of their government checks...

            This causes wide swaths of the population for obvious reasons not to pursue careers in the sciences. Since it is a huge waste of time better spent on xBox and creating illegitimate children. Sad really after all this time to be beholden to the government instead of an independent human being...

            1. Daniel B.

              Ayn Rand called, Figgus

              She wants her arguments back.

              1. Figgus

                Re: Ayn Rand called, Figgus

                I have never read anything of hers, but you don't need to read about it... It's plain as day and easy to see if you just LOOK. The schools in the US are failing, and everyone is frantically blaming teachers, unions, parents, the Federal DoE, and all along the problem with our schools is simply our welfare state.

                Mom got free checks, grandma got free checks, great grandma got free checks... That's just how you live, so why study in school when you're just going to get free checks too? I see it every day.

                Of course, like a lot of serious problems, it's better to deny it and blame the boogeyman than it is to criticize a failed charity program.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Ayn Rand called, Figgus

                  The people with the most comfortable lives in the 'welfare state' that you whine about are NOT the people on welfare who have little opportunity to change their lives, but the people from more privileged backgrounds with better contacts and early education, ie: those who assume they will have a comfortable life because that's what everybody they know already has. Fatally for your argument, that sense of entitlement DOESN'T hold them back.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Just An Engineer: I call bullshit.

            "The problem in the West and the US in particular is, 50 percent of the population does not believe in evolution and some surveys put the number even higher. So there is no incentive to study something like science which cannot prove nor "disprove" the existence of the creation myth..

            This causes wide swaths of the population for "religious reasons" not to pursue careers in the sciences. Since it clashes with their beliefs. Sad really after all this time to put myth in front of science...."

            I call bullshit. First I want to see where you figures come from and secondly, I want to see the difference in the percent of people who study science among creationists as opposed to evolutionists. And then take into account those people who study and/or believe in post-modernism, and the "sociology of science" or "the sociology of knowledge", all of which essentially deny the existence of objective knowledge, claiming that science is a propagandistic construct based on ideology.

            1. Just An Engineer

              Re: @Just An Engineer: I call bullshit.

              Well AC. Google is you r friend. From a 2010 survey

              Check out 2010.

              http://www.religioustolerance.org/ev_publi.htm

              Actually it is 71 percent that believes in creationism and or theistic evolution.

              "Beliefs elsewhere in the world:

              Belief in creation science seems to be largely a U.S. phenomenon among countries the West. A British survey of 103 Roman Catholic priests, Anglican bishops and Protestant ministers/pastors, perhaps conducted in 1999 showed that:

              bullet 97% do not believe the world was created in six days.

              bullet 80% do not believe in the existence of Adam and Eve as actual persons."

          4. This post has been deleted by its author

            1. A J Stiles
              FAIL

              Re: It's ironic, but the same thing is true of scientists

              Science can explain dowsing perfectly well.

              It is what scientists call "bollocks".

              1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Flame

      Iwakura Lain syndrome

      Yeah, and it's not limited to females and high-schoolers either. University engineering courses have their share of the Retard Clan. I couldn't believe the blinkered attitudes (along the lines of "Why do you know anything about my area of specialization? You are not supposed to do that!"). What do these people do after they got their degree? They are done learning, become civil servants and grow a paunch. Then complain about Chinamen eating their lunch I guess.

    3. Stu

      @mark1978

      You're absolutely right.

      A rather sad side effect of this though is that this Girl Geek Dinner lady group has used the whole 'culture of idiocy' thing for their own 'feminist' angle, conveniently sidestepping the fact that young men have the same peer pressures. What about us guys eh ladies?

      I'm not at all against their ideas about getting more ladies into IT, I welcome them into IT, but there are better, less bandwagon-ey, arguments for it.

    4. jason 7 Silver badge
      Stop

      The one important thing they never teach you at school.

      I wish on the first day of starting Secondary School the headmaster/mistress would call all the new kids in and tell them this -

      "If you want to join chess club, the football team, drama, computer club or take any subject you like but your friends tell you "its not cool and not to do it!" Well just consider this. You are not actually at school for very long and chances are once you leave school you will never see 99% of your friends here today, ever again. Just consider that if it's something you want to do. What they say means nothing. It's up to you."

    5. JohnG

      Apart from the obvious problem for teens (girls or boys) of being labelled as a nerd, perhaps the smarter ones have noticed statistics that show over 30% of graduates in IT related subjects are jobless. Graduates in medicine have much higher prospects for employment - a field in which women are well represented. Maybe the dinner ladies think that girls are too stupid to consider the probability of employment when selecting subjects and careers.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Uggghhhhhhhhhhh REALLY.

      The "me too, just like us" culture, I call it being weak minded, spineless and indifferent. The community and the education system is mostly responsible for this, while in some circumstances it's good, but it's also quite bad, and it's even worse when the badness of conformity is denied.

      Or as one therapist / social commentator - I think is Brian Tracey - is that people don't (be the leader, think for themselves and live their own lives) or play follow the leader, they get into the game of "follow the follower".

      The head master said:

      "She said a culture of not wanting to appear to be clever among teenage girls combined with a desire not to stand out from the crowd stopped them from going into subjects where they felt they don't "belong"."

      The headmaster of a girls grammar school in outer London said that schools had a lot of work to do too. Desmond Deehan explained how he turned the situation around for the 1,500 girls from diverse backgrounds at Townley Grammar School For Girls:

      Then you get stupid parents, who refuse to stand their ground and make things happen...by saying to the people they employ to run the education department, "You are on our payroll - first rate resources all the way", and as parents, to take up collective parenting and home education from common facilities.....

      The head master also said:

      " When I took over as headmaster in April 2010, ICT wasn't offered, Wikipedia and YouTube were banned. Students weren't allowed to bring in any personal phones or computers. Now we have 80 students doing computer science and the first cohort is going through to A-level."

      The banning of access to resources such as Wikipedia and YouTube.... fucking morons....

      It's SOME of the BEST resources on the planet.... I mean it has it's "interesting side" but it also has a very FAST educational side... on how to do almost anything....

      I remember not long after Moses brought the goose quill pen down from the mount, that the ubiquitious Bic ball point pen came onto the market, and the STUPID FUCKS in the education system said they were banned, because everyone was supposed to be writing in their exercise books with fucking pencils - so said the idiot glove puppet teacher to the whole class.

  2. sabba
    Happy

    Sexist joke alert

    I see no recent why girls shouldn't be electing to do computer science these days - after all they are the ones who will really need to know how to use MS Office.

    (since computer programming was removed from the syllabus)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sexist joke alert

      Do you think this is the time or place for a sexist joke? You are part of the problem.

      1. oddie
        FAIL

        Re: Sexist joke alert

        Sexist jokes (that aren't even funny) aside, the problem is that there are people with axes to grind... like picking on a show that is made up entirely out of stereotypes, where everyone is ridiculous and inept in some way or another, and managing to take from that that its all about discouraging girls from doing computer sciences in school.

        (Because as a male of the species after watching the IT crowd I became convinced that the only way forward was a career in IT and completely destroying any notion of a social life/emotional intelligence that I may have had up until that point... either that or become psycotic and join management.)

        Torchwood, Bones, Firefly (ok, engineer more than computers), 24, Jurrasic Park, Hackers, The Net: Series and movies from the top of my head that have strong female characters who also happen to be the techy ones / computer experts.. although quite a few of them still include the old stereotype that computers steal your social life...

        Maybe they should look at why so few girls pick the subject rather than making uneducated guesses.. or maybe they should ask the ones that do why they chose it.

        Failing that we need to take off and nuke ourselves from orbit, it's the only way to make sure :(

        (in case anyone missed my point above it was that portraying Jen as a blubbering idiot (but with the social skills so sorely lacked by the male members of the show) is unlikely to have a massive impact on the education choices of young girls (or boys).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sexist joke alert

          It seems that black people (in my experience) are underrepresented in IT, as are the disabled...

          It's also interesting that I've heard people complaining about the feminisation of the veterinary profession but that doesn't seem to make the headlines.

          The practical answer is probably not to bend over backwards for one group or another but to make sure artificial barriers are removed or at least lowered.

          As for school kids I think for this and in general they need to be taught that standing out is OK and can even be a good thing. Learning that is, after all, part of growing up.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sexist joke alert

            I've worked with more black men in IT than I have women of any minority. Black men make up rather less than the ~50% of the population that women do.

        2. pPPPP

          Re: Sexist joke alert

          "like picking on a show that is made up entirely out of stereotypes, ......."

          The whole point of the Jen character is that she was thrown into IT without knowing anything about it, which parodied the majority of people in the workplace, and life in general, who think they know about computers, or at least pretend they do. This is not the same as women working in IT.

          Roy and Moss were also stereotypes, who don't represent the majority of us in IT at all, but they do portray many many traits which do exist in a lot of people in this industry. In general that's how sitcoms work.

          The reality though, is that most women simply don't find IT interesting. The same's true for most men, but the number is significantly less.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sexist joke alert

            i've worked in IT for 12 years and even I don't find it interesting, so what hope is there for getting anyone else interested in it?

            1. Ben Tasker Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Sexist joke alert

              Roy and Moss were also stereotypes, who don't represent the majority of us in IT at all,

              I know, they're so normal and boring!

              Even my missus is a fan of The IT Crowd

              1. Code Monkey

                @Ben Tasker (was Re: Sexist joke alert)

                You are Richmond and I claim my £5

        3. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Sexist joke alert

          Apparently in an episode of ST:TNG (Qpid) the male cast members were given swords to fight with, but Deanna and Beverley weren't... and they were the only actors who actually *were* trained in fencing. Mind you, ST:TNG is getting on a bit now.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sexist joke alert

            Of course. The women had to stand there and tell them what they were doing wrong.

      2. boltar Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Sexist joke alert

        "Do you think this is the time or place for a sexist joke? You are part of the problem"

        Well I thought it was amusing. Am I part of the problem too? Not that I give a **** one way or the other.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sexist joke alert

          "at Google, [where] 50 per cent [of the staff are] women."

          do they really NEED that many cleaners????

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sexist joke alert

            > do they really NEED that many cleaners????

            No, but it is known as the chocolate factory, so perhaps they got the wrong idea.

            When I used to often work out in the Bay area 20 years back, I would have thought that the average proportion of female frontline developers was slightly less than 50% (women don't quite make up 50% of the working population, some choose not too) but wasn't way under. But more recent trips there have shown a big shift away from women in technical positions.

            1. Christine Hedley

              Re: Sexist joke alert

              "When I used to often work out in the Bay area 20 years back, I would have thought that the average proportion of female frontline developers was slightly less than 50% (women don't quite make up 50% of the working population, some choose not too) but wasn't way under. But more recent trips there have shown a big shift away from women in technical positions."

              Interesting, I've noticed exactly the same thing; the male/female split was almost 50:50 when I started working in IT in the late '80s but in each successive job I saw fewer and fewer women working there. Some employers seemed to be very keen to fast-track women into management in a desperate bid to be seen to be doing the right thing, but I'd hazard a guess that a big part of the problem are the various "women in IT" programmes which seem to actually have the opposite effect to what was intended. I can't speak for anyone else but I personally find them rather patronising and they seem to have a habit of highlighting problems where previously there were none, for the most part. It doesn't make a compelling argument for the next generation to get into IT when people just want to get on with it.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Sexist joke alert

                Back in the 80s HP ran a series of adverts looking for support engineers. To feature in the accompanying photo someone thought it would be a great idea to pick one of the women engineers working in the Response Centre. As soon as the ads hit the press HP got blasted by several feminist organisations for using a model rather than a real engineer. Their assumption was that no woman working in IT could look..., well feminine.

      3. sabba
        Mushroom

        Re: Sexist joke alert

        @AC - I was going to follow up with a smart arse remark but obviously someone's left the kitchen door unlocked at the wrong time of the month so I'd better not. :-)

        Just out of curiousity, when and where are the best times and places?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      Re: Sexist joke alert

      But you don't need MS office or a computer in the kitchen to make sammiches.

  3. Khaptain Silver badge

    Quantity is irrelevant without quality

    "In February we took 40 of those GCSE students to Silicon Valley. We saw Google, Stanford, Intel. And seeing so many women working there was important, especially at Google"

    What the article does not explain is what the women were doing.

    Were they writing and compiling binary trees ?

    Were they making cups of tee and watering plants ?

    Were they designing new publicity spots ?

    Were they creating new google doodles ?

    People that work at Google don't necassarily do IT.

    I would suggest that IT in general simply doesn't interest most women, the subject seemingly bores them to death. ( It doesnt really interest a lot on men either).

    I have worked with several women in the last 15 years but unfortunately none of them ever gave me the impression that they did IT for any other reason than the money. They just didn't seem to hold any personal interest or genuine enthusiasm.

    1. Khaptain Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

      Oops just saw the "Cups of Tee" error.

      El Reg please give us the opportunity to edit our posts !!!!!!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

      We have threeladies in the department I am currently working, and nobody is impolite to them. I don't know what the quality of their work is (yet), but one is the de-facto assisstant of the dept. manager, while the other one is also a kind of de-facto manager, while doing technical work, also. The third is an "ordinary" engineer.

      These three women are doing technical work (related to generating statistical analysis of product faults) and we don't harass them in any way. I think the guys are happy to have three pretty ladies working here (they are !), but there are absolutely zero nasty jokes, even when there is a "guy-only" meeting.

      This is a corporation more than 100 years old, doing still their main line of engineering (but have added electronics and software to that in an organic fashion). The CEO is an engineer and most managers are so too.

      So in this case at least, all the arguments of the article are crap.

      1. Tibbs
        FAIL

        Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

        Ah the good old "The Plural of Anecdote is Data" argument...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          Not At All

          "Ah the good old "The Plural of Anecdote is Data" argument..."

          I have worked in quite a few companies from document management to big finance to engineering. I have never seen technical people making nasty sex-related jokes about women.

          Maybe this is different in Germany, I don't know.

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Re: Not At All

            Mileage varies, as ever. Don't forget, even if all the men treat the women with the respect they deserve, women may still be put off by a very much "male" atmosphere if you are one of very few women in an otherwise all male organization.

            We have some outstanding female students (but far too few), and the general attitude of our male students is one of respect (though quite a percentage shows signs of the usual nerdy awkward behaviour towards the opposite sex, but that is par for the course). Strikingly, most of our female students are from abroad. This shows that not all women (by quite a long way) aren't interested in IT. In international conferences in image processing I would guess that about 25-30% of delegates are female (mainly Asian). It seems to be a thing in western culture to keep women out of technology (a long-standing tradition, as women were banned from most guilds in the distant past). I do see a gentle upward trend in the number of Dutch girls enrolling in our course, but we have a long way to go.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: never seen technical people making nasty sex-related jokes about women.

            I have. Well sexist at least. But only when the woman was both the equivalent of the teacher's pet AND stealing her male counterpart's ideas because on her own she was technically incompetent. On the other hand, I've never seen them make a joke about someone who WAS technically competent. Because we rather enjoy having them around.

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

        "I would suggest that IT in general simply doesn't interest most women, the subject seemingly bores them to death. ( It doesnt really interest a lot on men either)."

        Well said. Most of the women I have conversed with on the subject find IT totally boring, and that's BEFORE I start talking about it :)

      3. Some Beggar
        Facepalm

        Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

        Is this a pastiche? Did you really just congratulate yourself on tolerating "three pretty ladies" on your staff?

        Fuck. Ing. Hell.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

          No, but it could be a kind of collage, I suppose, or maybe a farrago ;)

      4. Roo
        Holmes

        Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

        Women being treated as peers, and spoken to politely in an IT workplace is the norm in my experience. All the incidences of sexism in the workplace that I have seen have been perpetrated by people without technical backgrounds.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

      @Khaptain. Working for a spell over in the USA in the 90s, I dated a girl then a project lead at Apple and those male and female colleagues I met were also full of enthusiasm for creating new ideas and products. I was working with Microsoft at the time, same went for co-workers there. Hardcore coding then as now more of a male preserve but not exclusively. Recall several very talented female designers who could also code.

      I doubt if things have changed for the worse in the techno corporate world of Google etc.

      However. A good idea not to over-generalise from our personal experiences, especially if those are rather limited.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Quantity is irrelevant without quality

      Khaptain - I agred wih everythin you sed, until you pointedd owt tha you spelletd the werd 'tea' rongly. Sory, cant be agreing wit poeple who carnt spel.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

    Are women and girls stupid creatures who are influenced by stupid movies ? Less intelligent and rational than men ? Only if you accept that premise, then these claims are true.

    Now, let's go into FACTS. Women have been raising kids since the time we can remember. Kids feel more comfortable with women than men. Women actually lactate, while men have dud teats. Girls are much more likely to have horseriding and dog-walking as a hobby. That is, because evolution has made them into beings respsonible for caring about other humans. The horses, dogs, cats, hamsters and guinea pigs are "training animals", so to speak.

    So it is entirely reasonable to see more men fiddling with dead, cold machinery (include computers) than women. Nobody laments the dearth of male midwifes (are they "middle-men" ?), male kindergarten personnel, nurses and so on.

    Finally, the complaints about "nasty, sexist male coders" are vastly overblown. What makes life in programming or electrical engineering hard is being technologically incompetent. But it doesn't matter whether you are a girl or not. Your crap will be named and shamed, that is why some IT technologies such as Linux or BSD are acutally working as advertised, most of the time. If you cannot stand this amout of rigour, then please quit. There are enough broken things around us, we don't need more of these "social science" people fscking around here. They did enough damage in the financial industry with their half-brained "innovations".

    1. Red Bren

      Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

      Typing "FACTS" in capitals doesn't make your assertions true.

      "Kids feel more comfortable with women than men."

      Is that an innate trait or environmental conditioning? I had the misfortune of being made redundant when my daughter was 3 months old. While I was out of work and doing 50% of the child care, she showed no preference for her mother or me and I was actually more likely to settle her to sleep. Since I returned to work, she has a distinct preference for the person she spends most time with, i.e. her mother.

      "So it is entirely reasonable to see more men fiddling with dead, cold machinery (include computers) than women."

      Speak for yourself! I'd rather be fiddling with women!!!

      "Nobody laments the dearth of male midwifes (are they "middle-men" ?), male kindergarten personnel, nurses and so on."

      Actually, they do:

      http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/diversity-in-the-nhs.shtml

      http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/primary-teaching-will-it-always-be-a-womans-world-1541

      "Finally, the complaints about "nasty, sexist male coders" are vastly overblown."

      I'm not sure they are, but in my experience, sexism seems to rear it ugly head in any working environment with a significant gender imbalance, be it among coders, builders, nurses or teachers.

      1. Mad Mike
        FAIL

        Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

        Unfortunately, all the politically correct people try to make out men and women are the same. This is clearly stupid and illogical, but it doesn't put them off. Nature has evolved men and women differently to perform different functions. Yes, these differences are significantly less important now, but many millions of years of evolution won't be changed in a few tens or even a hundred years. Numerous well respected studies have identified various differences between men and women. The old men are better (on average) at spatial awareness and map reading, whilst women are better at multi-tasking has been shown in scientific studies. Doesn't mean this is true for everyone, but on average, it has been shown.

        So, men and women preferring different things is not exactly surprising. Yes, some of this will be by environment, but a large amount is through genetics, in this case, chromosones. So, it's entirely likely that men and women will enjoy different jobs for differing reasons. This is all averages of course, and as with everything, there will be exceptions. I doubt if many men find helping with childbirth particularly appealing (apart from their own, and even then.......) and therefore don't choose midwifery. Of course, as with all averages, there are some who do. The important thing is to ensure that anyone can do anything they want without bias being applied. If this results in 90% women in midwifery and only 10% women in IT, that's fine. As long as people are free to choose and the process is unbiased.

        I'm always interested with the sexist jokes angle and other such. This is all generally rubbish as the fact the joke is sexist is only relevant when taken in context with the way it's delivered. A sexist joke is not necessarily offensive to a woman (or man) unless delivered in a way to be offensive. I've been in many offices where sexist jokes are commonplace, but they're all said with a twinkle in the eye and an understanding between the parties that it's all fun and makes the environment more enjoyable. Indeed, whilst men might make comments about parking (and driving in general), the women would then retort about multi-tasking or split personaility in men between their heads and lower regions etc.

        1. Keith Langmead

          Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

          @Mad Mike. I definitely agree with the first paragraph! I think part of the issue tends to be that people forget that "IT" is a VERY large subject containing a lot of very different disciplines, each of which tends to lend itself to certain types of people.

          I remember reading some research years ago that mentioned how typical personality traits of programmers for instance don't tend to match those of many women, but the more cautious, careful and planned approach required of good DBA's and Sysadmins is a far better match. In fact if you simply look on the Technet forums you'll notice that in the DBA and Sysadmin arenas there are quite a few very skilled and knowledgeable women working in those fields.

          The problem in my opinion (and this also applies to getting guys into IT) is that IT education is still very much geared towards the belief that IT = programming. Most courses (school/college/uni) focus on teaching programming languages with some coverage on other areas, so the only people likely to attend them are 1) those who want to be programmers, and 2) those who're into computing enough to put up with a few years of learning things they don't care about to get a piece of paper and get a job in the area they're actually interested in.

          If they specifically want more women in IT they need to focus on those disciplines that women actually want to do and have a passion for, show girls that those career paths are available and how to get into them, and stop treating the entire IT world as if it's a single career path.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Up

            Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

            Yes we need more women in IT to make us sammiches and cups of tea and to call over for a shag in the closet when we need it.

        2. Some Beggar
          FAIL

          Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

          Numerous well respected studies have identified various differences between men and women.

          Is one of the differences that men can't be arsed to provide citations?

          old men are better (on average) at spatial awareness and map reading

          This is sort of true.

          http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/622576?uid=3738032&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21100853503031

          women are better at multi-tasking has been shown in scientific studies

          This is false.

          http://clearinghouse.missouriwestern.edu/manuscripts/815.php

          Still ... at least you didn't sink to the Clarkson level reactionary twaddle that men are better drivers.

          parking (and driving in general)

          Oh.

          Oh dear.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

            No offense, but your own article (Criss, 2009) partially contradicts your summary of it. Women were not significantly faster at performing tasks while distracted, but they were significantly more accurate. In common parlance, defining that as "better" isn't unreasonable.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

        "Speak for yourself! I'd rather be fiddling with women!!!"

        Did you really just sexually objectify women in a comment thread about sexism? *blink* It's not even a sequiteur to the original comment.

      3. Graham Bartlett
        Flame

        Re: What A Load Of Girlie Bull-....

        ""Nobody laments the dearth of male midwifes (are they "middle-men" ?), male kindergarten personnel, nurses and so on."

        Actually, they do:"

        Sure. Very, very quietly, with no funding or action.

        There are which male-specific awards for nursing and teaching, exactly? Compared to a large number of highly-publicised women-only awards for other areas, and highly-funded organisations promoting women in those areas. Oh, and teaching and assessment methods in schools which systematically disadvantage boys (IIRC, last year was the point at which the average grades for girls were finally better than the average grades for boys in every subject at every level in schools).

        It's also interesting that in that primary-school-teaching link you post, Durham University felt it was necessary to first check whether the male teachers did as good a job as the female teachers. I mean, WTF?! If they can't see the inherent sexism in that, then they're part of the problem not part of the solution.

  5. mrfill
    Facepalm

    Calm down dear....

    Sarah... poppet.... the IT crowd is a COMEDY. It doesn't 'chronicle life in the tech industry' - that would be a DOCUMENTARY, like Hollyoaks..

    1. SuperTim

      Re: Calm down dear....

      I always thought the IT crowd showed what happens when big business assumes that a "manager" only needs to know about "management" and not the actual stuff their department does. I have had managers (male and female) and none of them knew anything of what we did, and then just proceeded to micromanage how we did it...

      no the IT crowd is not representative of IT, it is representative of big business in general. unlike Hollyoaks, which is representative of suburbs of British Roman cities!

    2. Sean Timarco Baggaley
      Thumb Down

      Re: Calm down dear....

      "the IT crowd is a COMEDY."

      It is? Perhaps someone should tell Graham Linehan: that TV series is about as funny as having your head repeatedly slammed into a brick wall. It's clearly written by someone whose heard a lot of random anecdotes about the IT industry, but who has never actually worked in it.

      (Also, Mr. Linehan: your formula is showing.)

      Then again, I work in the games industry. It's hard to take "The IT Crowd" seriously as a comedy when you've had long conversations with graphics artists on the merits of specific types of bubble wrap as bedding. Or "conducted" a roomful of Commodore Amigas during an overnight testing session of Championship Manager 2's (rather ill-advised) Amiga port.

      The latter project could have given TheDailyWTF enough material for an entire year.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Calm down dear....

        Unless you worked in IT support you wouldn't really know how realistic it is.

    3. Some Beggar

      Re: Calm down dear....

      Next you'll be telling me that Dilbert isn't offensive to dogs.

    4. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Calm down dear....

      In the IT crowd the woman isn't a geek that's the whole point.

      Of course its portrayal of male geeks is so flattering I'm sure it has converted 1000s of teenage boys from wanting to be footballers or rockstars into dreaming of a career on a help desk

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

    Unhelpful, but quite honest. There's a particular kind of guy who feels that he is too clever and reasonable to be sexist; instead he makes perfectly sound and logical arguments (to his mind) about why women won't ever be any good at technology in general or computer science in particular. This sort of guy is pervasive in the industry, and a detriment to any sort of mixed-gender teamwork.

    On the bright side it is a particularly western phenomenon (maybe its just coincidence, but almost all of the Iranian, Malaysian and Pakistani compsci postgrads I've met were women. The split was about 50/50 with Chinese and Russian students) so the problem will resolve itself when we grow up or when we are crushed by the far more capable workforces that exist everywhere else in the world.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

      "when we are crushed by the far more capable workforces that exist everywhere else in the world."

      Umm, yeah. In the year 2500, when some hyper-intelligent Green beings from Andromeda have educated them about the hard process of creating good software. In the meantime, we will use Qt from these five million Norwegians. The bazillion of asians will "enhance" some broken corporate java-app-monsters in the meantime. We will still not see anything innovative in terms of products.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

        "The bazillion of asians will "enhance" some broken corporate java-app-monsters in the meantime"

        You tell em, chief! You know what those uppity yellow skinned folk need? They need some good, honest hard working white folk to organise em!

        Hint: the market for atrocious, outsourced, enterprise java monstrosities was generated by western companies trying to cut overheads. Much like manufacturing, little by little coding expertise will trickle away from the west. Once upon a time, 'Made In Japan' was a byword for cheap crap. What makes you so certain that countries where IT and computer science are seen as respectable and worthy professions for people of either gender won't one day produce software companies that will outperform their western counterparts?

        Maybe its because that funny skin tone of theirs interferes with good software engineering?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Stop

          Re: "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

          I am not saying that western corporations are not complicit with the java-app-monsters. I am just saying they are not doing anything innovative yet. They are cheap, there are lots of them, but there is not much creativity.

          The latter is in my opinion their major problem. Many asian cultures despise tough criticism, but that is exactly required for meaningful inventions.

          I could also write about American gas guzzlers, corrupt Anglosaxon banksters and American war-industry here. I did in the past, but the current discussion was about women and asian coders. Shall we change to the fact that America is about 5% of world population, but consumes 25% of the world oil supply ? I can surely flame that fact, too.

          1. Some Beggar

            Re: "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

            Handle 4711

            You are being either deliberately obtuse or terrifyingly naive. The idea that east asian developers are low-skill or lack creativity compared to their US/European counterparts is decades out of date. I taught maths to engineers in a UK university in the 80s/90s and almost without exception the top students in every class were from Taiwan or Singapore. They are not just producing quantity, they are producing quality. I've worked in commercial R&D and consultancy for twenty years and the skill and creativity of east asian developers (both working there and migrants working here) is easily a match for ours. I've worked with recent graduates from mainland China and they are scary good.

            It is quite true that a lot of dull development legwork has been exported but that is primarily due to the difference in wages and a desire amongst outsourcing companies to keep the architectural knowledge (not to mention the fun jobs) local. It is certainly not down to a lack of expertise. The one cultural aspect that does prevent them from being direct competitors (within China at least) is the pirate or Shanzhai culture - the fact that cheap resources and a 'casual' attitude to IP means they can knock out cheap and cheerful rip-offs and flog them on the home market. But with a booming middle class and a shift in economic power, that won't be true for long.

            Getting back to the original article, the other notable thing about east asian developers is that there is far less imbalance between the sexes. Presumably chinese women don't watch The IT Crowd. I'm sure you can cobble together some theory as to why that would be when women and asians are so evidently inferior in your universe.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Stop

              Re: "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

              > You are being either deliberately obtuse or terrifyingly naive.

              Although I don't agree with a lot of what they said, I think you are misunderstanding the key point.

              He was talking about genuine creativity and innovation. The Asian states do not have a long and fruitful history of novel creativity which currently springs largely out of the whacky and independent mindset of the western psyche.

              They are great at replication and incremental development, and the quality of the work is second to none.

              But most of the great advances in technology are from the West.

              Whether that is a symptom of the culture or a difference in mental make-up I really couldn't say.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Lack of genuine creativity and innovation

                So that's why even the best Japanese anime are so unimaginative and lacking in originality, while Hollywood consistently turns out creative masterpieces full of challenging ideas and new insights.

                I'd often wondered why that was.

              2. Some Beggar
                Facepalm

                Re: "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

                The Asian states do not have a long and fruitful history of novel creativity

                Absolutely. The Chinese and Japanese have never invented anything.

                FFS.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist [...] in the programme was unhelpful,

        "...There's a particular kind of guy who feels that he is too clever and reasonable to be sexist..."

        @Handle 4711 - Just to be clear: Based on your comments above: He's talking about you.

  7. Pete 2

    Layers of scorn

    So The IT crowd portrays women negatively - maybe, I only watched 1 episode (that was enough - didn't care for it). However, the media in general portrays ALL IT people negatively, too.

    As she says herself, lack of women in IT is a worldwide problem, whereas The IT Crowd is purely a local "problem", so while it may not help, it's not a big barrier.

    What needs to happen is for the media to depict IT people, in general, in a more sane and balanced way. Although the industry does little to help itself, with "geek speak" and its crappily designed and duff products.

    Maybe if we could inject an air of professionalism, discipline and pride into our own industry, then that would make it an attractive proposition to newcomers and equally, help retain them over their whole career.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "lack of women in IT is a worldwide problem"

      Where "Worldwide" means "Everywhere With English As The Principle Language".

      1. Anonymous IV
        Happy

        Re: "lack of women in IT is a worldwide problem"

        Ah, "The Principle Language"!

        One of my former bosses advertised for a "Principle Secretary", which all us workers thought was a jolly good idea, since he didn't seem to have any principles of his own...

      2. TeeCee Gold badge
        WTF?

        Re: "lack of women in IT is a worldwide problem"

        Really? When did (for example) Saudi Arabia and Iran make English their principle language? I seem to have missed that announcement.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "lack of women in IT is a worldwide problem"

          I don't know about Saudi, but in Iran there are more women with university degrees than men, and that includes the hard technical subjects, my wife is one of them (Polymer Engineering).

    2. TonyHoyle

      Re: Layers of scorn

      The IT crowd depicted the men far more negatively than the women.. in fact Jen was the only one with her head screwed on right.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Layers of scorn

        yep! look what happened to the CEO and his retard of a son.. what does it say about male bosses then? reverse discrimination?

      2. Flatpackhamster

        Re: Layers of scorn

        That isn't sexism, because it's depicting men negatively.

      3. That Steve Guy

        Re: Layers of scorn

        "The IT crowd depicted the men far more negatively than the women.. in fact Jen was the only one with her head screwed on right."

        You got this bang on here.

        IT men get hit by a sterotype in the media harder than women as the usual weird techie nerds who couldn't get laid if they tried. You can blame a whole plethora of shows for that one IT Crowd, Inbetweeners, Big bang theory, they all perpetuate the myth.

        Its hardly surprising when confronted by this archtype so often on TV most women choose to avoid the profession like a plague because that is what they expect us all to be like.

        1. auburnman

          Re: Layers of scorn

          Roy and Moss dated plenty of women in the IT Crowd. The Big Bang Theory seemed to indicate at the start it would be based around dateless nerd geniuses, but Leonard bounces from Hot blonde neighbour to hot Indian chick to hot particle physicist and Howard ends up with stunning blonde biologist. Raj and Sheldon don't do too bad either. The comedy comes from the characters wrecking their chances when they overthink things.

  8. Mike Tyler

    And doctor who ?

    Doctor Who generally shows women in a positive light, ahh but that's only a TV show, NEWS so is the IT crowd, even reality TV is only TV, does anybody think that they are real?

  9. Semaj
    Thumb Down

    The IT crowd is shit anyway - easily the worst thing that any of those involved have been in.

    It just plays on stereotypes of IT people, which bare practically no resemblance to reality.

    1. SuperTim

      or

      one of the funniest comedies, after Father Ted (which presumably demonstrates the lack of honest and caring priests in Ireland)

      1. Sean Timarco Baggaley
        FAIL

        Re: or

        Seriously? Even "Black Books" was far better and more original than The IT Crowd. And Linehan's formulaic cardboard characters were very obvious there.

        I've laughed out loud at "Father Ted", which was co-written by both Graham Linehan and Arthur Mathews, so Linehan can't claim sole responsibility for its greatness.

        The first season of "Black Books" was also co-written by Dylan Moran and Graham Linehan. But when the writing team was changed in the later seasons, it was never quite as funny.

        "The IT Crowd" is just poor. Clearly some people find it funny, but having the overrated Noel Fielding in it certainly didn't do anything to endear the series to me. The writing is tired, the plot contrivances are so ridiculous you can see the payoff coming a mile away, and the characters are pathetically two-dimensional. It's a live-action cartoon that's trying far too hard to be satirical, but failing even to reach mediocre parody. This isn't writing, it's coasting.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: or

          Fail because I have different tastes to you? Fail yourself for not understanding that people are different.

          As for 'some' people find it funny, I think you will find an awful lot of people find it funny. It is consistently one of the most watched programmes on 4od and also won quite a few awards. Maybe something about it hits a little too close to home for you and that is what you don't like, it's fine for you to laugh at something as long as it doesn't make you evaluate yourself is that it?

          The 'work outing' episode almost had me on the floor laughing it was so funny. Normally an able-bodied person pretending to be disabled would be repugnant and yet they managed to make it inoffensive to anybody. A disabled friend of mine who is in a wheelchair found it so funny he was pretending to be Roy and had us in stitches. The whole scenario was ridiculous, pretending to be disabled because you are found to be using the disabled toilets and then managing to dig yourself in even deeper would never happen but as a comedy it was brilliant.

          The Friendface episode where they start to only communicate via it even though they are in the same room as each other, are you telling me you don't know someone like that. I certainly know some facebook addicts who can't tear themselves away from it

          Or 'The final countdown' where Moss becomes a countdown champion and gets invited to the underground 'street' countdown. 'Good morning, that's a nice tnetennba'

          It's just silly and it's supposed to be. If you were expecting an in-depth analysis of the mind of an IT worker then I could see you would be disappointed. However if you take it for what it is, just a bit of fun to pass half an hour and make you laugh then it is brilliant.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought that too

      But I gave it a chance and found it is actually really funny. Yes it plays on stereotypes but that's what a lot of comedy does, it takes the funny characteristics and emphasises them. I can see a lot of myself in the Roy character and I do know someone who is very like Moss. I don't think they were trying to be sexist with Jen, more taking the mick out of management who don't actually understand what their department does or how anything works and I think we have all met management like that. It would have worked with a man as the manager but making the character a woman allows for other comedy scenarios that just wouldn't work otherwise like when Jen attracts the unwanted attentions of the big boss Douglas.

      Going back to the sexism issue, I take it they missed the episode where a company nude calender is proposed and the women cleverly make the men feel like they have to be the ones taking part instead of the women or the episode where Jen turns down another job because she finds that Roy and Moss really can't cope without her. There are more examples of showing women in industry in a positive light but it looks like the researchers ignore these as it doesn't fit it with their pre-conceived ideas.

  10. Annihilator
    WTF?

    In other news...

    Father Ted put women off from becoming priests

    Alan Partridge put women off from becoming mildly successful very early morning radio show hosts

    Black Books put women off from owning a book shop

    Coupling put people off from ever watching TV again...

    1. mrfill
      Holmes

      Re: In other news...

      I think you'll find its the Vatican that prevent women becoming Catholic priests like Ted

      ... and Davina Macall put me off wanting to become a woman .

    2. Annihilator
      Coat

      Re: In other news...

      Ooh, so far 2 fans of Coupling! Knew there must be at least one out there...

  11. Crisp Silver badge
    Coat

    I don't think women are that influenced by what they see on TV

    Or if they are... They haven't been watching enough Lynx adverts.

  12. gaz 7

    Influences

    If they think that the IT Crowd and stuff like Geek Barbie are real role models and accurate depictions of what to expect in the industry when they leave school, then we don't want them.

    My line manager is a woman, one of my colleagues in a 8 strong team of technical specialists is a woman. They are both very technically capable people.

    We should encourage more girls, but then we should encourage more of everyone, rather than this fake positive discrimination to make up numbers. Can we have less of this nonsense and more about Raspberry Pis teaching kids how to master computing

  13. The BigYin

    I know I am going to get downvoted for this

    There are more men than women in IT. For whatever reason, that's what we currently have.

    So TV shows are written than reflect that situation, simply because that's what exists in the real world (I rather doubt it is a misogynistic cabal plotting to keep women subjugated, us blokes are really not that organised).

    I put it to you that is there were more women in a given industry than men, TV shows would be written and represent that imbalance. Would people still complain?

    Do all TV shows/films have to represent some platonic ideal of society that we should aspire to? Or should they, by and large, represent what we have?

    Obviously if a TV show shows (say) all women as hormonally imbalanced harpies who can't reverse park or change a fuse; then unequivocally that show is either sexist or so absurd and over the top that you are simply missing the joke (because I bet all the men are shown as knuckle dragging lager louts hell-bent on rutting and rugby!)

    And one final question - why can't a woman have a man as a role-model (or vice versa)? Can role models only come from the same sex, race, culture, religion, skin-type....?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "why can't a woman have a man as a role-model"

      Nuffin wrong with that, its just that most people seem to go for role models they can more easily identify with.

      Not a whole lot of choice in the computing world (though I'll pass on the usual 'Ada Lovelace' thing and raise you Grace Hopper). I'll leave you with the obligatory XKCD reference.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: "why can't a woman have a man as a role-model"

        "I'll leave you with the obligatory XKCD reference."

        And here I was thinking you were going to plump for http://xkcd.com/385/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "why can't a woman have a man as a role-model"

          I was trying not to be negative and to be a little more specific towars the role models question, but your example is probably a better one for the topic as a whole.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: "why can't a woman have a man as a role-model"

        Because it's not the mans job to stay in the kitchen and make sammiches.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I know I am going to get downvoted for this

      Actually the IT Crowd situation mirrors two places I've worked where some women had been employed in the IT team to basically brighten the place up, not because they had any technical skills. It does still happen.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: I know I am going to get downvoted for this

        " two places I've worked where some women had been employed in the IT team to basically brighten the place up"

        Well, my very first IT summer job after UNI was secured because I apparently reminded the matronly AS400 programmer/department manager of her husband when he was younger.

        Didn't bother me none.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I know I am going to get downvoted for this

        Yep, like AC (09:23), one of the places I worked at took two of the divisional administrators (that's secretaries, not sys-admins) and got them to start doing Sharepoint work including coding up widgets in C#. Let's just say that part hasn't gone too well. So sometimes these things can mirror reality. They were nice people. They were good admins and could no doubt have gone further on that side due to their organisational skills, but coders they were not.

      3. Florence

        Re: I know I am going to get downvoted for this

        I do believe that being female actually helped me get hired for a job once - but I wouldn't have been picked either had my technical skills not been at least as good as the male applicants (and they certainly were better than some of them!).

        Does the IT crowd really mirror your experiences? Jen isn't hired for a technical job in the IT Crowd.

        In fact I would say that the other women I have worked with in technical roles were on average better than the guys - probably because women won't end up in IT just by chance? I do find things are different in the channel (sorry about the buzzword) where you see people hired for sales having to pick up technical skills, with variable results.

        I ended up in IT (the tech support side.. coding isn't for me) after doing maths and sciences at school - then languages at university - when I ended up spending more time learning to use computers, which I'd barely touched since age 12, than actually working on my degree..

        When I finished school I wouldn't have considered doing science or IT - these didn't interest me very much in my teenage years as I was probably more interested in fitting in, and as a girl you're expected to study humanities, or if you're after money: business/economics or law. And my teachers did a better job at getting us ready for exams than they did at getting us really interested in the topics too. As long as that vision remains I don't expect things to change much. And picking on the IT Crowd is irrelevant - however I would agree that having strong role models on screen could be helpful, like 24's Chloe but with better social skills!,

  14. TechnicianJack
    Facepalm

    Quotas

    More rubbish. It's always about filling quotas/being politically correct etc. There's always people saying there should be more women/ethnic minorities/whatever in companies. This is stupid. People should be employed for their skills and experience, not to meet quotas set by some stupid law or regulation.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    WTF?

    Portrays *women* negatively??

    Is anyone treated sympathically in the show? I love it, and I work in IT and I recognise some aspect of myself and those I work with in the show, but its just a comedy. The two male leads are maladjusted lovable hapless dateless unsexed nerd losers; if anything, the female lead is the most normal of the three.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here we go again....

    What about the lack of men in teaching, medical and so on? Nobody gives a toss do they? But when it's a women that is underrepresented then it's those bad men that push the poor girls out.

    Men prefer doing some things and women other things. Get over it and stop playing the victim all the time.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here we go again....

      They do give a toss, a very big toss. Particularly about the lack of men in teaching.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here we go again....

      The big worry is that so few women are dustbin men.

      1. The BigYin

        Re: Here we go again....

        @AC - The big worry is that so few women are dustbin men.

        I think you mean "multi-point materials collection operative"

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's real

    "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist" - particularly overseas contractors who are still from countries where women are almost literally chained to the sink and the words "freedom" and "religion" only exist in the same sentance with a negative between them. I'm one of the fortunate people who works with a decent crowd, but stories still reach my ears with a degree of regularity.

  18. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Spending money on

    In February we took 40 of those GCSE students to Silicon Valley. ...He added that his school used to teach scratch programming until specialist school funding was scrapped and it was no longer able to do so

    So funding for school trips from London to Silicon Valley is there but not for programming. Not wanting to go overboard without all the facts but that sounds like a problem of priorities. Anyway, why go all the way to Silicon Valley to find out about computers? Surely, Silicon Roundabout is closer? Or how about pointing out that computing skills don't just get you jobs in the computer industry?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Surely, Silicon Roundabout is closer"

      I'd call that an apples to oranges comparison, but that doesn't quite go far enough. Suffice to say, the coverage of Silicon Roundabout on the Reg shoudl give you a reasonable idea of its technological worth.

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

        Re: Silicon Roundabout

        The reference was somewhat tongue in cheek. There are more than enough IT clusters close enough to visit - ARM, and co. in Cambridge. I just like the Day Today style implication of how school funding is now so poor that the winter ski holiday has had to be relocated from Lake Tahoe to St Moritz.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Travelling Is More Fun

      ..than fiddling with the arcane error messages of the Lazarus IDE. It is more fun than tracking down that piece of code which accidently overwrites your data structure.

      Meeting people and talking to them - that's an interesting thing for girls. But it does nothing to improve their cold, hard programming skills. If they wanted to do that, they should have gone to Oxford or Cambridge and visit a CS introductory lesson. After that, they would spent 1000 hours in front of Pascal, like I did. There is little instant gratification in becoming a proper programmer and you need lots of determination to master that complicated machine.

  19. Ketlan
    Unhappy

    Nowt wrong with male midwives

    'Nobody laments the dearth of male midwifes...'

    Rubbish. We had an excellent male midwife attending at the birth of my youngest daughter (now 18) and she's ended up being a real tech wiz. Not only can she multi-task like a lunatic, she also PREFERS using that godawful ribbon interface in Office 2007! AND she loved the IT Crowd, so there.

    I'm not sure what that proves but dammit, it had to be said.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nowt wrong with male midwives

      'Nobody laments the dearth of male midwifes...'

      Not midwifes but my son had an 2 or 3 ear operations when he was 6-8 years old and on his first operation he came out from the operation full of how there'd been a male nurse in the theatre (or "boy nurse" was I think his description) and he kept on hoping that one of the "boy nurses" would come onto the ward!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: Nowt wrong with male midwives

        But still we have 99% of female midwives and nobody sees a problem with that. Some countries even have legislation that makes it hard or impossible for men to become midwives.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What about...

    What about the sort of sexism and banter that happens on forums like this one? It can be pretty bad, any mention of a woman, particularly a senior woman in IT and it's "Stupid bitch", "mad cow" this, "whore" that. Just the general level of discussion can be very dismissive of Women and aggressive towards them. Ask yourself how many times you see an article on The Reg about storage or bandwidth and how soon there is a comment like "imagine how much porn you could get".

    We guys in IT also have a very bad time admitting that there is a problem. I daresay that a lot of people will be reading this post and think that it's bollocks or that somehow the people who have these comments and attitudes targetted at them should just deal with it, because it's part of being in IT. Well, I've got news, like topless calendars in the office in the 70s, it's not and nor should it be. Now, I expect your thinking that I'm anti-porn, again I'm not, I just think that there is a time and place.

    And don't get me started on attitudes towards sexuallity...

    1. auburnman

      Re: What about...

      I don't think I've ever read anything on el Reg like the comments you say come up whenever a woman is discussed . And while bandwidth/storage articles may inevitably attract one or two porn jokes, I'm not sure how that is sexist? Did you think porn is only ever made for heterosexual men? Don't be embarrassed if you did, I thought the same thing 'til I was about 12.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Re: What about...

      We call companies and some kind of people "whores" here. But if you comprehend what we write, this refers to "people doing nasty things for money". So a "computer science whore" is a person who will collect funding to perfom some "Artificial Intelligence" scam. But these persons are mostly men !

      If you like tainted-rose, brainwashing news, go somewhere else. Fox News will tell you why the next war is urgently need, brought to you by Lockheed-Martin in cooperation with Exxon Mobile.

    3. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: What about...

      "Just the general level of discussion can be very dismissive of Women and aggressive towards them"

      Only when they also happen to be Home Secretaries.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about...

      I certainly don't think the reg comments is anywhere as bad as you make out.

      What is toe curling is my wife's recants of conversations they have in her all female office (she doesn't work in IT). Colleagues calling one another "bitches" and "whores" behind one another's backs are the least offensive things they say about one another! I've never experienced that anywhere near level of vitriol or name calling here in the mostly male but still mixed IT offices I've worked in.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What about...

        I agree about what women are like with no blokes around. I unfortunately received a very explicit education on this matter when I hid upstairs when I was about 10, my Mum was hosting a naughty knicker party in the living room and thought I was out - they all did.

        I still don't trust women. (Just one - my wife coz she's different)

  21. turnip handler
    Joke

    Sorry - can't help myself

    This gives me the perfect excuse to use my favourite line from the IT crowd where Douglas is looking around the department and is confused by seeing no women and so draws the obvious conclusion:

    Jen: What department is this?

    Douglas: Some sort of homosexual department?

  22. Gordon Pryra

    the only difference between men and women

    In most of the companies I have worked at has been tits or balls.

    I honestly have not seen any more "sexism" than the normal interplay between the sexes.

    I think the source for this article is the normal "look for a story" crap you find in the daily mail.

    Final point, who cares how many people go for IT style education at GCSE/A level? Its not like the stuff they learn will ever help them get one of the two good jobs available to full time employees.

  23. Ali on the Reg

    Stupid

    Prior to the IT Crowd of course the ladies were queueing up to get into IT. Also, Moss and Roy should also put most blokes off IT shouldn't they?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Townley Grammar School For Girls

    What century is the register in today?

    Grammar school? School for Girls? When I started comprehensive school in the mid 1960s these concepts alreayd sounded so ... eh .. old school.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: Townley Grammar School For Girls

      Grammar Schools is outdated because you actually have to deliver some academic results ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Townley Grammar School For Girls

        Grammar Schools is outdated?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Townley Grammar School For Girls

          We don't have Grammar schools in our area, state system is not academically selective. We do have single sex selective private schools.

          My sons mixed comprehensive obviously lies much further down the league tables but reality is very different if you do the sums. The selective boys private school sets an entrance standard higher than the top 10% academic performance so the A*s all round is predictable. The top 10% at the comprehensive actually gain comparable GCSE/A Level results. The lower 50% who leave school for college or work or drop out at 16 highly skew the GCSE averages.

          Having done the arithmetic it was very easy to say no thanks to any thought of spending 12000 a year for the private school. Although the big plus of the comprehensive is the opportunity to socialise with a wide range of boys and girls from different backgrounds.

          There are some very poor comprehensives but most are ok and much of the twaddle talked about standards and selection is simply another symptom of poor mathematical and scientific understanding among the chattering classes,

      2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Townley Grammar School For Girls

        "Grammar Schools is outdated because you actually have to deliver some academic results ?"

        Are you referring to the term 'Grammar Schools' or the Grammer Schools themselves?

        If the latter, then my pedantic-grammar-Nazi-irony meter just blew up :)

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Townley Grammar School For Girls

          GrammerGrammar

          Damn, I forgot the first rule of Grammar-Naziism :D

  25. a well wisher

    scratch programming ?

    Is that where you buy the 'punch' cards from the local newsagent ?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The few women (programmers) I knew ended up being bullied out of their jobs after entering motherhood. Why? Their childless career orientated boss (also female for the record) understood neither the complexities of child management, software development management and ultimately people management.

  27. RocketBook

    Is it just me or?

    Why is it so wrong to have an industry, any industry that has a bunch of blokes working in it?

    Is it felt that we cannot manage without having a lady to organise us or work along side us and metaphorically hold our hands? (real hand holding could be construed as sexual harassment).

    Sometimes it can be enjoyable to just work in the company of other men and even be allowed to make un PC jokes and laugh at farts.

    If Anybody wants to join our industry we should welcome them and encourage them but please don't make it a quota/sexist issue. A lot of industries have been male dominated for years, IT is perhaps the last one left (apart from sewer cleaning and I don't see the lady queueing up to point girls in that direction). Sometimes just leave things be and let things work.

    Two things I should add.

    1. I met a girl many years ago on a course in Hardware maintenance, she was a brilliant engineer, great worker, great personality, could drink the best of us under the table, but hated every little thing about IT.

    2. My granddaughter is a science wizz, bright as a button, sharp as a pin, interested in the sciences, had computers from an early age, but the only computing thing she is interested in is farce book.

    or maybe I am stereotyping.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is it just me or?

      Because the situation would appear to be self-reinforcing, and is to the detriment of the industry as a whole because there are so many intelligent women who choose other industries because of the negative impression they have of the tech sector.

      The problem is cultural, not genetic (unlike all those jobs requiring hard physical labour for which guys just have a natural genetic advantage) and so should be possible to change.

  28. Lis 0r
    FAIL

    O rly?

    I think Girl Geek Dinners are putting women off being in IT, given that while there's loads of Twitter Consultants, and managers who look after techies, and other fluff, there's nary an engineer to be found in attendance.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: O rly?

      I accidentally found myself spending a post-conference evening getting drunk with several Girl Geek Dinners women and seem to remember one programmer and a website designer; only one manager. Beware of stereotypes.

  29. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Stop

    What about Alice from "Dilbert"?

    She's my elder daughter's role model. She often struggles to control the Fist of Death, however, being surrounded by Wallies on her course (the French Baccalaureat 'S' with Engineering Science) - and yes, she does sometimes have to do their work as well (when working on "team" projects).

    "You knocked him senseless!"

    "Ah, he was senseless before I hit him."

  30. Daz555

    Its just a comedy. People need to get over themselves. Men are represented as incompetent buffoons

    in just about every comedy ever made. So what?

  31. Mako

    My biggest problem with Jen is the way she goes home and emasculates her boyfriend while eating Malteasers.

  32. Gwaptiva

    If the uptake of various career choices is so heavily influenced by media portrayal, then why are there men in IT, or in Engineering, or any science... or the police force?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They join the police in the vain hope that a person of interest will one day ask,"Who are you?" so that they may reply, "We're the Sweeney, son ... and we haven't had any dinner."

  33. Phil W
    Childcatcher

    Primary education to blame

    I think the real problem here has nothing to with gender, or computing in particular.

    It has to do with any technical discipline that involves maths, science and/or problem solving and the fact that kids aren't interested in it.

    I personally beleive the reason kids aren't interested is because the quality of most primary education is the UK is absolute s**t. This isn't an entirely new problem, just a growing one it seems.

    I first discovered the disparity of this when I went to high school (started in 1997).

    By the time I finished primary school we had covered things like basic algebra just touching on things like Pythagorean theory, we studied the basic principles of logic gates and built them on very simple electronic project kits (turning light bulbs on and off etc, nothing fancy). We'd even learnt the very basics of the structure of atoms, what protons, neutrons and electrons were etc.

    Then I went to high school and discovered most of my new class mates had not learnt any of this stuff at primary school, and once all the new social aspects of high school (mainly members of the opposite sex) has grabbed their attention they had no interest in really learning it for the most part.

    This experience makes me certain that getting kids interested in technical things at an early age.

    Oh and I would point out that both my primary and high schools were just normal state funded schools, nothing special about them in particular (apart from the quality of the teachers and teaching).

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've always wondered about programming and women. I'd certainly prefer it if there were more. Of our department of eight, since the last girl left we have a eight to nil representation. That said, I don't think the programming industry is that much different in regards to say mechanics or many construction jobs, and in many ways working in software development is a similar role, barring the physical nature.

    One thing I've always wondered, is that why I very rarely come across a woman who has spent time learning technology on the side, nearly every programmer I know had a strong interest in tech well before they were taught anything in it. Some come from entirely self taught, a few doing even completely non related to IT degrees. Of the four women I've worked with, all learned their trade via university and on the job experience and none were particularly interested learning outside of work, one even questioning why I'd want to learn outside of work, and could not compute why I'd want to build my own whitebox ESXi!

    I don't think it's particularly fair to criticize the IT Crowd either. Whilst Jen is supposed to be a complete technically illterate... and the male characters are as stereotypical, as perceived by the non IT world. It certainly never put me off working in IT, either... despite some worrying similarities (especially Richmond, we have members here that no one but IT knows exist)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      working in software development is a similar role [to working in construction or mechanics]

      No. No it is not. Unless you are somehow conflating mechanical engineering with mechanics, or civil engineering with construction, perhaps? Mechanics have more in common with medics! Technical skills, lots to learn, not so much pure creativity. Medicine is a super male dominated industry, right?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: working in software development is a similar role [to working in construction or mechanics]

        So you see no similarities at all in say, bugfixing and mechanics (not really creative), and being a labourer in construction... work in a team, build the house to specifications. No. Not similar at all in any ways. I must be mad. Plenty of people work in software without being the ones to design the system. Many may build, but few may design.

        I guess the subtlety of the point passed you by.

  35. Rampant Spaniel

    Seriously???

    How many people chose not to go to higher education because of how they were portrayed in the Young Ones?

    How many men are not joining IT because of how Moss, Ray and the Goth were portrayed?

    How many kids chose not to be actors because of how they were portrayed in Withnail and I.

    The author seems to have become a little disconnected with reality. Yes The IT Crowd makes fun of the image of women in IT, but also of men and managers. It is comedy. It is not taken seriously. How many asians got upset over Goodness Gracious Me? Most normal people have a sense of humour, this even extends to acknowledging that something they don't personally find amusing may be amusing to others.

    If girls are not joining IT the it is because they are not inspired to do so, peer pressure not to do anything, peer pressure to stick to more conventional (in a 1950's sense) choices or because they have looked at it and found that the rewards are better elsewhere.

    There was a comment above about inspiring kids before puberty. Inspiring kids to learn is so important, vital infact, and considerably easier than forcing them to learn. My college chemistry tutor was probably the worst tutor (in the traditional teaching to the curriculum sense) in the world, he was on a break from industry and had a phd, 2 years with him opening our eyes and inspiring us was priceless. He had us reading ahead and teaching ourselves the curriculum so he could teach us about real world chemistry. He didn't help my spelling though!

    Learning makes for achievement which builds a cycle of work, achievement and self esteem. This is what makes for happy, well adjusted, productive adults. We absolutely have to cover the basics, but we need from the very begining to have kids pushing their own education. We also have to get into our heads that not all kids need the same from their education. From my close friends (all graduated with highers). We have a photographer, a surf tutor, a bar tender and a cinema manager. Labour pushed to get every kid in university, many frankly are best served by not going. My best paid friend is an electrician, a plumber a close second. Awesom jobs with good rewards. We shouldn't make kids think trades are second rate choices, if a kid shows promise in shop and enjoys it, give them the oppertunity to run with that and stop making them feel like a carpentry apprenticeship is second place to a BA in ferret wrangling. I know which pays better!

  36. scot stockwell
    Joke

    missing the point?

    Its supposed to put women off the IT industry. Its to stop them from takin our jobs :D

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    my experience as a women in tech

    When looking around 6th form college for A Levels I approached the Computer department and was directed to 'ICT' rather than 'Computer Science', based entirely on my being female. I had no confidence at that point in my life, and didn't have the guts to stand up for what I actually wanted. After A Levels I found some confidence and completed a 3 year degree in Computer Science and Mathematics in which I finished top of my year. I don't say this to brag but to point out that even if peer pressure, stereotypes or a lack of confidence stops you from doing what you want - it isn't too late to correct that once you grow up.

    Now 7 years later I sit in an office with 20 other software engineers / researchers - including only one other female. I had dire warnings from my mother on starting this job about how the men would behave terribly towards me and make jokes all the time and give me the crap jobs, but that has never been the case. Only crap code is ridiculed here, regardless of the gender its author. I have never been expected to make the tea.

    I for one find The IT Crowd hilarious. The female character in question is the perfect representation (although exaggerated) of an IT/Project Manager that claims to know all about computers but really doesn't have a clue. The fact that the character is female is neither here nor there. The joke isn't that she is a computer illiterate WOMEN, but that she is a computer illiterate IT MANAGER.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Thanks

      Thanks for your post. That mirrors what I can recall about female developer colleagues and managers in corporate Germany.

      Let's wait until they call your post "anecdotal evidence" :-)

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: my experience as a women in tech

      Coding (like chemistry) is very much a results talk bullshit walks environment. There isn't the room for wiggling. The product is on spec or not.

      Chemistry 10 years ago had problems with gender equality. For many reasons (none of them to do with a lack of intelligence) there were not many female chemists in the workplace. I started work in an r&d facility with a wisked smart german phd student who happend to be female. She was amused and bewildered why women got looked down on in chemistry. In Germany if you are dr baron von ze messerschmitt then irrespective of sex you are ze best it gets (of course there is the Poland bonus point), but there is not the hostility on a sexual basis, that would be innefficent. What I quickly discovered was the govt said there were not enough female chemists, go photocopy some, the company then paid for female staff to take the softest chemistry degrees and bribed them to work. They paid insane salaries to attract any and all vaguely qualified women to the roles, leaving the men who were selected solely on ability (hopefully, nepotism probably played a part) overworked, under renumerated and hugely pissed off.

      My heart went out to the genuinely smart ladies who worked their ass off who were lumped with those with less talent who had understandably taken the golden carrot of positive discrimination.

      For the record, this is not an anti female rant, I just believe that a longer term approach of encouraging, educating and hiring women whose talents lie in chemistry would have been better for everyone including them women. It is counter productive to bribe people into a role they aren't suited to (some ladies of course were suited to it, but cast a wide net and catch a wide variety) rather than just supporting and encouraging those that are. The same is true in computing.

      As stated Germany is far better, although obsessed with phd's and noble titles (and Poland).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        FAIL

        Cannot Confirm That

        In the German R&D departments I worked, you got the boot if you did not deliver the expected results in the expected time. I got the boot twice and I don't think I would be saved by being an aristocrat.

        Mr Messerschmidt wasn't a Baron, but the son of wine traders. He probably got a proper education and that was the basis of his career, I suspect.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willy_Messerschmitt

        Von Braun (the SS/NASA rocket developer) also got his postion by apparently excellent academic performance (PHD at age 22 according to wikipedia !). He was an aristocrat, but it did not matter either.

        Poland - part of Mr Hitler's obession with "living space". Now a source of jokes ("Heute gestolen, morgen schon in Polen") regarding car theft. Not much more. Many poles work in Germany quite happily without being forced this time.

        In the case of Braun, it appears he was mad for success and would probably have become a glowing communist, if he got rocket-development resources from them.

        There is a reason why German economy is efficient and one of it is that the things you describe are simply an exception.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: Cannot Confirm That

          Sorry that was an attempt at humour :) Although they do have a preoccupation with titles and phd's (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-12504356) . The latter is no bad thing.

          I have a lot of respect for the German economy. They have turned round their country and created an economic and industrial powerhouse that both maintains it's socialist principals (afterall, this is the country that gave us the Bismark healthcare system) whilst being able to compete globally in both manufacturing and research. Germans frankly have their collective **** together and for that I respect them.

          A rather cynical idea is that the Eurozone and a federal Europe is simply a rouse for control over Europe without an army. To some extent it seems to have worked if it is true. The Euro has just pushed wealth and power into Germany. The reward for hard work perhaps?

  38. Andy Watt
    Coat

    Maybe women are just more intelligent.

    I don't know about you, but as an IT worker sitting in front of a bloody TV for 8 hours a day pushing electrons around hasn't made me any happier. Maybe women have more inteligence than "not working in IT" suggests.

    Good luck to them. If you can make a living doing something you like, and you realise that early, go for it.

    Mine's the one with an open university course enrolement in the pocket

  39. PassiveSmoking

    Has she actually watched the show? Pretty much everyone who isn't Roy, Moss or Richmond is portrayed as technically inept. Maybe Jen sticks out more because she's nominally the group's manager, but I see no reason to believe the group dynamic would have been portrayed any different had Jen been a male character instead.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      And Roy and Moss are ridiculed in their own way as parodies of the stereotype nerd. This is just another clueless dogooder clutching at straws. The sad thing is something in a report is instantly fact and sets off some equally ridiculous quango making insane rules about the negative portrayal of women on TV and funding a bunch of shyte measures which fail to achieve what we need, which is to get kids inspired and help them find out what they are good at and get them doing it. Too much talent is wasted.

  40. fLaMePrOoF
    WTF?

    "The portrayal of IT workers as sexist and women as technically inept and foolish in the programme was unhelpful"

    What UTTER bollocks.

    Sarah Lamb obviously has a massive chip on her shoulder...

    She refers to 'workers' plural and 'women' plural in relation to two INDIVIDUAL characters; one man (the 'big boss') and one woman (the 'lesser boss') in The IT Crowd - these characters' genders could just as easily have been reversed, they are not relevant - the program in NO WAY implicitly or explicitly exploits gender stereotypes for laughs.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never realised the IT Crowd was a documentary.

    Did The Office put people off working for a paper company?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Did The Office put people off working for a paper company?

      No, but The Office did put me off Ricky Gervais.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @AC 12.36

      > Did The Office put people off working for a paper company?

      No... but it did put me off working in Slough.

  42. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    really?

    "Sexism in The IT Crowd and other TV shows that chronicle of life in the tech industry is preventing women from considering a career in IT, said Sarah Lamb of women-in-tech-group Girl Geek Dinners."

    The turn off the TV. Allowing the young women to consider careers in IT will be far from the only gain.

  43. i like crisps
    Stop

    I think Ms Lamb has missed the point

    As i recall the Jen character wasn't an IT specialist to begin with. As i recall she blagged her way through the interview, she then continued this deception throughout the series, successfully pulling the wool over

    both her employers and subordinates eyes to become a valued member of Reynholm industries.

    Not only that but she also achieved this success whilst having to put up with an extreme Bi-Polar boss, a horny bosses son, the two dickheads she had under her and a suicidal goth in the office next door.

    Instead of rubbishing Jen, Ms Lamb should watch the series again and realize what a strong and positive role-model the Jen character was......the Red Shoes episode was very funny though.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Another woman's experience

    As a teenager in the 70s (yes, I'm that old ...) we had to do a careers project on a career - what qualifications you needed to get started, how it could progress, what type of companies you could work for etc. I chose computer programming - partly because my Dad worked at Southern Electric's computer centre (as an accountant) and could easily pick up some information for me. At the time my uncle had a very feminist girlfriend who on hearing that I'd chosen computer programming for this project and her reaction was "you don't want to go into that: in 15 years that will all be regarded as 'woman's work', and will pay peanuts"! (Which a) was a poor prediction, and b) seemed a strange thing to say for someone who wanted every woman to be able to do whatever she wanted - doesn't that include "even if it's the same as the majority of other women?").

    Wind forward 10 years, and I ended up becoming a trainee COBOL programmer, one of only 4 (I think ... it's a long time ago) women out of 30-odd. And over the years as I moved into systems programming, technical support and management I would guess the ratio's stayed broadly similar, despite regular industry initiatives to even things up.

    OK, so maybe I'm not a "typical woman" (whatever one of those is!) - I'm logical, have good spatial awareness, I went to a (mixed) grammar school where being interested in science and maths wasn't seen as odd, and I could happily be "average" there where I might have been teased for being bright at a comprehensive, I had more Dinky cars than dolls and my train set turned into my Dad's model railway!

    And yes, there have been concerns about the female dominance in (particularly primary school) teaching - but a male friend of mine who wanted to be an infant teacher was effectively hounded out of the profession by parents and senior colleagues who didn't seem able to work out why a man would want to work with young children unless he wanted to abuse them!

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Another woman's experience

      Thank you for the last paragraph! So very true. When my wife was pregnant the first time I asked for time off to accompany her to doctors meetings \ ultrasounds etc. My femalle bosses reaction was "why do you want to go? My husband never went". I wouldn't have missed being there for anything. When our kid was sick I asked for time off another female manager said "but your kid won't want you, she will want her mother".

      It's very refreshing to see people acknowledge anti male sexism, its just as wrong but often ignored. We don't even have a ribbon colour! Sexism is bollocks frankly, good on you for realising what you wanted to do and doing it. That takes courage and effort. People like you should be inspiring kids to do the same!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another woman's experience

        "but your kid won't want you, she will want her mother".

        Me again ... the female AC above ... I would always rather have had my father looking after me when ill, or taking me to the dentist.

        And as another thing: for those who don't think the industry is sexist, just look at the venues for the latest supplier briefings from my Junk mail: Mercedes World, National Motorcycle Museum, Old Trafford ... I know someone women are interested in fast cars, motorcycles and football, but they do pander towrds the alpha male. And as for the amount of female leg and cleavage on display at InfoSec 2012 ... clearly the assumption by vendors is that their target audience is male, whereas I was actually pleasantly surprised by the number of female visitors: a larger minority than I'd anticipated.

        1. Rampant Spaniel

          Re: Another woman's experience

          I love motorbikes and I find it highly insulting that manufacturers think I will only buy one if they drape a scantily clad lady over one. I like ladies, they are wonderful, but it is insulting to me and the ladies involved to have them sit all but naked on bikes because apparently that is all we are interested in.

          As for the kids thing, like most things (apart from unblocking drains and vehicle maintenance, stuff is split equally between us. When a kid is ill we take half a day off each. I don't think there was any malice in my ex managers comments, they are just stuck in some 1840's land where women sew and think of fluffy kittens. I feel sorry for them and their husbands, missing out on ultrasounds and parenting classes, so sad! It was so much fun being part of the process. I can never understand those fathers who just walk away from their kids or aren't interested (nor in the rarer instances where the mother does it).

          I have some EMT\Paramedic training, knowing what to do with a sick kids means you tend to be less emotional and just do whats required, there is less stress when you have the confidence of knowing how to deal with a situation, my wife doesn't (despite years of me begging her to at least get a first aid certificate, she is however an amazing mother!), so I tend to deal with the situations initially then hand over to the 2nd shift. Honestly, I think FA classes should be mandatory for new parents, or at least part of the process as a strongly suggested option. Simple stuff like knowing when your kids in danger of a febrile seizure or how to deal with a temperature properly in the first place or what to do when you kid drinks something it shouldn't etc.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    what about other jobs

    As a man what if I really want to become a Nurse? a mid-wife? child minder? have a nursery? PA? secretary? the same social perception happens the other way around as well

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: what about other jobs

      oh god you are obviously a raving pervo if you want to do something like that. Don't you read the daily bingo?

  46. sisk Silver badge

    Women in IT

    Hold on, let me stick my head out of my cube for a second....yep. Nine women and two men in this IT office. Plenty of women in IT around here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Women in IT

      If I look out of my office, I see a potplant and a fire extinguisher, and no people. Therefore no people work in IT.

  47. Daniel 43
    Paris Hilton

    "In February we took 40 of those GCSE students to Silicon Valley. We saw Google, Stanford, Intel. And seeing so many women working there was important, especially at Google, [where] 50 per cent [of the staff are] women"

    This is a Grammar school head teacher, and The Register have had to fill in the gaps of what she said to make it a proper sentance!

  48. Reallydo Wannaknow
    Linux

    view from t'other side of the pond (and from *gasp* a FEMALE)

    For five years I volunteered for an organization that helps teach kids to use computers. Those so inclined were allowed to help out in the shop, learning more advanced skills. In all that time, only one girl was ever mentored like that -- and in five years, I was the only female volunteer who worked with computers.

    This past year, I started a new program, working with an all-girls high school. Our group learned to build a PC, install and configure Linux, troubleshoot and repair hardware issues, and remove malware from the school's Windows PCs. They helped tone network lines, replaced a defective network switch, built CAT5 cables, and much more.

    Grades improved, attendance improved, attitude soared ... one of our graduates even changed her major, from nursing to Computer Science (she is now interested in a career in bio-informatics).

    So ... I think it's complicated, and not something to "solve" with simple bromides and platitudes. Given a safe and comfortable environment, and just a wee bit of encouragement, I believe girls are just as apt as boys when it comes to all things techie.

    Just my opinion, lads!

    -- a Linux grannie

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Hmmmm

      I went to a German gramma school and we did Turbopascal programming. I did a planetary trajectory simulation then as a project.

      As a C++ developer of 15 years now, it appears that this laid some very important foundations. All the wiring, the operating systems, even the languages do change, but the basic ideas of how to do imperative programming stay the same.

      So, I suggest you also do some programming with your pupils. That is where the action is today and what most respected and well-paid engineers do in terms of computer science. Taking apart and reassembling a computer is valuable, but not the core thing.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    "Sexism in The IT Crowd and other TV shows that chronicle of life in the tech industry"

    The IT Crowd is a comedy TV show, a pretend and made up thing, not a Chronicle.

  50. Oligova
    Trollface

    I'd love emancipation...

    We have been hiring apprenitces for IT jobs the last couple of years. Unfortunately the female applicants (hope this is politically correct) made up about 5 perecent and were neiteher qualified NOR pretty so what is a man to do ....

  51. Dom 3

    "scratch"?

    http://scratch.mit.edu/ i assume. a capital letter would help.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Stop

      Maybe I am an Old Fart

      ..but when I seriously started programming it was done in (Turbo)Pascal. Yes, we spent 80% of time fixing the 25 syntactic errors in these five lines of new code. At first.

      But after a while, we would actually understand the sometimes quite strange error messages and the edit/compile/debug cycle was very fast as soon as the syntactic hurdles were overcome. Scratch apparently doesn't even have procedures. So, please don't dumb it down. Use something proper - C#, Perl, Pascal, Ada, Smalltalk. My conviction is that TurboPascal would be an excellent choice to the present day, even if you need a DOS emulator to make it run.

      1. Old Handle

        Re: Maybe I am an Old Fart

        Scratch currently has what they call "Broadcasts" which can be used similar to procedures. The next version will have proper procedures.

        In any case, I can understand why someone would look at Scratch and see it as dumbed down, but I don't think that's entirely fair. Obviously it's not suitable for low level programing, but that's no the goal. What it does do is make it possible for someone with zero experience to start making programs that actually do something interesting in one day.

        Though personally, if I were designing a beginner's programing course, unless it was specifically for young children, I wouldn't use Scratch. But I sure wouldn't use TurboPascal either. That's too far removed from the kind of software most people use in real life nowadays. The most important thing, IMHO is that people can see right away that they can really create something useful, and without being some kind of geek hacker god.

  52. moonface

    In February we took 40 of those GCSE students to Silicon Valley

    Things sure change. I took the 'O' level option in Geography just for the camping trip to Aberystwyth.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: In February we took 40 of those GCSE students to Silicon Valley

      Fancy bugger, in Yorkshire they just sent us down 't pit, until Maggie closed it.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "As a final point, Deehan mentioned that a move to making the ICT curriculum more creative would make it more attractive to girls. He pressed for the government's focus on STEM subjects - Science Technology Engineering and Maths – to include the Arts.

    Arts and creativity should be as a part of the STEM focus. That's why we suggest STEAM - otherwise we still see them as consumers, not creatives."

    Here's the real problem. The whole reason for the STEM focus is that so much time and effort has been spent on the arts that Science and Engineering have been crowded out. Now the Arts/Liberal Arts teachers have realized that their nice professorships are going to go away, and that simply requiring more classes out of anyone who wants to take a hard science is not going to sustain their positions, and they want in on this new fad.

    And trying to say that it doesn't include the traditional arts is rediculous. The world has never lacked for failed artists, and never will. People are not generally driven to take up the arts for the money. Those that are have a tendancy to do so generally attend two LA area universitys' film schools, so there's a certain barier to entry.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Well bloody said.

  54. Petrea Mitchell
    Stop

    It's not one show

    No, you can't blame The IT Crowd all by itself for sexism. The problem is when the available media, as a whole, fiction or non, is in general agreement that math and computers and geekdom are all in the male domain. It's a high-profile emblem of the problem that is easy to take potshots at, but changing one show won't fix everything.

  55. Petrea Mitchell
    Flame

    And as long as we're pointing fingers...

    ...I'd just like to express my annoyance at the term "geek girl". If someone wants to fight the tide of sexism and get more men to take me seriously as a 10+-year IT veteran with all the multifacted knowledge of my craft, it would help a lot more if they could start with a term that suggests I am an adult.

  56. heyrick Silver badge
    FAIL

    Oh for god's sake...

    So Jen is a bumbling halfwit. You think any of the characters are competent? Maurice is never going to get laid (unless the girl in question is sozzled), and Roy... how the hell did Roy even get that job?

    The programme makes fun of everything from nerds to woman in the workplace to the peter principle of management. To pick on it soley for making fun of women is a little bit stupid.

    Far better, if you ask me, is to look to address the culture of "smart people" are clods, brainiacs, losers, dweebs, and so many insults I have forgotten over time. There is plenty of encouragement to get drunk and be an idiot, especially in front of a video camera. There is very little encouragement to exercise your brain. Funny how the first page of comments starts right off on that topic, eh?

  57. Jim 59

    IT Crowd

    With a very few exceptions, women and girls are, on the whole, not interested in engineering as a career. In order to get more female engineers, you are going to have to get teenage girls less interested in horses and more interested in electronics. Good luck with that. Teenage boys on the other hand, can easily become obsessed with technical subjects, as did many Reg readers did in their youth. This is nothing to do with intelligence, it is just "la differance".

    Neither should girls be pushed into engineering if they don't want it, or made to feel dumb if they don't become the next Linus Torvalds or Marie Curie.

  58. Lone Gunman
    Flame

    So many issues but where to start ...

    I'm of the female persuasion and I work in technology. There I said it and I didn't even cringe. I don't have a technical job, but I do have a serious inner geek that likes me to read sites like this one, watch science programmes, and actually coo over new shiny kit. I can hold relatively technical conversations with our IT teams and scare the pants off our support desk because I don't fit into their script. I know that I'm respected for my knowledge and that I show an interest even when it isn't broken!

    You can blame the IT Crowd for many things (painfully unfunny and too many reminders of places I've worked, IMHO of course) but not for why girls avoid IT careers. There is a definite issue with the way its taught in schools even if you ignore the curriculum. You need to inspire them to do something creative not bore the poor sods to death for a start. As has been pointed out, IT is a huge subject with many specialisations its not just wires and programming.

    There is also a huge problem now with the rise of the smartphones/tablets era. So much of how to make it work is now completely hidden from the user to even start to become interested. Its the same with Windows and OSX to an extent. You switch them on and use an app. No clue on what the hardware does or how the apps interact with the OS, let alone how to fix them when they have their "moments". All the interesting bits are now hidden away or locked down and its not so easy to poke them just to find out what its doing.

    I think one of the biggest problems of all though is actually the media. Its wall to wall celebrities (and I use that term loosely) with a definite lean towards those that using their looks for all they are worth. Those with a brain barely get a look in and if they do usually end up with the moniker "thinking man's crumpet" attached to them - yes it is the exactly the same for the men too particularly if they are relatively easy on the eye. Its all bloody WAGs or becoming famous without having done anything (preferably rich too but that seems optional).

    If all the role models are people like Colleen Rooney or nobodies from Big Brother, then what bloody chance do we have?

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Women in IT

    Right, and Moss and Roy are like Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin, right? Not a lazy, drinking sod and a weird nerd.

    Jen works as a stereotype is that IT departments, and especially in the "business analysis" sections are full of oxygen thieves like Jen. Not all... I've met some really good business analysts and project managers that are women, but most of them are awful. They're crap at their jobs, and most of them just don't care, because it's a 2nd income to the family. If they fail, it just doesn't matter. Of all the women I've worked with, I'd hire something like 20% of them, at best, to be in a team, compared to something like 70% of the men.

    The good news is that a lot of these useless women are departing the industry because it's becoming less and less the sort of job that tolerates freeloaders. Companies aren't going to train you in programming when they can hire a guy in India instead. So, you better have a qualification and be able to demonstrate things through personal projects.

  60. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I will watch!

      It is available on 4od if you are in the UK

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    meh

    They should stop complaining and get on with the dinner, didnt we make nice new things like microwaves washing machines and vacum cleaners for them. Lovely girls.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The IT Crowd and reality ..

    The IT Crowd in no-way-shape-or-form realistically depicts the IT industry.

  63. Seb Spiers
    Thumb Down

    Utter Rubbish

    If there was a sitcom about binmen who were sexist and mocked women for not being able to empty bins properly would this woman be having such a rant on her soap box? If people take comedy as fact then they should get into the industry as they've clearly not got the aptitude to succeed.

  64. Stephen Channell
    Facepalm

    Hello, have you actually read the GirlGeek article?

    The article actually laments the perception of IT presented by piss-poor writes/producers who think a Commodore PET in the IT Crowd or an XPS laptop in Sheldon makes them look knowledgeable.

    Truth is IT is young dynamic profession that is much more interesting than Law (or accountancy); who’s practitioners are bereft of the emotional need to write idealised fiction to justify their years of toil. Maybe as IT matures, some technical authors will get so bored they will get round to writing a cracking screen-play, until then we’ve got Father Ted, Father Dougal & Mrs Doyle re-envisioned as Roy, Moss & Jen.. very funny.. but not exactly representative.

    Read the article, consider being a girl-geek mentor.. you might even get…

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wikipedia and YouTube were banned

    That school sounds like somewhere I would have happily sent my daughters before Deehan had his way with it.

    They can text their friends and crib Wikipedia all they want at home, but allowing the rot to fester in school time is so wrong IMHO.

  66. saabpilot

    Why is it any thread that gets over about 40 comments always desends into stupidity ?

    Yes sexism exists from BOTH sides - get over it.

    STUPIDISM is the REAL PROBLEM HERE !!!

  67. Dan 37
    Childcatcher

    meh

    Seems to me the male shareholders are just as daft as Jen in the scene where the internet gets broken. in fact none of the male characters exactly scream 'role model' do they?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTBsm0LzSP0

    I do think sexism in nurseries should be clamped down on - My little girl loves playing with cars, trains, computers, 'planes etc. just as much as (or more than) dolls and cuddly toys 'n stuff but she did go through a phase of not wanting to play with the cars and trains 'because they're for boys'. Since she didn't get that from her parents/grandparents it must be from nursery, probably the other kids, most likely boys who've been told by parents not to play with dolls cos boys play with cars 'n stuff. This is entirely my own, probably sexist, supposition. Tough.

    Seems to me we shouldn't be worried about things like the IT Crowd, which just highlight and caricature stereotypes rather than creating them. Much more useful to eradicate prejudice during the formative years which may have a real impact on the rest of a person's life. I wonder how many women aren't interested in science/tech because they grew up thinking (or being told) that was 'boring stuff for boys'.

    How many people don't like/aren't good at maths because they learned maths was hard before they learned maths?

    Preconceived notions are bad m'kay? (Admittedly there are exceptions)

    Passing them on to our children is worse.

    Blaming a comedy TV programme for pre-existing stereotypes is retarded.

  68. thalass

    Interesting. I never thought of Jen as a woman, as such (other than the obvious). I thought of that character as more of a stereotypical manager. I am completely comfortable with negative portrayals of managerial staff.

    For a show like The IT Crowd, it would be fairly easy to write a female geek character. They already have brilliant writers. But the entertainment industry as a whole has a whole lot more inertia to overcome before that kind of change could happen.

  69. PAT MCCLUNG
    Happy

    ************************************************************************************************************

    "...

    Spooner

    Tell me then about your wife.

    Hirst

    What wife?

    Spooner

    How beautiful she was, how tender and how true. Tell me with what speed she swung in the air, with what velocity she came off the wicket, whether she was responsive to finger spin, whether you could bowl a shooter with her, or an offbreak with a legbreak action. In other words, did she google?

    ..."

    Harold Pinter, No Man's Land, a Play by Harold Pinter, New York, Grove Press, Inc. 1975 p.32 [copyright 1975 by H. Pinter Limited]

    ************************************************************************************************************

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