back to article Continued lack of women in tech bemoaned by ex-techie lady MP

The number of women enrolled in training courses preparing them to work in the tech industry has not changed for 30 years, an MP has told the House of Commons. Ahead of a debate last Friday on “attracting girls to ICT careers”, Labour MP and former shadow minister for innovation Chi Onwurah warned that Britain's tech sector …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    “geeky” image

    I am a geek and I am proud of it.

    P.S. Being a geek doesn't mean that the person is a spineless brainiac with thick glasses. Some of us hit the gym as well; not me though, I am the spineless brainiac type :-)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woman who gives up,

    and complains that woman gives up.

    She must be a politician.

    1. Frankee Llonnygog

      Re: Woman who gives up,

      Woman who succeeds in her profession and then enters public service to help other women succeed. She must be a politician.

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Woman who gives up,

        If she was a successful engineer, why on earth would she want to become a politician?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Woman who gives up,

          We need engineers and scientists in politics, it's a good thing.

        2. DaiKiwi

          Re: Woman who gives up,

          Because an engineer sees society as an immensly complex machine with a myriad of interacting feedback mechanisms which require adjusting from time to time?

  3. Khaptain Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Common sense !!

    Should we also teach young children to be more androgynous ? Should we have more women on building sites ? Are there too many men in the army ?.

    Some jobs will always have a natural tendancy to attract more men than women and vice-versa.

    Equality is not always about equal quantity. Women have exactly the same possibility of moving into the tech sector, there are no barriers whatsover for them to begin a career. As mentioned there is almost 20% of women within the industry.

    I hate these kinds of articles they smell more of PC than of common sense.

    1. Raumkraut

      Re: Common sense !!

      > Some jobs will always have a natural tendancy to attract more men than women and vice-versa.

      I'd suggest rather that some jobs have a cultural tendency to attract more of one gender than the other. I strongly believe that cultural norms and peer pressure can trump biology and genetics in almost every case of workplace gender bias.

      1. Khaptain Silver badge

        Re: Common sense !!

        Nature has a strong influence on culture, culture has a strong influence on people.. Agreed.

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Common sense !!

      I agree, and it would be interesting to hear the views of any female commentards. I think that there is a big difference between "not choosing" to enter the tech sector, and "choosing not" to enter it. In my first job I'd have said that the number of women was >> 16%, but that was in a city wirh a large university CS department and lots of female students. My current employer does anecdotally seem to be around that 16% figure, for a much older workforce. Have the percentages been studied with age in mind?

      There is clearly no physical or mental reason why the sexes shouldn't be equally represented (unlike building sites, for example), so there must be other causes. I see no sex-related difference in the quality of engineering or design work among my colleagues, although I have found female QA engineers to be better than their male counterparts. Whether they are more conscientious, or just better at delivering criticism I'm not sure!

      It is clear that around age 30-40 women do take a larger share of child-raising tasks, and whether that is cultural pressure or personal choice is a sensitive subject for debate. It can result in a career stalling, someone getting a reputation for "never wanting to travel" etc. That may not be a problem for someone with the drive & money of a Marissa Mayer but not everyone feels like her.

      It isn't unusual for someone to make a life/career balance choice in early life and regret it later, and the usual double-standards raise their heads. The man who neglects family to forge a career, and later regrets his poor relationship with his children, is a staple of popular drama and it's fashionable to criticise him for his decision. If a women puts family first, and later bemoans her lack of career advancement, it gets blamed on "society" or "industry" causing problems for the women. Criticising the woman is slammed as being sexist, or playing to stereotypes. Equality by the numbers isn't the solution.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Common sense !! @Phil O'Sophical

        "The man who neglects family to forge a career, and later regrets his poor relationship with his children, is a staple of popular drama and it's fashionable to criticise him for his decision. If a women puts family first, and later bemoans her lack of career advancement, it gets blamed on "society" or "industry" causing problems for the women."

        Wish I'd been able to put my feelings on the matter (in agreement with yours,) so concisely!

      2. Tom 13

        Re: no sex-related difference in the quality of engineering or design work among my colleagues

        You wouldn't because you're already past the selector. The question isn't if there's a difference between them within the group of people who do the work, the question is whether they are being drawn from the original pool with equal probability.

        The problem comes when you attempt to define "original pool" for purposes of the experiment. I would define the original pool as "those with the ability to do the work who also have an interest in doing it." If that population is 50/50 male female, the number of workers would be 50/50. If for some reason that breakdown was 20/80 in a fair worker selection the worker breakdown would also be 20/80. At this point the question becomes what is the "some reason" the population moves to 20/80? If the reason has to do with sexual discrimination, there is a problem. If the reason has nothing to do with sexual discrimination there isn't a problem. But the assumption whenever this issue arises is that there cannot be non-sexual discrimination reasons for a 20/80 split.

    3. Poor Coco
      Facepalm

      Re: Common sense !!

      Equality of opportunity does not mean equality of outcomes. Nobody is stopping women from having productive careers in ICT, except themselves from their own free decisions.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Common sense !!

        @Poor Coco - Lots of people are stopping women having careers in ICT - the amount of crap that I see the female senior developer that I work with getting from junior staff who clearly think that she isn't capable of doing her job despite all the evidence to the contrary is frankly shocking. I've heard senior UNIX department managers at a FTSE 100 company seriously discussing if they should employ women and decide not to "because women can't do unix." The examples are countless and if you think this is down to women you are part of the problem.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Declines and increases

    "The debate heard that between 2001 and 2011 the percentage of tech jobs held by women declined from 22 per cent to 17 per cent."

    On the other hand, the percentage of tech jobs held by people like Eadon increased correspondingly, which presages further declines in the percentage of tech jobs held by women.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Declines and increases

      On the other hand, the percentage of tech jobs held by people like Eadon increased correspondingly,

      Unwanted, off topic ad hominem. I'm no fan of Eadon, but this makes you do the same things so who are you to criticise?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    She's right, and not just in tech.

    I do not hesitate to say that having an ICT workforce more representative of humanity must result in technology which is more humane

    I would like to see more women in the security business, because we urgently need to lose the idea that it's all about technology - I think we're in a reasonable state in that area. Especially at the level that we work at it's more about people, and most women I know are better wired for that than men (admittedly that's a limited sample range, but facts seem to bear this out :) ).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: She's right, and not just in tech.

      "I would like to see more women in the security business"

      Great idea, love to have a frisk down by Gwyneth Paltrow just before my flight !

      However knowing my luck I'd get Mandy Dingle from Emmerdale Farm.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: She's right, and not just in tech.

        "I would like to see more women in the security business"

        Great idea, love to have a frisk down by Gwyneth Paltrow just before my flight !

        .. and so the stereotype continues. Sigh.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: She's right, and not just in tech. @AC 10.23

          I think you have been drinking too much tap water containing estradiol or chewing on bisphenol plastics.

          Face it Men are genetically different from Women and have evolved that way over millions of years.

          1. Poor Coco

            Re: She's right, and not just in tech. @AC 10.23

            Those who look very, very very closely at a typical male human being and a typical female human being will notice we’re SEXUALLY DIMORPHIC. Sexual dimorphism extends to more than gross physical characteristics, with good reason. If we didn’t have the divisions of labour between men and women that we developed as a hunter-gatherer species, we would not have survived to dominate the planet.

            Ignoring this, and demanding that women comprise 50% or more (notice gender feminists never complain about sectors in which women dominate), is to ignore fundamental human nature in favour of baseless ideological twattery.

        2. Tom 13

          Re: .. and so the stereotype continues. Sigh.

          And how exactly do you know the previous AC was male? I've known some women who would openly make just that statement.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: .. and so the stereotype continues. Sigh.

            And how do you know I'm not a lesbian ?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: .. and so the stereotype continues. Sigh.

              I'm a lesbian trapped in a man's body.

  6. Anonymous IV
    Headmaster

    Getting the gender terminology correct

    In the same way as we have a gender distinction between blond and blonde, would IT be more inviting to women if they could be called a nerde or a geeke?

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Getting the gender terminology correct

      I doubt it. Look at France where terminology is gender-specific, we get "blogueurs" and "blogueuses" but the land of M. Chauvin doesn't seem notably better-supplied with female geek(e)s.

    2. Irony Deficient

      Re: Getting the gender terminology correct

      Anonymous IV, no, that wouldn’t make IT any more inviting. Given the derivation of blond and blonde from French, “nerde” rather suggests a suboptimal French rhyme.

  7. Turtle

    Is this what she means?

    "I do not hesitate to say that having an ICT workforce more representative of humanity must result in technology which is more humane."

    Is she saying that the UK's ICT workforce should be 37% Indian and Chinese?

    1. JimC

      Re: Is she saying that the UK's ICT workforce should be 37% Indian and Chinese?

      I shouldn't be suprised to be told that it was - except that most of them live, work and pay tax in India and China.

      But seriously, personally I think this is a significant problem.

      At the most trivial you could say that its nice for sad old middle aged geeks like me to have younger women around the workplace because it improves the ambience.

      Howver I do believe that women tend to be better at some types of role than men, and in any case its always a bad thing if your industry is putting off a significant percentage of good workers that are therefore lost to other industries.

    2. Craigness

      Re: Is this what she means?

      It's already 37% Indian in 3 of my last 4 jobs.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is this what she means?

      Actually, she appears to be saying that the ICT workforce should be composed of at least 90% people who have zero knowledge of ICT.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Is this what she means?

        Actually, she appears to be saying that the ICT workforce should be composed of at least 90% people who have zero knowledge of ICT

        Given from what I see of gov IT projects, it can be argued that that is already the case.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    Either El Reg selectoquoting or a goldmine of confusion

    "The lack of women represents a loss to society of the types of ICT that might come from non-male minds"

    LBGT community and amanfrommars, step up!

    "I do not hesitate to say that having an ICT workforce more representative of humanity must result in technology which is more humane"

    Please DO hesitate to say so. "Must result"? I would like to believe.

    "All too often technology is imposed on us aggressively and before it is fit for purpose"

    Like those Apple maps? That has more to do with market conditions than with the caring, sharing mind of wimmin. And really, the only one who "imposes" stuff is state. From others, one can run away or build a better product.

    I thought she had been in the biz for 25 years?

    1. Turtle

      Re: Either El Reg selectoquoting or a goldmine of confusion

      "I thought she had been in the biz for 25 years?"

      She's in a very different biz now, though.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Either El Reg selectoquoting or a goldmine of confusion

      I remember watching a psychology documentary a while ago about the male and female brain. The male brain being more logical and aimed at abstract jobs like engineering or maths. Then they had the female brain which is more empathetic and better geared towards personal rolls like doctors or nurses.

      As part of it they got a set of career professionals, both men and women, from the various 'gender set' rolls. So you had male teachers and nurses, or female engineers and builders.

      On the female aligned jobs (teachers etc) both male and female scored around teh same on their tests ,and when it came to how they taught or did things again it was very similar. Likewise when you reversed it, the male minded half of the test, both men and women, had the same results with them scoring very similarly in the same areas.

      I think one of the tests funnily enough was putting together a flat pack table and set of drawers. Feminine minded people went straight to the instructions, failed miserably and gave up after 10 minutes. Male minded folks ignored the instructions, laid the parts out, got straight to work and were finished damn quick.

      Saying we need more women in IT is then, absurd, as the women who joined up would tend to have the similar logical brain of the male IT folks. Not only that but it isn't even us engineers who make the decisions. We get told what to do by the designers etc who funny enough, tend to lean more towards the ampathetic feminine mind.

      As an example of this, at uni I did a videogames course. On the software side of it the course was entirely guys in our year, in the years after us there were one or two girls, out class was entirely boys though.

      On the other side of the course, in the arts section the class was very female dominant.

      Saying we should split the work so there are more women in IT is effectively spitting in the face of darwinism (extreme I know, don't take it literally) survival of the fittest dictates that those who are good at something will excel and thrive, those who are not will die out.

      If we keep artifically forcing people who aren't most suited to a roll into said roll purely to fill out some bullshit statistics we're effectively cutting off darwinism, and instead of pushing the most effective people in to the positions they'll make the most positiive impact, we're moving people away from the jobs they'd be bst suited for and replacing the mwith less than stellar counterparts.

      It's almost like the peter principle but starting from square one.

      For those unaware, the peter principle is the process by which you start out low, and by showing extreme competence are promoted, each promotion takes you further from your core skillset and relies on skills you don't have. Basically somebody who is the best engineer you have eventually winds up an incompetent manager because he doesn't have teh skills for it, he then stays there.

      The situation they're advocating is doing this from square one, take somebody less apt to the job, who would be better suited in another field, and give them a job they aren't suited to. They won't accell because they don't have the skills (until a statistic comes out and shows women are being turned up for promotion in favour of men) and the entire industry suffers.

      As a final note however, i am not saying that women as a whole aren't suited to the IT industry, a lot of the women I work with are probably more competent than the men in many respects. What I am against is finding that there are more X than Y in industry Z, and making some bullshit quota to for more of Y into the industry and more of X out.

      You don't see statistics poitning out the fact that there are more female workers i the housekeeping industry, (it's the only industry that ame straight to mind, sorry)

  9. localzuk

    Automatic tills?

    What is the relevance of automated tills in supermarkets?

    They do their jobs perfectly from what I can tell - walk up, scan your item, stick it on the output area, repeat until finished, tap pay, choose method and then insert cash or card. Done.

    What else would she think a woman would do to them?

    The drive for equality is a good thing (so long as equality is actually the goal) - but sometimes, people are getting lost on the way. Highlighting things like the above make the speaker here seem like a bit of an idiot IMO.

    1. Craigness

      Re: Automatic tills?

      I thought that was a very sexist comment by her. Self-service tills may not be a woman's preference but as a man I think they're very useful. She seems to imply that the opinions of men are not important, or that only women go to supermarkets.

    2. Richard Wharram
      WTF?

      Re: Automatic tills?

      Business people in Retail are quite likely to be women. So are the Business Analysts who would produce the requirements.

      Given that, would it really have made a difference if the nerd who did the code to plumb the till into the Point Of Sale system was a lady?

      1. Crisp Silver badge

        Re: Business people in Retail are quite likely to be women.

        Yet we don't get politicians moaning about the lack of men in retail.

        Funny that.

    3. spiny norman
      Coat

      Re: Automatic tills?

      Judging by the assistants I see scurrying around the automated checkout area at our local Morrisons, helping people who've got stuck, using them isn't quite as straight forward as you suggest. I do realise, nonetheless, that this is the fault of the stupid customers.

      Mine's the one with the items in the wrong bag.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: using them isn't quite as straight forward

        It is quite straight forward. The difficulty lies in remembering how stupid the average person is, and then remembering that half the population is dumber than that. Or bloodied minded about their stupidity.

        If I have a bunch of stuff I normally go to a person manned aisle. If only a few I will take the self-checkout lane. The self-checkout is slow because the computer has to check each step of the process before allowing you to continue. So you can't throw an item in the bag and scan the next one before the system has had time to register the weight of the processed item. Clerks can do that because they are the check against theft. The other day I was at the store with my female roommate. She kept trying to scan things faster than the system would register the weight and got all flustered when the "unexpected item in bagging area" alarm went off. She just couldn't cope with being faster than the computer. She is mind you, a pretty good mechanical engineer and makes more at it than I do as a help desk tech.

    4. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Automatic tills?

      > They do their jobs perfectly from what I can tel

      WHAT?

      "Unexpected Item In The Bagging Area"

      I can't even be near one without wanting to kick it.

    5. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Automatic tills?

      I'm not sure, but I had trouble using them at first, depending on the store - they all do basically the same thing, but differently and not as well. I think the early Sainsbury model in particular defeated me when I tried to use the "Brought my own shopping bag" routine. I also didn't understand - as I believe I now do - that the thing is basically a big weighing scale. I suppose they maybe consider that to be an important secret.

      I hadn't thought before, but probably the best re-useable bag would be one that holds itself open while you pack. Are there any such on the market? (My own ideas deleted in case I get to make my fortune by inventing one.)

      It would probably be simpler if they just forced you to use the shop carrier bags that are provided on the special mounting thing, even if you have your own bags. Is that a man idea or a woman idea? I'm a man, so I suppose that's the answer.

      I also have a man solution to the problem of ironing clothes. It is difficult or impossible for a robot to iron a shirt in the ordinary way, and it's tiresome to do it yourself. My secret solution is that I don't iron the shirt at all. It saves so much time and nobody cares.

    6. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Automatic tills?

      Nothing really wrong with self-service checkouts, except that they're as yet imperfect. Half of them claim to let you use your own bags but then make you hang around for verification if the bags aren't gossamer-light. And it's annoying to have to hang around for age verification because your shopping includes wine. The worst ones are in B&Q. They're voiced by a ratty woman who nags you if you pause for more than ten seconds between items.

      But in what sense is this technology "imposed on us aggressively"? These checkouts are rarely more than 25% of the checkouts. I use them because they're fast, but if the former shadow minister for innovation doesn't like them she could always queue up at a manual checkout.

    7. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Automatic tills?

      Horrible things, tried a few.

      I was recommended to use one to save queueing.

      Take your item and wave it, doesn't register or you have to put it in a certain spot, next item ignored because I hadn't done something else. Look stupid piece of junk I put item in front of scanner then the next, anything else I am not interested in.

      I just abandoned and queued for a human - it was quicker.

      Just get stuffed automatic till, much quicker to use a checkout person, their scanners just beep and let them get on with it. You can talk to them if you want.

      Argos - would not let me order an item - had to go to till so why bother.

      B&Q rejected my card, normal till took it.

      I make a point now of NOT using them, if I want to buy something without human interaction I will buy on line

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

        Re: Automatic tills?

        @MJI

        Absolutely agree. Tried them. Hated them. Like the personal touch of a real human. Also don't want to put anyone out of a job, even one as menial as till operator.

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: Till operators

          I would not say menial, possibly boring, but a good source of income for students and without insulting them people whose partner is the major wage earner (eg part time mums on tills.)

          My wife always gets chatting with them, till staff appreciate it.

          And they hate the till messages more than us!

    8. localzuk

      Re: Automatic tills?

      Ok, from the mixed responses it does seem that we have a number of people who are unable to think the process through properly.

      How can an automated till confirm what you've scanned is what you say you've put in the bag? Cheapest way is to go be weight. So, that explains the whole "using your own bag always flags up an issue" thing - if the bag you're using is heavy, then the till needs confirmation that you're not secretly hiding things in there to get around having to scan them. Think about it logically and it makes sense. Maybe that's too much to ask though.

      I've never once had an issue with an automated till. You just do what it tells you! But people also seem to dislike doing that too - in all walks of life. Send out an email to staff telling them how to do something. If it has more than 1 step, cue the influx of people who say its too difficult.

      1. Professor Clifton Shallot

        Re: Automatic tills?

        " from the mixed responses it does seem that we have a number of people who are unable to think the process through properly."

        No, you'll find we have thought the entire process through properly and decided that these machines do not yet function well enough to be useful to us.

        I am very happy for you that you always do what you are told by the machines and have not had a problem as a result - please consider this post to be a machine telling you to take your patronising attitude and bag it.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If people like her keep painting a negative picture for women then why does she think women would be attracted to those roles?

    Secondly, why would there be any improvement to IT just because women were there? What have women done to improve politics? Can anyone spot the difference between when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State and some guy was? Was Thatcher any more compassionate than a man? Does this particular whining woman bring anything new to politics herself?

    Nope and that's we're not that different so a woman going into politics will share the same qualities as a man in that they'll both be self-centred useless leeches.

    1. Craigness

      She was the product of an all-women shortlist. Maybe she's the best of a bad bunch.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        All women short lists

        Stupid idea - you just get the worst. Look at the so called Blair babes.

        Make it open to best PERSON.

        Just to annoy the inadequates who like these short lists, how come a woman became Prime Minister without them, and women chosen using them have been invariably useless.

        I am very in favour of EQUAL opportunities as the best person not the best man / woman / alien / teapot ect

        1. Craigness

          Re: All women short lists

          It's not only about female advancement. Where I live the local party selected a candidate who the central party didn't like. He was a man so they imposed an all women shortlist and flew in a woman from outside the region whose only job had been working for the party. Control was restored and brownie points earned.

          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: All women short lists - Craigness

            Where I live the opposition party has gone down this route, she seems a bit useless, council manager, being really hyped up by her party.

            Currently got a chap whose father was the MP in the 70s and is also the only political person to door to door in the last 5 years.

    2. Christine Hedley

      "If people like her keep painting a negative picture for women then why does she think women would be attracted to those roles?"

      Quite. I have noticed that over the years, I've noticed the percentage of women in IT gradually decreasing. I can't say there's a direct link between the dwindling numbers and this sort of publicity, but it's unlikely to help; personally, I think IT has become such a toxic place to work that I'm hesitant to recommend it to anyone (don't get me wrong, I love my job, but the working conditions, not so much.)

  11. Gordon Pryra

    ICT and engineering in the same sentence?

    This makes me laugh, Engineering makes me think of something that that technology forward. In the 20 odd years I've been sleeping at the keyboard, nothing very much has changed in ICT. Yeah brand names have come and gone, also "new technologies" have evolved, but in the main, this new tech is just old stuff done either slightly better or just renamed.

    How can you extol the virtues of an industry that is so stagnant?

    ICT is, in reality, just an exercise in customer services, logistics and hand holding.

    People laugh at ITOL for being a simple tick-box exercise and just being logical steps, but that's all ICT needs to be successful.

    Why on earth would ANYONE, be it male or femail want to get into this industry now?

  12. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Women have social skills amd like to use them

      Well, that's a particularly sexist comment, the sort of thing that I've come to expect though, I have to admit.

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  13. Pete 2

    Choosing choice

    > women are not choosing to enter the tech sector

    Yes, they're not CHOOSING it. They have the option to enter the tech sector, some: not all, choose not to. In the past women have successfully infiltrated (if that's the right word) previous male-dominated professions, like: well, all of them - doctors, lawyers, advertising, acting, TV ... and the list could go on, and on, and on.

    So there is no lack of abillity to break into a predominantly male line of work. The fact that there is little long-term change in women's numbers in IT can only be due to their lack of willingness to qualify for and take up IT jobs - compared to what they've achieved in most other walks of life. The simplest conclusion is that they prefer NOT to work in IT.

    Now if you want a sector that badly needs gender-equality for the sake of all the members of society who pass through it in their formative years, lets see a similar campaign to get men (back) into teaching.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Choosing choice

      In the 1960s there were many women in the computer industry. Very few were in the Engineering department - but there were significant numbers in software development, software support, sales, and marketing roles.

      There were fewer as computer operators because they weren't allowed to work night shifts. However that restriction didn't apply to women software developers who would book "hands-on" slots in the early hours. While they waited they would chat up the operators.

      In my department in 1967 there were two junior guys and five more senior women - all doing technical support and programming. The change probably came in the 1980s - possibly as the industry started to want recruits with degrees in IT.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: lets see a similar campaign to get men (back) into teaching.

      By all means we should. Society could do with a good deal less of that touchy-feelie liberal/progressive/commie crap and a good dose more logical thinking.

      1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: lets see a similar campaign to get men (back) into teaching.

        I'd like to see a more balanced distribution of teachers, but honestly, what man is going to take the risk these days? One false accusation from a disgruntled pupil (male or female) and not only is your life ruined, but so is that of all your family and friends.

  14. ChrisJC

    Maybe they just don't want to!

    Maybe less women want jobs in tech compared to men. Does it matter?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe they just don't want to!

      Yes, if the reason that they don't want jobs in the field is because of the rampant sexism and hostile attitude to women.

      1. toadwarrior

        Re: Maybe they just don't want to!

        I worked at a company where the majority of employees (and managers) where women and IT was very much a man's department with the exception of the IT director. There could possibly be a more woman friendly company and they still opted to avoid IT both internal and external applicants.

        I'm sure sexism plays a part in area like Silicon Valley where you have a bunch of 20 year old guys in a company but that is not the vast majority of IT work and I suspect any reasonable human understands that. I suspect women just aren't attracted to it.

        Who can blame them? I question why guys want to work on a IT help desk or even as a Db admin. The only attractive job imo is programming and while I enjoy it the job can be unnecessarily stressful and unrewarding in some companies.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Maybe they just don't want to!

        "If" is a very big word.

        For what it's worth, women complain, that's what they do, and they're not very good at things. It's science!

        I say they should consider themselves lucky; because before men provided automation, they couldn't do anything, let alone not very much.

        And if you don't believe me, ask Ron Burgundy.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quick, shut the server room door

    Another one's got out and it's spouting opinions.

  16. Christoph Silver badge

    "I do not hesitate to say that having an ICT workforce more representative of humanity must result in technology which is more humane"

    How to promote gender equality - describe one gender as intrinsically inhumane.

    If I were to claim that anything designed by women was automatically inhumane I would be deluged in abuse. And quite possibly charged with a criminal offence for hate speech. So why is it acceptable to make such a claim about men?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You ever hear Woman's Hour on Radio 4 ?

      It's just bitch about Men hour.

      If you give a woman true equality - you know the really shitty backbreaking dirty jobs your wife doesn't want to do that you end up doing it's amazing how quickly they think the idyllic 1950s stereotype is suddenly a good idea.

    2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge

      And then there' s

      "...technology will never have the position it merits at the heart of our society and economy if it remains the preserve of such a narrow section of society." (my emphasis)

      Narrow? Last time I checked men were O(50%) of society.

      Okay, I've rechecked, men are only 49% of the population. (Some sexist bollocks about women living longer.) So her point stands.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Fact

        There are on average (depending where you read) 106 male births to every 100 female births.

        1. Tom 13

          Re: Fact

          And men tend to die on average about 10 years earlier than women, leading to a general population of 48-49% men, excluding certain nations that use abortion as a means of retroactive birth control.

    3. Poor Coco

      As the inimitable TJ Kirk puts it:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JA4EPRbWhQ

    4. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Joke

      So why is it acceptable to make such a claim about men?

      Because that's what women do, bless them.

  17. Fading Silver badge
    FAIL

    Problem with choice

    So the barriers are broken and you give choice to the people. The only problem is they keep picking the wrong one (according to your statistics) . So to compensate you reduce the choices of others to compensate for your statistical anomolies. Well done you've just invented barriers again.

    Grow up and realise that only by making things irrelevant can you make them equal.

  18. Faye B
    Paris Hilton

    ICT is not attractive to women

    Basically the reason for the low numbers of women is that engineering and by association ICT is still percieved as a totally male dominated greasy overall profession. The corollary being that it is not the sort of workplace that women would enjoy being part of or welcomed into. Women in general prefer a work environment that includes a fair degree of social interaction and ICT is seen as the opposite of that with its introverted geeky men, slavishly staring at the screen for hours on end, with little or no regard to human contact or personal hygene. I work in an office that is approximately 90% male and I can go an entire day without speaking to any of them. I once sat next to an engineer whose preferred method of communication was instant messaging and email to those sitting around him!

    If we really do want to encourage women into the world of IT there needs to be a huge shift in the perception of the industry in the media. Only when young girls believe that IT will be welcoming, exciting and socially enhancing will it become as attractive as other professions and encourage them to pursue a career in that direction. We spend an awful lot of our lives at work so it makes sense to choose a work environment that we would enjoy being in and at the moment ICT does not have that appeal. Perhaps if TV or films were to show women having a leading role in the technical world instead of just being delightful eyecandy next to the clever males (examples being Dr Who, Iron Man, Star Trek) there might be a change to the current status quo.

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      Trollface

      You've got it all wrong!

      Rather than changing the work environment so that it becomes attractive to women, we should teach women they should stop trying to interact socially, and get them to stare at the screen the whole day like the male engineers!

      And please stop showering so often, I can't stand this lack of smell coming from you!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ICT is not attractive to women

      Oh, please! Complete tosh.

      Any woman so stupid as to think that way has no place in IT. Women choose not to enter IT because they prefer other careers, those that do enter IT are every bit as competent as their male collegues (in some cases more so, but when I think of some the idiots I've worked with doesn't say much) and are treated according to their talents and nothing else.

      If you want more women in IT, then you have to change them and their out-dated views, not the industry.

      As the saying goes, "you can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink"

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As the saying goes

        I thought it was you can lead a hor ti culture, but you can't make her think!

    3. Mark 153

      Re: ICT is not attractive to women

      "IT is seen as the opposite of that with its introverted geeky men, slavishly staring at the screen for hours on end, with little or no regard to human contact or personal hygene."

      I'm properly sick of that. So, in order to improve take up from one group we must remove the employment opportunities from one of the mostly maligned minorities: The introvert.

      A group of people who are instinctively detail focused and are able to focus on a problem without the constant need for other people to define your self worth. This, you'd thought, would be a necessary talent in a field where thinking hard about something until you make sense of it is the primary skill.

      Also, the personal hygiene thing is just offensive.

    4. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: ICT is not attractive to women

      "Women in general prefer a work environment that includes a fair degree of social interaction"

      Unfortunately my boss prefers a work environment that includes a fair amount of work which means less time for social interaction.

    5. Kubla Cant Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: ICT is not attractive to women

      @Faye B:

      Only when young girls believe that IT will be welcoming, exciting and socially enhancing will it become as attractive as other professions and encourage them to pursue a career in that direction.

      It's a job, not a f***ing coffee morning! You're there to get stuff done, not swan around interacting and socialising and enhancing.

      greasy overall profession

      In 30 years in IT, the only people I've seen in greasy overalls have generally been the cleaners.

      I work in an office that is approximately 90% male and I can go an entire day without speaking to any of them.

      Maybe if you had anything intelligent to say you'd get more interaction.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ICT is not attractive to women

        "I work in an office that is approximately 90% male and I can go an entire day without speaking to any of them."

        I've also come across this, and it has nothing to do with either the workplace or the attitude of the guys working there. More to do with the fact that some of the women are simply moody cows who only talk to other women and the small percentage of males they fancy.

        Anyone they feel doesn't meet their "standards" basically just gets ignored.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: ICT is not attractive to women

          "...I've also come across this, and it has nothing to do with either the workplace or the attitude of the guys working there. More to do with the fact that some of the women are simply moody cows who only talk to other women and the small percentage of males they fancy...."

          And people wonder why there isn't more female representation in ICT.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    The entire argument is so blatantly sexist this politician should be censured. Tell her to reword her sentiments in more politically neutral terms.

    Also: English supermarket tills don't work?

    1. Professor Clifton Shallot

      Re: Bah!

      "English supermarket tills don't work?"

      The do-it-yourself checkouts where you scan items yourself and put them in a bag on a weighing platform have a number of problems including but not limited to:

      - not being able to cope if your own bag is too heavy, where 'too heavy' can include very normal shopping bags, possibly supplied by the same shop whose automated checkout can't cope

      - needing some kind of human staff intervention for various scenarios including buying alcohol. Said human staff are naturally thin on the ground as that is rather the point of installing these systems

      - not being able to cope with very light items, demanding that they are placed in the weighing area when that has already been done

      Some people are perfectly happy with them, others feel they just do not work well enough and that there is no benefit for the customer in having these in preference to the normal, manned tills.

  20. Stevie Silver badge

    Hmm

    I have fond memories of my first job where the head of the punch room *and* the chief programmer were women. Extremely demanding and forceful women, who pushed for and got lockstep compliance and total obedience from the staff and who were extremely strict with juniors.

    It was the best job I ever had.

  21. 33rpm

    Treatment

    I can also say it is the way IT workers are treated by non-IT management and lusers. I have seen when someone who is too stupid to use a computer comes and yells at the HD for "breaking" their computer.

  22. Kevin 6

    Maybe there is less women in IT because they did their homework before embarking on the dead end career path as they don't feel like competing with people from India for the jobs they won't be getting.

    Vs men who rush in not looking first like I did(and regret) :(

  23. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Women fear Open Source?

    "In working with women in open source, the Ada Initiative found that many women are reluctant to post their code publicly when they are first getting started in open source software. This reluctance has good reasons behind it: fear of being told they are bad programmers, fear of being publicly mocked or harassed, and even fear of losing job opportunities. All of these are greater risks for women on average than men", Ada Initiative Blog

  24. JaitcH
    Happy

    It's only when you ...

    work in a true 'equal opportunity' country do you realise just how many jobs in the West are non-female.

    My favourite InterNet tech is a female who has fixed several fibre optic problems that her male counterparts 'patched' up.

    A few years ago I was on a job that involved climbing a 100 metre transmitter mast. Luck of the draw assigned a female radio tech from the carrier company. It rained much of the time we were up there, but not one word of complaint from my partner and she pulled her fare share of the bad parts of the job.

    Equality works, try it, you might even like it. And make sure females get paid the same for work of eequal value!

    1. Poor Coco
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's only when you ...

      I’m glad your workmate was fully competent; it sounds like your employer places priority on safety and does not reduce standards for women to pump up the ranks. That behaviour, documented in the armed forces and fire-fighting, places the feelings of women above the very lives of the people they are there to protect; while a woman may avoid feeling offended at being rejected for a physically demanding job because she’s just not strong enough, people may very well die if their rescuer is not physically up to the task.

      Since your co-worker was nothing like this, and she works on equal basis and with equal evaluation standards, she is an example of the ideal I hold. It makes perfect sense for people with equal qualifications, experience and seniority to be paid the same — and that, in fact, is exactly what happens. The “pay gap” is vapourware.

      “But,” I hear the peanut gallery bellow, “Women on average make only 77% of what men make on average! Patriarchy!!!” — but this, too, is manure. Men make more money on average than women do, because men tend to make hard decisions that result in higher-paying employment. This includes work that is unpleasant and/or dangerous work, which pays more because it’s dangerous and unpleasant, but which women are seldom willing to perform. Don’t believe me? Have you ever seen a garbage man who was, in fact, a woman? I haven’t, and believe me, I would have noticed.

      As a result, men on average earn more than women. But they are maimed and killed VASTLY more often by that work: 95% of all workplace fatalities are men. Oddly, you never hear feminists discussing this 20-to-1 death rate.

      Once again: your coworker was a delightful exception, and I love nothing more than working alongside smart, skilled women. Every single person I have met who fits this description has been an anti-feminist.

  25. Stephen Gray

    Automatic tills rule.

    I'm sorry but if you can't work out how to use one then perhaps you should consider a new career, one that isn't in the technology sector.

    As to women in IT, I couldn't give a toss about your gender, ethnic background or religious views any more than I do about the colour of your hair. Pass the technical test and the job's yours.

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