back to article Boffin's claim: I have found how to get girls into tech

Ever since the dawn of time, it seems, the IT sector has noticed that it is staffed almost entirely by blokes and wondered how this could be changed. Now, through the unlikely agency of a psychology professor in America, it seems that change may finally be at hand. "Understanding what prevents women from entering computer …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

    The battery powered kind anyway.

    Paris, well because ..

    1. Cliff

      Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

      Sorry, know it's meant as a joke and all, but I don't think that's terribly helpful TBH, objectifying women does not create a comfortable environment to attract more into the industry much as nudie calendars don't leave women queueing up to become motor mechanics. I don't think driving women away is quite the same as failing to appeal to or engage them.

      1. greensun

        Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

        The next thing you know, you'll be reporting us for finding the word "dongle" funny. Oh, hang on...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

        In what way is referring to a woman's sexuality "objectifying" them?

        1. Luke McCarthy

          Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

          Sorry but vibrating dildos and "dongles" are objectifying men (they are an object that replaces the man). Not that I have any objection to objectification personally, but the feminists seem to be adamantly against it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls .. @Luke

            Exactly, dildos etc are a replacement for men... empowering rather than objectifying I would say....

            1. Squander Two
              Unhappy

              Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls

              Well, I'm a man who generally gets pissed off by political correctness and the dull morons who have humourectomies in the interest of reading The Guardian, but I still get pissed off that the first response of most Net geeks to even the mention of women is "Hurr, hurr, hurr, sex, hurr, hurr, hurr." To the fuckwits who don't get why this is a problem, would you get a job somewhere where all your colleagues laughed uproariously at graphic descriptions of anally raping you every single day? And then picked on you even more if you failed to pretend convincingly enough that you found it hilarious too? Or would you prefer to work with civilised people?

              And those of you with daughters, would you be happy if they were having to put up with this at school?

              "Dad, all the boys keep talking about fucking me all day."

              "Well, maybe you should learn to appreciate their sense of humour, Sweety."

              Thought not.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls

                @Squander Two:

                I am guessing you work at some phone sex company? Or is this an assumption you make that guys just sit around talking about rape all day? I point out that you are the first I have seen to mention it.

                You say your a man, does that matter? You then pretend you get bothered by all the PC, common emotional trick to present an argument as if PC actually offended you. Then you rant about a situation which (granted this is only my observations) have never ever seen or heard of not even in my school years. The key part to your post is where you then try further emotional blackmail talking about daughters in the fictional scenario you described.

                So as your a man I wonder where you get your vision you clearly posted. Is that your behaviour? Did you encourage such behaviour? Or is this a fairytale you cling to as justification for demanding PC and blaming men for all the ills of this world?

                You must work in some seriously dodgy jobs if that is your experience. I dont know any men or women who would accept that behaviour so I am seriously wondering what country and what industries you have worked in to become so enraged that people can possibly say something in humour.

                1. Squander Two

                  "I am guessing you work at some phone sex company?"

                  > Or is this an assumption you make that guys just sit around talking about rape all day? I point out that you are the first I have seen to mention it.

                  Seriously? You want to try that here? In this long list of comments about sticking objects into women in response to an article that mentioned women on an IT site?

                  Does anyone here seriously think that it would be possible to publish an article on any tech or IT site on the Web about women in IT to which one of the first replies wouldn't mention sex with said women, how large their breasts were, how sexily they dressed, etc?

                  > You say your a man, does that matter?

                  Well, only when responding to someone else who decided to bring up the matter of whether the commenters on this thread were men or women and try to divine something from it. You know, context. Do keep up.

                  > You then pretend you get bothered by all the PC, common emotional trick to present an argument as if PC actually offended you.

                  Google my username. Read my blog. Then tell me I'm a big fan of political correctness. If you can't be bothered (which is fair enough), you'll just have to take my word for it. But, if you want to accuse me of lying, you should maybe check the extremely easily available evidence.

                  > I dont know any men or women who would accept that behaviour

                  And yet I can read loads of comments, right here on this page, defending it. For the slow of thinking, "Ha ha, I can stick things into women's vaginas" is a rape joke. Yes, it was also a really crap pun. But it was still a rape joke. So defend it or tell me that rape jokes aren't acceptable in IT, but please don't try both.

              2. magrathea

                Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls

                "would you get a job somewhere where all your colleagues laughed uproariously at graphic descriptions of anally raping you every single day?"

                Where the hell have you been working - a prison?

              3. Wzrd1

                Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls

                "Well, maybe you should learn to appreciate their sense of humour, Sweety."

                Why, that has precisely been my response to my now daughters. I also suggested a humour appreciation expression tool.

                A 2x4 with nails sticking out of it.

            2. magrathea

              Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls .. @Luke

              The comment was made by man and so is likely sexist.

              If the focus of the comment is male then it is male posturing, if it is female, then the comment is demeaning and oppressive. Ideally men should not make any reference to sex, unless it is unambiguously complimentary to a female (after asking permission first in a non-confrontational manner)

              All comments made by women regarding sex are empowering and should not be subject to patriarchal value judgments

              Not being sexist isn't straightforward, but is worth the extra effort

          2. Squander Two
            FAIL

            "Sorry but vibrating dildos and "dongles" are objectifying men"

            The issue isn't dildos. The issue is that, in response to an article about women working in IT that has nothing whatsoever to do with sexual intercourse, you are talking about dildos. Inevitably. Because that is what always happens in IT. Which is the problem.

            1. Wzrd1

              Re: "Sorry but vibrating dildos and "dongles" are objectifying men"

              "Because that is what always happens in IT. Which is the problem."

              Strange, such conversations never were uttered in the various IT shops where I saw quite a few women working in.

              But then, many of those IT shops were US DoD IT shops and most of those women were veterans who were perfectly capable of loosening the teeth of anyone making such speech.

              Never caught wind of such in civilian, non-DoD IT shops either.

              Perhaps this is a UK issue?

              From the land that brought the world civilization and blood pudding... :P

        2. cordwainer 1

          Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

          Nicho's comment didn't refer to a woman's "sexuality." It referred to women as if they were, all in all, nothing more than a few handy orifices into which objects can be inserted.

          "Objectifying" a human being means acting or speaking of them as if they have no brain or mind, no intellect or ability, but are only an object to be used for a physical purpose.

          Whereas sexuality is a combination of the physical, mental and, for many people, the spiritual - sexuality is not a synonym for sexual activity, but a term referring to every aspect of one's intimate physical feelings and relationships - whether or not batteries are included.

          Those who clam Nicho's comment is actually "objectifying" men rather than women are ignoring who is controlling the "getting into" part, and who is being treated as a brainless hole.

    2. Stacy
      FAIL

      Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

      And there is one of the problems of getting women into *any* male orientated branch.

      A question I am constantly asked is "What is is like to be one of the only women in the whole department and to work with men all day."

      For the work, fine - I'm (almost) as geeky as they are. But yes there are the jokes, comments etc etc.

      It doesn't bother me most of the time, but it can get too much...

      1. MrXavia

        @Stacy

        I've worked in IT for about 15 years, so far not one place I've worked has people that makes jokes that should be offensive to women more than men (the odd prat who is JUST offensive, yes), there may not be that many (if any) women working in the IT departments, BUT usually there are tons working in the office as project managers/account managers/arty folks/etc... so there is usually a fair few women working in the office..

        Is this a USA thing? I am in the UK and so far I've not seen any racism or sexism in the workplace....

        My current manager is in the USA and he was shocked that I've never encountered it..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

        If you think guys are sexist or make sexist innuendos, you should try working in a predominately female workplace.

        Worked for a small electronics/engineering company a few years back, the PCB assembly line was staffed by 5 women and one guy. At one point he handed in his resignation because of the near constant stream of sexist comments.

        I didn't have a problem when I needed to work with them as I gave as good as they gave me and we got along fine, but otherwise, they were like a wild cat spotting a weakness - straight in for the kill!! And as for "objectification"? It is definitely *not* a male only thing. And any women who claims otherwise is lying.

        It didn't bother me, but for some it could be too much...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

      @Nicho:

      Wow dude you really attracted the pants too tight brigade with that comment. I do however notice that the wave of disapproval comes from 1 female and 3 males (based on username/comment). My feminist girlfriend recently decided to call me sexist. Yet after 5 minutes I proved that she was some man leering sexist. While it is true that some people are just pigs (both men and women) it is disturbing how the sense of humour is sacrificed to make everyone happy (I urge people to read that oxymoron again!).

      Also why does anyone care if women want to do IT or not? Surely it is their choice and they shouldnt be herded for some quota. Some people can do IT some people cant. At what point does gender come into it? Harping on about it causes divide. The insistence that everyone must do everything regardless of what people want to do and highlighting which race/gender/age group is not doing their bit is not helpful.

      1. Cliff

        Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

        .. that the wave of disapproval comes from 1 female and 3 males (based on username/comment)...

        Be interesting to see how that ratio squares with the registers overall gender split, means nothing at all on its own.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

          @Cliff:

          "Be interesting to see how that ratio squares with the registers overall gender split, means nothing at all on its own."

          The ratio is fairly pointless. We have 1 guy makes an obviously humorous comment. We have 3 guys rush to rescue the damsel in distress. Yet their isnt one. The single female comment in response (coming after a knight steps in) stated first that she is constantly asked how it feels being the only women amongst a load of men and that sometimes their can be a few too many jokes/comments.

          So if people stop pointing out she is the only woman then she enters the normal world where people joke around and have to tell each other to stop if it goes too far (I find that with men and women).

          Womankind dont need protecting as some special needs group. Trust me there is no such protection if your one man working with many women. Accepting humour for humour and not looking to be the victim nor looking to protect a victim means that we can all just get along. This works for all people in general. A sexist comment is only a sexist comment if it is intended to insult. Otherwise its observational humour.

          1. Cliff

            Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

            *Sigh* OK I'll rise to debating with vapour this once for the validity of the wider point. I don't normally bother with anonymous cowards - speak up or don't.

            ,,,'after a knight steps in...' etc. Blah blah. Hardly a white knight rushing to protect any individual, just stating it as I see it - that's me, my own username, not as an AC. By some quirk of temporal linearity, I posted before the person who came after me FFS. So what?

            Either you, or another AC seemed happy enough to flex some numbers based on a sample size of 4, you don't get to have it both ways. Does the 3:1 ratio mean anything at all in comparison with an unknown:1 population? Maybe there are just 3 men reading theregister, and many thousands of women, maybe the other way round. I don't know, I don't care. It doesn't change anything until people start using a population size of 4 to try to prove something.

            Yep, see my first post, I conceded it was clearly meant to be a joke - aiming low and "I can stick things in women" is hardly the cream of 'observational humour'. Doesn't mean it isn't illustrative of a deeper problem. Not sure where this idea that womankind are a special group came from. Switch 'woman' for 'black', 'asian', 'blonde', 'child', whatever and the OP still reads poorly (and still isn't particularly funny, although yes I do see what they tried to do with the switching words around). Looking for victim blah... and your assertion that a comment is only sexist if it is meant to offend are not logically consistent. Do you feel as comfortable telling jokes about 'golliwogs'? Picking on someone for an irrelevant attribute is shitty, no matter whether you realise you're being sexist/racist or not. Tonight's AC is Jim Davidson, fresh from the 1970's.

            Guess what, I agree, if you're a guy being singled out in the workplace for non-work related things I stand up for you too. With my own username for what that's worth. It seems to have affected you deeply.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

              @Cliff:

              "OK I'll rise to debating with vapour"

              Better to rise than fall. And on your step up you might be called cliff, you might be called mickey mouse for all I know or care. In short you will rise to debate with another user name on this wide place called the internet.

              "Hardly a white knight rushing to protect any individual"

              You did comment first? To claim this somehow objectified women (he did mention an object). Or is the word play of getting tech into girls not obvious (what tech can you think of that girls insert?). How many floppy/hard drive/socket/dongle jokes have you heard? I mean without the intention of insulting anyone and yet maybe referring to either gender? As far as I am aware there are many male IT jokes. A sense of humour in general is what attracted me to IT in the first place.

              "Either you, or another AC seemed happy enough to flex some numbers based on a sample size of 4, you don't get to have it both ways."

              Both ways? That sounds like a dirty word! Queue Hugh Laurie from blackadder. Or dont you consider blackadders funny? Its fine if you dont but it was popular. Back to the point, yes I can. I did mention the number of guys who opposed the comment while pointing out the singular female response didnt seem to actually oppose the comment but it did raise another interesting point (I have mentioned). What it proved is that men are willing to interpret obvious humour (you said it yourself) and then use it as reason to step in for the defence of women. A defence not one woman seemed to ask for.

              "aiming low and "I can stick things in women" is hardly the cream of 'observational humour'. Doesn't mean it isn't illustrative of a deeper problem"

              Never said it was the best humour. I too agree there is a deeper problem but it seems more to do with the balance of humour/reality concept. How far removed is this guy telling a joke and the benign comments at the XBone presentation? Where do we draw the fuzzy line that one sense of humour is right and one is wrong (look back to the blackadder bit above). Or do we need to accept that people like to be happy and joke while opposing actual problems of discrimination?

              "Do you feel as comfortable telling jokes about 'golliwogs'?"

              Do you feel comfortable blacklisting words? Oh the outrage that a blackboard is now a chalkboard and you cant call it the other. Why? Because colour is offensive in its proper context? In charge the PC brigade because context seems to mean nothing any more. At what point did people stop thinking?

              "Picking on someone for an irrelevant attribute is shitty, no matter whether you realise you're being sexist/racist or not."

              I guess your not watching the apprentice then? The interesting point being that your statement is in direct conflict with career comedians who have a huge following. Dara being the consistent one. Where do we draw the line that language is wrong or that people need to learn context?

              "Guess what, I agree, if you're a guy being singled out in the workplace for non-work related things I stand up for you too. With my own username for what that's worth. It seems to have affected you deeply."

              Thanks but you would probably find I give as good as I get and enjoy some workplace banter. It helps pass the day. If someone was being plain offensive then I would take issue but when simple thought becomes too complicated I too will stick up for the guy who ment no offence, especially from a group not involved in the humour and just looking to make a victim. Sorry dude but I am standing up to you for Nicho. Not that he asked for my help but he seems to be taking unwarranted flack.

              1. Squander Two

                "career comedians who have a huge following"

                Interesting you should bring that up. If asked why they think it's OK to be offensive but they still object to Bernard Manning, most British and Irish comedians reply that there is a difference between being offensive to everyone and singling out certain groups, and that they think Manning's offensiveness all went one way.

                And here we have an article about women in IT which has been immediately met, as all such articles always are, with a comment about doing something sexual to those women and a load of other comments saying how anyone who objects to the first comment has no sense of humour.

                I happen to think that Bernard Manning had some great material -- some of his jokes were just first-class -- but taken as a whole, his act clearly did pick on particular groups, to their detriment. And, oddly enough, members of those groups tended to be a bit scarce in his audience. Women go to Jimmy Carr gigs and don't mind the sexist jokes because there are jokes about men and everyone else too. Not many black people went to Bernard Manning gigs, because they clearly weren't welcome there.

                The vibrator joke in question was just meh. But the context is IT. If you want to recruit comedians to your defence here, you need to point out all the offensive sex jokes about men and black people and homosexuals that get made in IT. But you can't, because it happens an order of magnitude less than the sexual objectification of women.

                So, thanks for providing such a perfect example of how wrong you are.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

            "We have 3 guys rush to rescue the damsel in distress. Yet their isnt one"

            Erm, it is actually possible to be offended by a sexist comment without actually having a pair of breasts yourself you know.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

              @ac

              "Erm, it is actually possible to be offended by a sexist comment without actually having a pair of breasts yourself you know."

              Yes. When you are on the receiving end or are part of/closely connected to the recipient group of the comment. Which is why I am amused that while no woman has opposed this comment, which they legitimately could do, its only guys. What now interests me is why they feel this compulsion to take offence on behalf of others. What psychological issue/reasoning pushes them to take offence for others, especially when the target group has yet to show offence?

              Are you telling me you dont want to know why the wrong group took offence?

              1. Squander Two
                WTF?

                "the wrong group took offence"

                I'm white. Am I allowed to take offense if someone makes a comment about stupid niggers? Or would I be in the wrong group?

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            > A sexist comment is only a sexist comment if it is intended to insult

            This is wrong. A thoughtless comment is thoughtless full stop --> . A sexist comment is sexist when it insults.

            When someone calls my daughter who has down's syndrome a mong and she cries I don't really care whether they meant it jovially or not, it was insulting, offensive, degrading, thoughtless whether they meant it to be or not

      2. Squander Two
        WTF?

        "Harping on about it causes divide."

        Sorry, which is it? That even mentioning that women are underrepresented in IT is divisive? Or that the inevitable first response to an article about women in IT being "Ha, ha, ha, I could stick objects into their vaginas" isn't divisive?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Harping on about it causes divide."

          @Squander Two:

          "Sorry, which is it? That even mentioning that women are underrepresented in IT is divisive? Or that the inevitable first response to an article about women in IT being "Ha, ha, ha, I could stick objects into their vaginas" isn't divisive?"

          I see you are looking to take offence (remembering you are a man) at a comment intended as humour. The division I mentioned was how women (identify the group) is under-represented in IT (all look now).

          At what point is that good to say? Does it help them to point them out for scrutiny? Does that mean women should get the job regardless of qualifications? Does that mean that all men in that industry are pigs? Or that the men block the women? Or that the men are smarter than the women? Are the women not treated fairly or are they too stupid?

          I now urge you swap the gender over or change it for any other label you want. Apply it to men in women exclusive industries. Or use race or religion, anything. I used to be a dance teacher, I would be highly offended if my reason for being there was put into question because apparently the group I am labelled as is 'under-represented'. If a woman wants to do IT just leave her to it, they are free to choose as any person is.

          The freedom of choice does not come with a quota. If people choose to do what they want then they are free. If *insert label* are under-represented and we need to get more of them into *insert role* how is that free? Shouting out loud how we need to make more effort to promote *role* to *label* only puts eyes onto *label* and questions how they got into the *role*.

          1. Squander Two

            Re: "Harping on about it causes divide."

            > At what point is that good to say? Does it help them to point them out for scrutiny?

            Just to be clear, you're saying that inevitable jokes about putting things into their vaginas are good to say and don't single them out for scrutiny?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Harping on about it causes divide."

              @Squander Two

              "Just to be clear, you're saying that inevitable jokes about putting things into their vaginas are good to say and don't single them out for scrutiny?"

              If he was intentionally being offensive I would have opposed it. If a woman had been offended then I am sure this discussion would have progressed into an enlightening progression of what some women are willing to deal with. In fact a worth while discussion could have been had as Stacy had something to say about the subject. But instead you wanted to rant about how bad guys are (ignoring that this can also be true for a man in a predominantly female role) and continue your defence of women (who have yet to ask you for it).

              So instead I am actually standing up for equal opportunity humour. The one that entertained millions for many years before PC censorship banned people from speaking.

              1. Squander Two

                "I am actually standing up for equal opportunity humour."

                Are you really? All equal-opportunity humour?

                A chink, a kike, and a wop walk into a bar....

                1. This post has been deleted by its author

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "I am actually standing up for equal opportunity humour."

                  @Squander Two

                  "Are you really? All equal-opportunity humour?

                  A chink, a kike, and a wop walk into a bar...."

                  Interesting you try to prove your point with a simple joke format designed around racial stereotypes. Am I supposed to get offended as you did? Am I supposed to be all wound up and rant? I am more curious to which punchline you would go with.

                  You could swap the target of the humour to english. You could target men with it. Or an english IT man! I still wont be nor pretend to be offended just because you make a joke.

                  1. Squander Two

                    "Am I supposed to get offended as you did?"

                    There's no "supposed" about it. Just interesting to note that, if someone on here started making racist jokes designed to demean their targets, you say you wouldn't mind. That sort of thing is used to enforce a hostile culture to keep people out -- hey, black people are perfectly welcome to work here, as long as they "have a sense of humour", i.e. join in the laughter while we spend all day insulting them and talking about what a stupid inferior race they come from. It happens less than it used to towards black people in this country; it still happens, though, and is still used plenty against certain other groups.

                    I actually like offensive jokes. As mentioned earlier, the problem in IT is that one particular kind of offense is constant, pervasive, and one-way, and that people like you will dig in their heels and fight tooth and nail against the mere suggestion that there might be something a bit wrong with that.

                    > You could swap the target of the humour to english. You could target men with it. Or an english IT man!

                    Yes, and yet, if an article is published about men working in IT, an insult aimed at men might turn up and might not; if an article is published about English people working in IT, an insult aimed at the English might turn up and might not; and if an article is published about women working in IT, one of the first comments, every single time, will be about fucking them.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: "Am I supposed to get offended as you did?"

                      @Squander Two

                      "There's no "supposed" about it. Just interesting to note that, if someone on here started making racist jokes designed to demean their targets, you say you wouldn't mind"

                      You seem to be moving goal posts here so maybe you dont understand. You say I wouldnt mind, I actually wouldnt care one way or the other unless it was intended to make offence. I could completely understand a target of that joke to be offended and say something. And they would be in the right to say its too far. However as I said I wont be offended, I cant be it has nothing to do with me. What is the point of me feigning offence at something which has nothing to do with me? Hence why I stated very clear that the guys are scrambling to be offended but the ones who could legitimately be offended dont seem to be. I wonder if you look to be the victim for any comment. I have dealt with manipulators who try to make a situation where none exist. They are also very prevalent in schools too (concerning your other comment "boorish tedious arseholes we knew when we were fourteen and who we thought might have grown out of it by now").

                      "I actually like offensive jokes."

                      You also hate PC and are very much on my side, except...... sod off. Seriously dude no. I have identified your manipulation already, repetition is not the key. The argument "I like this too but I dont like this" is too obvious and I will not entertain it. I know your looking to be offended and that is why you have continued to push offence instead of actually discussing or extending comments from stacy (the only female I have identified responding to the original comment). Instead you have drawn out generalisations, emotional blackmail and language manipulation to be the offended one. Yet you still havnt answered why you yourself are offended. As the comment has nothing to do with you nor any association to you (you said your a man).

                      "As mentioned earlier, the problem in IT is that one particular kind of offense is constant, pervasive, and one-way, and that people like you will dig in their heels and fight tooth and nail against the mere suggestion that there might be something a bit wrong with that."

                      Then look to yourself. You are as bad if not worse. I feel justified saying this due to your comment-

                      "I still get pissed off that the first response of most Net geeks to even the mention of women is "Hurr, hurr, hurr, sex, hurr, hurr, hurr." To the fuckwits who don't get why this is a problem, would you get a job somewhere where all your colleagues laughed uproariously at graphic descriptions of anally raping you every single day? And then picked on you even more if you failed to pretend convincingly enough that you found it hilarious too? Or would you prefer to work with civilised people?"

                      You feel it is wrong for the first commenter to play on the words of the article but you think you are right to brand 'net geeks' and brand us IT people with your offensive comment? So what do you say to all the 'net geeks' you have offended? Did you intend to offend the group you label? You obviously wernt doing any word play and made your feelings very strongly worded on this forum. You dont seem to have been making any attempt at humour. Net geeks btw are male and female. You use offensive language often enough in your posts when referring to us 'fuckwits'.

                      Do you think you are any better than the first commenter? I am sure you will justify yourself as better somehow and continue as before. But I responded in case the glimmer of hope brought you to realise that he intended humour while you intended to insult. And that is a huge difference.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Harping on about it causes divide."

          Sq2 - look again. It's not an inevitable sexist first comment, it's a word play on the article title. You may care to observe the same level of groan-worthy humor in the title of a large number of el reg articles. The subject of women in IT has come up before however this is the first time the title wording has provided such a lay down misere.

          1. Stacy
            Meh

            Re: "Harping on about it causes divide."

            However the joke was meant the point that many people have made stands out. An article about women in IT and the first comment was about sex. That is how it is viewed (kind of like playing on-line on the Xbox - that's a barrel of laughs for a woman...) and even if someone wanted to do something in IT they can be put off.

            And yes, I do know that a group of women working with one man can also make their life just as interesting, and that is just as bad.

            As to me needing a knight in shining armour before I commented. Hello? Have you seen the time of the comment? I'm in continental Europe so it was an hour later than that - but I had got into the office, got a coffee and had a quick read of El Reg.

            I was not staring at the screen waiting for some guy to come to my defence before commenting. That insinuation is more insulting than the joke!

            As for the commenter never having had issues with it - well done. Though I wonder at your username to be able to make that comment effectively. There are enough people who make the belittling comments without even realising it. When it's bad it's infuriating. I have been asked by a sales guy just how technical I was when he realised that I was there as administrator of a server we were upgrading. Not one of the others in the room was asked that question. His company did not get the job to help us, needless to say.

            But no, it is not that I have a bad workplace here where I am under a constant barrage of attacks, actually it's a lot of fun and you do have to give as good as you get - just as the guys do to each other. But, yes, sometimes it goes to far and gets too much.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Harping on about it causes divide."

              @Stacy

              "As to me needing a knight in shining armour before I commented"

              "I was not staring at the screen waiting for some guy to come to my defence before commenting. That insinuation is more insulting than the joke!"

              Your telling the wrong person, I actually said women didnt need nor had they asked. If you got offended by the joke then you have every right to. You can even comment on this board (as you have). You could even justify the kind of rants from Squander Two. You are actually the one in the position to be offended. And yet your replies about it have been reasoned and constructive. That is 100% my point that these guys are trying to make an issue for women. How can people work together when the majority group try to create offence for the minority? You are obviously capable for speaking for yourself and in a very reasoned manor so why do these guys choose to blow something up into an offence and then take offence at it (For you)?

              "And yes, I do know that a group of women working with one man can also make their life just as interesting, and that is just as bad."

              We are all people. We all like a laugh and it is things out of the ordinary which make up humour. If the humour goes too far it is for the offend-able party to say so and collective responsibility to stop it there. This is the lack of thought I commented against. These people were attacking someone over a comment in jest yet none of those complaining had any reason to. As I said you could be offended by it. Yet none of these guys justified how they could be offended by it.

              "But no, it is not that I have a bad workplace here where I am under a constant barrage of attacks, actually it's a lot of fun and you do have to give as good as you get - just as the guys do to each other. But, yes, sometimes it goes to far and gets too much."

              And so you are in the workplace. I am sure you say when enough is enough? If they are causing actual problems I assume you speak to the person and if they persist their manager? Like everyone else has to. There are genuine issues in this world (the sales guy you mention being one of them) and I will step aside if you wish to have a go at the original commenter. However the jumping up and down brigade needed to be grounded for a few.

          2. Squander Two

            "It's not an inevitable sexist first comment"

            OK, so go and spend a few minutes with Google and post the links here to an article on the Web about women in IT that is not followed by any belittling smutty comments about sex. If you can find a few, then you get to claim that it wasn't inevitable.

      3. Anonymous Blowhard
        WTF?

        Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

        "Some people can do IT some people cant"

        Maybe, but this isn't the problem; the problem is that around 50% of the people who *COULD* "do IT" don't want to because it doesn't appeal to them based on what they perceive in the media.

        "highlighting which race/gender/age group is not doing their bit is not helpful"

        WTF? What do you mean "not doing their bit"? The problem isn't that some genders or racial groups are "not doing their bit " but that some genders or racial groups don't want to others in their club; perhaps they think that these genders or racial groups aren't capable of "doing their bit"? maybe they think that the other genders or racial groups are inferior?

        Highlighting where there are significant differences in gender or racial diversity is a pointer to where prejudice and barriers may exist; or are you saying that we should preserve the status quo? Women have been an underclass since Eve was blamed for us being kicked out of Eden, non-whites have been exploited and even traded like cattle because white men had the edge over them in technology; pretending we're all treated equally now and don't need to tackle prejudice is a massive fallacy.

        </RANT>

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

          @Anonymous Blowhard

          "the problem is that around 50% of the people who *COULD* "do IT" don't want to"

          I would stop that statement about there. I could be a nurse or a child carer, I really dont find those jobs appealing but good on any person who does. The trick there being person. As long as they are able to do it why stop them? If they dont want to do it maybe it doesnt appeal to them. Why the great push to put women in IT? To fill a quota? Why not offer the same information to all the people and take on the ones who are interested? How is it representative that the uni took pictures of just the (few) females of the classes to put on promotional posters? Where was the rest of the class? Or even try to even out the posters? Nope we want women because their must be something wrong if they dont want to do everything! Why is it wrong for them to choose?

          "perhaps they think that these genders or racial groups aren't capable of "doing their bit"? maybe they think that the other genders or racial groups are inferior?"

          I tell you now you put the hammer to the nail spot on. And your points about women being the underclass through history I agree. So instead of pointing at them and saying something must be wrong because they dont want to do the job we should probably look at freedom instead. Instead of saying we must fill some quota in the name of fairness and herding women like cattle or patronising them my giving them special help we could look to giving them the same information as blokes. And if they choose to do a subject good for them and if they decide not to do a subject good for them. Instead of shifting them around like property and referring to them (the group) we could grow up and just let them do what they want as we expect to do. It applies for every person.

          1. Anonymous Blowhard

            Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

            "Why is it wrong for them to choose?"

            There's nothing wrong with choice, in fact it's a good thing, as long as the choice is made for positive reasons (I'd like to be a [career A], because that looks like a fun and fulfilling career) rather than negative ones (I don't want to be a [career B] because I've heard that it's no fun, and the rest of my gender thinks so too).

            "If they dont want to do it maybe it doesnt appeal to them"

            The point of the article was not the fact that "it doesn't appeal to them", but why "it doesn't appeal to them"; if we don't examine the "why" then we won't understand whether the gender differences are natural (like childbirth and pissing whilst standing) or "man-made" (like female clergy in the Catholic church).

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big deal, I can get tech into girls ..

        > Some people can do IT some people can't

        Our software engineering workplace is trying to even things out by employing a lot of the latter

  2. Cliff

    Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

    The nerdy archetype is only the extreme case of the 'male brain'. It is that same group of attributes that correlate well with being able to mentally model the world analytically rather than emotionally, which is why they can translate one world to the other. It may be causal or correlation, but I can't see that everyone pretending it isn't true is going to help get the best people into the deeply techie stuff.

    Apologies for broad brush strokes here, there are women with very male brains and men with very female ones of course it's a continuum, but generally there are stronger groupings at either end.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

      You can't model the world "emotionally".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

        Rather than model the world, perhaps the term percieve? As a classic example taken from coupling.

        The female mind sees scatter cushions and thinks "they look nice, they're pretty, but do they go with teh sofa material" emotional and style oriented. The male mind goes "What's the point in having them, I'm just going to have to move them when I sit down" logic oriented.

        It's also the reason men tend to be terrible at giving their opinions on things. When you ask us what we think about something our first thought isn't the same as your girlfriends of "It brings out your eyes / matches that nice pair of pumps you have" it's "it's a top, it fits, is it comfortable? If so buy it and lets get out of here"

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: You can't model the world "emotionally".

        I'm guessing you're not married...

      3. NewAccount
        Facepalm

        Re: Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

        Actually, the only thing you can do with the world is model it, since the only interaction you have with it, with everything, is through your mind.

        As Bertrand Russell replied to a dentist who asked him where it hurt:

        In my mind, of course!

    2. richard?

      Re: Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

      But the point is also that a team of end-spectrum nerds is frequently not the most productive. Deep technical skills good, ability to apply to real world problems or timelines not so much.

      Unless you're a pure technology company, having an IT person who can work with reality is pretty important, and the gender balance in many non-IT functions is equal or at least not so imbalanced.

      1. Cliff

        Re: Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

        @Richard?, I do very much agree, and I've been lucky enough to work in IT groups mixed about 50/50. The women in the group *tended* to gravitate towards support/empathy and the business side of things, the guys *tended* towards the development, theoretical end. Of course, both sides need each other, cannot operate in a vacuum etc.

        @above poster "you cannot model the world emotionally" - I suggest you spend a day with my beloved, rooms "feel" right or wrong, colours of cushions matter in a way I will never understand, leaving things in their most convenient place plays second fiddle to where they feel right (even if it involves opening cupboards to take something or and return it several times a day). Her world is entirely modelled emotionally, it's good, it creates balance etc. Does my nut in sometimes, but no more than my rational reductionism and wanting to solve (not listen to) problems does hers in.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

          If your wife truly lives her life "emotionally", I suggest you both stock up on tissues, but for different reasons,

    3. DZ-Jay

      Re: Doesn't it miss the point somewhat?

      That is a fallacy. It is equally dumb as suggesting that all male priests are child-molesting sociopaths because the vocation requirements attracts that sort of sensibility (or lack thereof).

      I assert that sociopathic, non-empathetic nerds, unskilled in inter-personal relationships are NOT the most productive nor the best qualified for IT positions, including computer programming. For the same reasons that every other vocation or industry of substance in modern civilization tries to immersed its apprentices in the humanities, IT personnel would do well and best to enrich their experiences with art, history, social sciences, and all other human endeavors.

      Problem solving, logic, and thought are enriched and hightened by human experiences, and are not the exclusive domain of robots. In fact, they most categorically exclude robots.

      dZ.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Dumb

    If I'd really believed the nerdy archetype, then I might have thought twice about entering the field. But I didn't, because I have a brain - and funnily enough, so do women.

    This is just patronising and very insulting.

    1/10 - must try harder.

  4. Buzzword

    What happens when lies meet real world?

    When our lovely ladies enter the world of IT work, they'll be mightily disappointed to discover that the media lied to them. Still, it makes a nice change from the medias usual lies about photoshopped models.

    1. Pete 2 Silver badge

      Re: What happens when lies meet real world?

      You call it "marketing" ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What happens when lies meet real world?

      I'm confused, what part are you talking about when you say the media lied? Maybe the issue is the media portraying IT people as nerds, think NCIS, IT Crowd, etc. Imagine if the bill when it was on, just showed the Police as sexist, racist thugs, or the Army as a bunch of beer drinking louts out for a punch up on a Friday night. Each of these jobs have these people within their ranks, but there would be an outcry if the media consistantly portrayed them as this.

      In our department (sys-admins), I don't think I'd class any, including the few women we have, as anything like nerds. Most of us are married, yes hard to belive I know, have kids, have hobbies completly unrelated to IT and tend not to touch pc's and servers once we leave work.

      Yes we have tech speak, but no different to any other profession using their jargon.

      I say hats of to the real ones changing this, my young daughter love Nina and the neurons / Nina goes engineering and thinks the Think Tank in Brimingham is one of the amazing places out there. THIS is the real way of getting girls into science and Tech, not making it "sexy" or "non-nerdy", but making it seem normal.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I say hats of to the real ones changing this, ...

        Nina & X, and the Think Tank in Brimingham, and all other kinds of science popularization might well be excellent at getting girls into science. I'm strongly supportive of it, although I'd prefer to replace "girls" with "people". But if you think that all that stuff actually bears much resemblance to what being a scientist actually involves, you'd be wrong.

      2. fandom Silver badge

        Re: What happens when lies meet real world?

        "think NCIS"

        Hey! Are you daring to suggest there is something wrong with Abby?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What happens when lies meet real world?

        True, most IT geeks I know are not Nerds in the traditional sense, but beer drinking party animals..... there is rarely a week I work in a london IT company where there is not a night out... and often a weekly beer supply to the office, or a meal on the company....

      4. Daniel B.
        Alert

        Re: What happens when lies meet real world?

        Maybe the issue is the media portraying IT people as nerds, think NCIS, IT Crowd, etc.

        Oh so very agreed. (Though NCIS's Abby is someone I'd like to see in IT!) In fact, programs like IT Crowd usually get the laughs at the expense of IT stereotypes. No, IT people aren't 30-somethings that still live with mommy. No, IT people aren't nerds or social outcasts. IT people are pretty aware of pop culture, and aren't unaware of Twilight even if we wish that tripe didn't exist (I'm referencing a specific Criminal Minds episode there).

        And no, we don't build a VB GUI to trace an IP.

        It seems the media is still taking their stereotypes out of Revenge of the Nerds and forgot that a lot of people are now tech-savvy, that videogames are now played by people in their early 40s, and that IT people aren't separated from the rest of the social world anymore.

  5. Craig 28

    I'm betting the survey was conducted on aforementioned sorority girls, the kind who put boozy parties above actual rational thought. It's always important to remember that samples can be seriously skewed by who is being surveyed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Sorry, but this is just a little sexist. I've worked with plenty of IT professionals who occasionally like to put boozy parties above rational thought - I'm one of them. Hell, one of the icons on this forum is a pint of beer. It doesn't in any way impact on our capacity for IT (it might improve it). But if a woman likes the boozy parties - she's automatically assigned to the 'bimbo' camp and has no place in IT?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        AC I think you're missing the point here. The guy wasn't talking about the folks who like the odd booze up. They're talking about the bimbos wh ogo to college / uni for nothing more than socialising and getting drunk. There are plenty of guys who also do this.

        It isn't aimed at women as a whole, just a subset which also exists among men.

        The fact that you automatically assumed they were referencing all college girls says far more about your sexis tnature than theirs.

        1. ccmb

          The fact you repeated the word "bimbos" with no disclaimer says a lot about your nature too.

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The bigger picture

    Why is it not possible to just accept that some jobs (I'd hardly call IT a profession, any more) are more attractive to men and others are more attractive to women? We don't hear much talk about getting more women working on building sites, plumbing or lorry driving (though obviously there are some who do these jobs) and we hear even less about getting more men into nursing and teaching. Maybe there's a gender-bias in all these gender-bias studies?

    The best that the world can do is make sure there is no gender-based discrimination (explicit or subtle) that bars entry into any of these careers and then let people make up their own minds. If they prefer to get their rewards by caring for others - or by producing some bug-ridden code, 3 months late - then so be it. So long as the choice is there and available to everyone who has the qualifications, there's little more to do.

    When was the last time you heard anyone say there was a "problem" because not enough men got secretarial jobs?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The bigger picture

      >We don't hear much talk about getting more women working on building sites, plumbing or lorry driving (though obviously there are some who do these jobs) and we hear even less about getting more men into nursing and teaching.

      There has long been a campaign in the UK to get more men working as primary school teachers, so as to give young children (not all of whom have a father living at home) a more balanced view of adults.

      Birmingham council has decided that it is unfair that dinner ladies are not paid as much road sweepers, because each role is heavily staffed by women and men respectively.

      1. WatAWorld

        Re: The bigger picture

        Ballet schools also favour men. There are particular reasons elementary schools and ballet try to encourage men, having zero percent is embarrassing and there are some things a woman can't do.

        Here in Canada we have vast banks and enormous government ministries that are 80 to 90% populated by women.

        The only affirmative action programs to even out gender staffing levels are for IT which are 60 to 70% men.

    2. ccmb

      Re: The bigger picture

      Because secretarial jobs pay toss all and developer jobs pay significantly more?

      Last I heard, women were equally capable and intelligent and should have equal opportunities.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: The bigger picture

        > women were equally capable and intelligent and should have equal opportunities

        Very true. But that sentence is incomplete. people should have equal opportunities to do the things they want to.

        The point that seems to be continuously overlooked is that pay is not the only reason a given person takes a given job. Sure, it's one of the few quantifiable reasons - and is therefore amenable to analysis by individuals for whom analytical processes are important. And it seems to me too much emphasis is placed on pay, simply because so few other factors can be measured (a case of valuing what you can measure, rather than measuring what you value). However there are a lot of reasons to take a job that are not quantifiable. Some examples would be:

        - because you enjoy the work

        - because it's close to where you live

        - because it provides thrills and adventure

        - because it reinforces your self-image

        - because your friends work there

        - because the hours suit your lifestyle

        - because you don't get wet when it rains

        - because it does (or doesn't) require you to extend your abilities

        Each individual will take some, all or none of these other attributes into account. None of them can have a financial value attached (although being close to where you live could equate to travel costs) so it's not realistic to simply look at pay as being the only measure of a job's worth. It also means that roles within a company cannot be equally staffed by individuals who attach different priorities to all these different attributes, as they simply wouldn't be attracted to those jobs, if the jobs didn't match their wants or needs.

        So long as people have the opportunity to qualify for and enter the sort of work that they feel best suited for, that;s the best you can hope for. It's not necessary to go round counting heads and ticking boxes for each particular job title, just because that provides numerical answers for the analytical types to report on - and imbalances aren't important provided they are there due to choice, not barriers

        1. mark 63 Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: The bigger picture

          - because you enjoy the work

          - because it's close to where you live

          - because it provides thrills and adventure

          - because it reinforces your self-image

          - because your friends work there

          - because the hours suit your lifestyle

          - because you don't get wet when it rains

          - because it does (or doesn't) require you to extend your abilities

          Damn 2 out of 8! the worst two - near home and dont get wet.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: provided they are there due to choice

          I'd really like to work in software development, but I'm socially uncomfortable with the sort of people it seems to attract, and their attitude to my gender is oppressive, so I'm studying accountancy instead.

      2. AVee
        Holmes

        Re: The bigger picture

        Equal opportunities, fine. Moving heaven and earth to get more women into IT whether they want it or not is a totally different thing. I've seen quite a few women in IT I'd happily work with (there is one I'm still trying to hire), and quite a few who should be doing something else. But the same is true for men in IT. The only opinion I'll have on women in IT will be based on the quality of there work. And frankly, anything else (even if you wrap it in big words like 'gender equality') is sexism. Isn't getting hired 'because you're a woman' the biggest possible insult for any woman looking for a job in IT?

        It's time we get over this and stop bickering about this men-women thing. When that happens it stops being about us and them (which ironically might actually do more than anything else when it comes to women in IT).

      3. WatAWorld

        Re: The bigger picture

        They should have equal opportunities.

        But it is shameless to advocate lying to them to get them to take jobs they don't want.

    3. WatAWorld
      Unhappy

      Re: The bigger picture

      If you'd ever worked in management you'd know the reason executives want to get women into IT.

      Women will work for less money per day.

      They are less demanding and will hopefully drag wages down. That's what we're told.

      That's why executives want gender equality in technology jobs, so we can pay people less.

      I was surprised and saddened when I found out. I still think it is pretty sad.

      But if I'd noticed then they spend money on this gender equality stuff, studying and promoting it, I might have figured it out on my own -- they don't spend money except to make or save money.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    More positive female role models?

    I've know assorted women devs (and sysadmins).

    Perhaps its different in large company end user sites but most were not that nerdy, with looks ranging from good up to tall statuesque blonde (who was a contractor). Outside of work they would constitute a fairly attractive group of young women who happened to work in IT.

    Media images around this subject are pretty pervasive so if you want a better eye candy gender balanced workplace you need to work for it.

    It seems a long time ago since the founding of "F International."

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. jake Silver badge

    Whatever.

    Boy-nerds are pretty much gamers, and useless in the corporate world.

    Girl-nerds are pretty much into technology, and quite handy to have about.

    I personally hire females over males, if both appear to be equally qualified.

    We're not playing ... we have work to do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whatever.

      And here we have the creep end of the spectrum

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Whatever.

        Actually doing work is creepy?

        The mind boggles ...

        1. WatAWorld

          Re: Whatever.

          Using a work computer and company time to openly mention that you and your company actively practice sex discrimination because you really and truly are sexist is what is creepy.

          1. Hungry Sean
            Unhappy

            Re: Whatever.

            And yet, the sentiment Jake expresses is basically the same thing as the people saying that computing requires "male brain" just with gender roles flipped. Somehow his backward ideas are drawing only opprobrium while the opposite sentiment seems to get 50/50 support.

            Personally, I think all of this is utter crap-- years ago it was common knowledge that being a doctor required the "male brain" or being a scientist or a mathematician. Last I recall, the majority of doctors in the US are now women, and some fields of scientific study as well. There's no physiological reason women can't be great computer engineers and scientists, but the boys' club is alive and well.

            From my time in grad school I clearly remember the comments when a woman walked around the electrical engineering labs ("Hah, she must be lost."). Some idiots may think that the rhyme about "sticks and stones" holds up, but I can attest that this sort of crap on a constant basis made a hard situation of being one of the few women in the program even more uncomfortable and isolating for several of my friends.

            Or, the recent college recruitment effort I attended where one of the women in the audience asked an all-male panel if they worked with women in their teams and what our gender split was like. One of the engineers responded along the lines of "well, we're worse than your school because we don't have an arts department."

            Words have power and there is all-too often little consideration given to what comes out the mouth and how it might make other people feel.

            1. jake Silver badge

              @Hungry Sean (was: Re: Whatever.)

              "And yet, the sentiment Jake expresses is basically the same thing as the people saying that computing requires "male brain" just with gender roles flipped."

              No. It's not. Boys play games, girls get work done.

              Spend a couple dozen years watching the workforce, and you'll grok where I'm coming from.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @Hungry Sean (was: Whatever.)

                So Jake, are you female or a walking proof that you're wrong?

                1. jake Silver badge

                  @AC 09:11 (was: Re: @Hungry Sean (was: Whatever.))

                  I'm male. Just telling it as I see it.

                  Don't like my reportage? Why? Am I goring your sacred cows? Get over it.

          2. jake Silver badge

            @WatAWorld (was: Re: Whatever.)

            "Using a work computer and company time to openly mention that you and your company actively practice sex discrimination because you really and truly are sexist is what is creepy."

            Actually, I'm a self employed conslutant. I hire & fire for Fortune 250s.

            They pay me $BIGBUCKS because I know how to fit the right human into the given slot ... and I have a reputation for only having to make that human move once.

            I'm not sexist. I'm pragmatic.

            1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
              Happy

              Re: @WatAWorld (was: Whatever.)

              "Actually, I'm a self employed conslutant. I hire & fire for Fortune 250s."

              A conslutant you say? How can I enter such a role?

              Seriously I know who you are.

              You are Dominic O'Connor's long lost brother and I claim my £5 and a free bottle of Guinness!

              1. jake Silver badge

                @John Smith 19 (was: Re: @WatAWorld (was: Whatever.))

                "A conslutant you say? How can I enter such a role?"

                Simple. Sell your services. It's a money maker, and I rarely get bruises.

                Guinness doesn't come in bottles, it comes in kegs. And it's rarely potable outside of Ireland.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Whatever.

      What you are describing is batantly sexist stereotyping and sexual discrimination both illegal and generally frowned upon.

      You said that some technically focussed men have poorly developed social skills and are not conscientous and that these flaws were less common in women and that you sort to identify these potential problems in the interview process.

      It amazes me that outrageous sexim is commonplace and accepted in main stream discourse as long as it is against men but even a borderline comment against women is met with a storm of disapproval. General anti-women (and other group) rants are common on the wilder shores of the internet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Whatever.

        Given the distribution of down votes I would say that 100% of people disagreed with him

        1. jake Silver badge

          @AC14:08 (was: Re: Whatever.)

          "Given the distribution of down votes I would say that 100% of people disagreed with him"

          And in this forum, that means what, exactly?

      2. jake Silver badge

        @AC:13:48 (was: Re: Whatever.)

        "What you are describing is batantly sexist stereotyping and sexual discrimination both illegal and generally frowned upon."

        No, it's not. It's field observation over about a third of a century.

        "You said that some technically focussed men have poorly developed social skills and are not conscientous and that these flaws were less common in women and that you sort to identify these potential problems in the interview process."

        No, I did not. I said I hire females over males in certain roles, given similar CVs.

        "It amazes me that outrageous sexim is commonplace and accepted in main stream discourse as long as it is against men but even a borderline comment against women is met with a storm of disapproval. General anti-women (and other group) rants are common on the wilder shores of the internet."

        Then why are you ranting in my direction? I'm pro-human ... None of us are identical, and we all have roles to play in civilization ...

    3. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Whatever.

      "I personally hire females over males, if both appear to be equally qualified."

      So no need to actually set up practical tests (those could be role plays to check social interaction) then?

  10. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
    Coat

    ....Massive campaign of media lies ought to do it, says prof...

    Um...politics as usual for the beginning of the 21st century, then?

    Downing Street has amongst its teams a 'Behaviour Modification Unit', who are tasked with thinking up novel ways to get us proles behaving the way politicians decide that we ought to behave.

    And no one seems to be complaining about that as a fundamental idea at all. I despair of humanity, I really do...

    Coat, then I'm leaving this planet...

    1. Mr Spock

      @Dodgy Geezer

      They never thought of Facebook, though, did they!

    2. NewAccount
      Facepalm

      "Downing Street has amongst its teams a 'Behaviour Modification Unit', who are tasked with thinking up novel ways to get us proles behaving the way politicians decide that we ought to behave."

      I recall a newspaper editorial mentioning how Tony Blair used to ask people to do things but, since returning from a US visit, now 'tasked' them to do things.

      Politicians, as a breed, never have been the brightest cookies in the the ongoing beer-glass dregs scenario.

    3. mark 63 Silver badge
      Big Brother

      'Behaviour Modification Unit'

      'Behaviour Modification Unit'

      seriously?

      Never mind all these civil liberties and surveillance controversies, that right there is the sign 1984 is arriving!

  11. Yag
    Trollface

    There is a simple answer.

    Women are too smart to get into such an unrewarding kind of job.

    1. Hungry Sean

      Re: There is a simple answer.

      And yet the tech industry has one of the lowest disparities in wages based on gender. Care to try again?

  12. Anonymaus Cowark

    Clearly a case for the ministry of truth!

    Girls had always been highly interested in computer science.

    Think about it

    Who invented FLOW-MATIC (the mother of the COBOL language)?

    Who had been first computer programmer (on Babbage's Analytical Engine)?

    Accept the truth.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Clearly a case for the ministry of truth!

      I am old enough to suspect a re-writing of history.

      Grace Hooper worked for the US Navy.

      At the beginning of every COBOL manual there was a preface crediting the Remington Rand Company for inventing COBOL.

      I've read the Ada Lovelace story is enhanced too, but I'm not old enough to know from personal experience.

  13. Mtech25

    Personally

    I am offended at being called a nerd... My Mom says I am not and the my social skills are very adequate.

  14. ccmb

    Christ. I've never seen so many stereotypical, patronising and sexist comments (spurred on by the article, I might add). If you want to attract more women into technical careers, try speaking to them like equals instead of idiots.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > Christ. I've never seen so many stereotypical, patronising and sexist comments

      Are you new to the Internet?

      1. The Indomitable Gall
        Headmaster

        @AC

        "Are you new to the Internet?"

        That's a fail, AC. It's stereotypical and patronising, but it doesn't manage to be sexist. Must try harder.

      2. WatAWorld

        I would triple up-vote you if I could.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I would triple up-vote you if I could.

          Who, for what?

    2. Jediben
      Trollface

      Shut up and get off the internet, Mum.

    3. WatAWorld

      I do treat them as equals

      If they want into the field I do treat them as equals.

      But lying to people to get them into a career they won't enjoy is not treating someone as an equal.

      Would you want someone to lie to you in order to get you to take a job?

      1. FraK
        Mushroom

        Re: I do treat them as equals

        How do you think the army recruits their grunts?

    4. magrathea

      " try speaking to them like equals instead of idiots"

      Not a good idea

      You are likely to end up in front of HR if you do that

  15. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Enormous tits

    Many of the blokes in IT are enormous tits. It doesn't help.

    1. Alex Rose
      Coat

      Re: Enormous tits

      Furthermore a lot of the guys I work with in IT *have* enormous tits. It also doesn't help.

      1. Darryl
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Enormous tits

        OK, now those two comments were funny.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pre-history?

    "Ever since the dawn of time, it seems, the IT sector has noticed that it is staffed almost entirely by blokes and wondered how this could be changed.

    In the 1960s IT boom young women formed a large part of IT companies' staff (just about everyone in IT was young then). They were mostly in software departments - hardware engineering was still organised, and staffed, by male ex-Armed Services types.

    Most computer operators were male due to rules excluding women from night shifts. That didn't stop women software developers or support staff watching their job run in the small hours - while chatting up the operators.

    That was still the case in the1970s - the apparent decline in technical roles for women in the IT industry started in the 1980s. That may have coincided with university courses in various branches of computing effectively restricting the selection criteria for IT technical jobs.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Pre-history?

      In Canada, where I've spent my career, about 1/4 to 1/3 of each IT department is female. Mind you, I'm in programming so not small companies with just LANs, larger companies, it that makes a difference.

      It doesn't matter. 1/4 to 1/3 is not 50% so its not enough.

      In fact, because IT pays better than most parts of the company, the true HR theoretical target for IT "is the same proportion as the rest of the company."

      In other words, in Canada, the ratio of male to female should be the same in high paying as in low paying jobs. And you recruit more women to even things out.

      So Canadian banks and government ministries won't be happy until IT departments that are 80 to 90% female.

  17. nsld
    FAIL

    The bigger question is why

    we have to get any gender into any job role?

    Not many women in IT, not many men work in children's nurseries, the world is full of jobs with a significant number of one gender.

    If you put a lot of guys together they will talk like a collective bunch of cavemen, that's how we are programmed. In my youth many years ago I worked on the photographic counter at Boots, I was one of only three males working in that store, and believe me, when you have a majority of women together its as equally unfriendly to men as it would be for any minority group.

    It doesn't matter how much the sandal wearing liberals complain about it, we are different, if they cannot except that so be it, but don't foist your anthropologically unsound beliefs on the rest of us.

    I happen to like the fact men and women are different, I employ pretty much an even split but always based on the merits of the individual.

    1. Squander Two

      FTFY

      "If you put a lot of guys together, the dickheads amongst them will talk like a collective bunch of cavemen, while telling themselves that it's OK because that's how all men are "programmed", while the civilised ones quietly sidle away somewhere else to get away from the pricks who are exactly like the pricks who bullied them at school."

      1. Flashy Red
        IT Angle

        Re: FTFY

        Amen!

      2. nsld

        Re: FTFY @squander Two

        Did you bother to read the whole post?

        No comment on the women who behave in exactly the same way?

        You where bullied not because you where civilised but because you where weak, that is how we are programmed over millions of years for survival of the fittest, not survival of the politically correct.

        You might not like it but you cannot escape it, that's how humans are, its what makes us good at thinking up new and exciting ways of killing each other, and its the "civilised" countries that do that the best!

        And it applies to both men and women, hence my example from my days at Boots.

        You haven't fixed anything just advertised the fact you read the Guardian.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Did you bother to read the whole post?

          Yes, and it clearly shows that you're one of the chimps that think everything is fine as it is, and we shouldn't expect any better. And no, I wasn't bullied at school, nor did I bully.

        2. Squander Two

          Re: FTFY @squander Two

          Actually, the only thing I was commenting on was this prevalent idea that groups of men are supposed to discuss sex in a crude "Look at the arse on that" sort of a way, and that all men do this. Well, all men don't, actually; some of us find it boorish and tedious and it reminds us of the boorish tedious arseholes we knew when we were fourteen and who we thought might have grown out of it by now. You can behave however you want, I'm sure; I just get annoyed when your sort claim that "all" men behave like you and it's inherent to being male. No we don't, and no it isn't; it's a choice.

          As I mentioned elsewhere, there's only one Squander Two on the Interwebs, so my opinions are quite easy to check up on. Accusing me of reading The Guardian is the funniest thing I've read in quite some time. Really.

  18. Tom Wood
    Pint

    Firstly, don't conflate IT and computer science/computer engineering. In my experience IT (sysadmin type stuff) does tend to attract more "nerds" than engineering roles where you have a greater need to relate to customers and consider business cases and project plans and all those sorts of things. Social skills basically...

    Secondly, of the software/computer engineers I've worked with, probably only 10% fit the uber-geek stereotype. Most are fairly "normal" but techincal people who enjoy many and varied things outside of work, just the same as everyone else in the population (they have wives/partners/kids and friends and enjoy sport/DIY/going to the pub/whatever else it is that men spend their free time doing).

    So it's not so much a case of lying in the media, rather setting the record straight.

  19. James 36
    Paris Hilton

    blah

    who would have thought breaking down ingrained stereotypes was sooo easy, a few articles here and there and women will flock to IT ....

    Paris cos she was an IT girl

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: blah

      And while we are at it; we should be looking at why more men don't get into the haute couture business, why some men consider it "sissy".

      Stereotypes are being broken down but it's not going to happen overnight and it's also fight against those who want to keep those stereotypes and associated prejudices.

      I don't think we will ever remove stereotyping completely, but if it become mere personal opinion rather than an obstacle to people doing whatever they want to, then I am sure we could live with that.

      1. magrathea

        Re: blah

        "I don't think we will ever remove stereotyping completely"

        Why would we want to? Ganeralising labels are simplifications of a complex world, as are words and names themselves. so what? where is the moral issue here?

  20. SuperNintendoChalmers

    We've been here before

    This has been gone over more times than I can count on here (and that's at least ten (I tend not to take my socks off in the office)) How do we get more women into tech the same way you get anyone else into any other sector. Pay good money, don't discriminate, accept that the industry/office/team needs to have some flexibility so that people can more easily fit their personal and work lives into the 24 hours of the day.

    From a more IT centric view how about each of us takes a little bit of responsibility and stop using terms like "lovely ladies", "bimbo", "eye candy", etc. when having these discussions both online and offline? How about we call out our colleagues and friends who continue to assess the women in (and coming into) the industry for such practices? I'm not saying make a big scene, but let them know that you don't think its right in the way you think is best. Maybe, if each of us takes a little bit of responsibility we can make things better as a whole?

    Maybe it would help if we all imagined working as the only male in an otherwise all female department? If we were honest with ourselves how would we be described if it was only in terms of "eye candy"?

    In the spirit of honesty, I'm not saying I'm perfect, I'm not saying I don't like looking and good looking women, I'm not saying I have always treated everyone I met with utmost respect, I have caught myself being a right arse some times. However when I do catch myself doing things I wouldn't like to be on the end of I apologise to the person involved and try not to make the same mistake again.

    Wholesale change isn't going to happen overnight, but we work in IT, incremental change is meant to be something we are good at.

    1. Mr Spock

      Re: We've been here before

      > but we work in IT, incremental change is meant to be something we are good at.

      No, what we are good at in IT is buggering up large projects. The larger the project, the more spectacular the bugger-up. And face it, as projects go, industry-wide gender equality is a pretty big one.

  21. Crisp Silver badge

    I'm surprised at Sapna Cheryan.

    Women enter plenty of professions with a less glamorous image. To suggest that women are this shallow is just as bad as the "lets paint it pink" marketing of tech firms that want to appeal to women.

    1. Mr Spock
      Boffin

      Re: I'm surprised at Sapna Cheryan.

      I'm not. For academics, this kind of research is the gift that keeps on giving.

      Just think, if we ever did get gender parity in IT, this lot would have to go back to researching appendicular hearing in orthoptera.

    2. NewAccount

      Re: I'm surprised at Sapna Cheryan.

      "To suggest that women are this shallow is just as bad as the "lets paint it pink" marketing of tech firms that want to appeal to women."

      Yes!

      Women just don't buy pink. Fact.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This again...

    How about getting more men to go to Weight Watchers?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This again...

      "How about getting more men to go to Weight Watchers?"

      This would also require lying about the demographics of the current community, and this would be a harder sell: a great many fat guys avoid slimming clubs because of all the fat women... and how are you going to convince them (OK, alright then, I admit it, us) that slimming clubs are full of slim attractive women...?

  23. Nial

    > Last I heard, women were equally capable and intelligent and should have equal opportunities.

    Last I heard women were equally capable and intelligent and _do_ have equal opportunities.

    Can you list a few obstacles to women moving into IT you're aware of?

  24. OzBob
    Thumb Down

    Why? Cos its not "trendy" anymore.

    back in the 90s, screeds of women in IT. Now its media studies or counselling (Look up your list of local counsellors - the "tell me how you are feeling" ones, not the local politicians. And how many women on the TV channels these days where you live?I bet in both cases its more than 50% female)

    Plus, you lose currency in IT a lot quicker than other roles (I bumped into a fellow student from Polytech 25 years after we graduated - she gave up programming to have the kids, and was working in a supermarket to kill time before her primary school teaching degree came though, too much hassle to re-enter IT and bring herself up to date).

    Plus, if you want to stay in IT while tending to kids, it has a shitty work-life balance, however much they say otherwise. So most women got smart and looked elsewhere.

    Its like Tim Allen said in his first book; "Women have many choices in how to live their life; men have two - they can work or they can go to jail".

  25. Psycho Flump

    Getting women into technical things needs to start when they're kids, if you're leaving it till post A-level age you've already missed the boat. I remember playing with computers at primary school age, typing game code into a ZX or later fiddling around with Stos Basic. It got me hooked, and because I enjoyed mucking around with techy things I came to the conclusion that: tech > bullshit stereotype. It was enough for me not to give a crap about being the only girl in my high school year to take computer studies.

    When we're little girls, if you must buy us that pink my little pony make sure and include some lego. when we're grown up just treat us like people, it's really that easy.

  26. LAL09

    women in science, yes, we do exist!

    high school ia already too late... i wanted to be a scientist at the age of 7-8!!!

    But admittedly i actively decided not to go into programming cause it does look alienating... and sitting on a chair for 20 hours would make my bum to grow out of control!!! :DDD LOL

  27. deadlockvictim Silver badge

    Women are welcome into IT

    In my experience, women have been welcomed into the world of IT. Some have thrived, most have moved on.

    It seems to me that it just doesn't appeal to them (all 3.5 billion) and that is fair enough. Certainly in the comfortable first-world country where I live, there is nothing hindering them, except maybe themselves.

    If they prefer to go into the glamorous world of helpdesk, marketing or accountancy, then fair enough. I see no reason why they should be especially encouraged into IT. It all rather reeks of 'Mars needs Women!'

    Let them come into IT only if they want to, no-one is going to no-one stop them.

  28. xperroni
    Joke

    The Power of Lies

    I for one totally support the idea of lying to people for their own good. The Media's power to twist the perception of reality, and thus trick society into bettering itself, is one of the great untapped resources of our age.

    And of course the idea of promoting IT among women for what the profession is – the things you learn and become able to do, the opportunities for professional and personal development, and what you contribute to society – should never once cross our minds; those are inconsequential things.

    What is really important and should be thoroughly promoted, is how cool they'll look to their friends if they come into IT – how we have the best parties, dress the latest fashion, and never ever dabble in anything even remotely "boring" (i.e. requiring lengthy study and/or persistent work).

    Perception over reality, appearance over content. That's the way to go.

    May Ford save our souls!

  29. Nanners
    Alien

    Pretty simple

    Girls wanna have fun, and geek boys are not very fun.

    1. Crisp Silver badge

      Re: Pretty simple

      Speak for yourself. I'm a riot.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Doing more to *keep* the few who *are* in IT would be a start

    I think my wife, an experience database analyst programmer for nearly 20 years, is desperate to get out of IT which, from what I hear everyday, is in no real danger of becoming less of a "boys club" anytime soon. She can attest to how difficult it is to get formal professional training for new technologies at one of HP's not so recent acquisitions. But, hey, the fellas managed it so that's fine and dandy. No shortage of Narcissistic Personality Disorders to rewrite her code without so much as an explanation as to the reasons, which might count as on the job training. She's now so beaten down by her "team" that suicide or admin jobs have been floated as alternatives. Nice one HP!

    1. kraut

      Re: Doing more to *keep* the few who *are* in IT would be a start

      I think your wife might benefit from a chat with HR...

  31. John 156
    Stop

    Is professor Sapna Cheryan of Washington uni's psychology department the victim of minority or female preference herself, or is psychology the sort of discipline that attracts those who are not very bright?

    A better approach would be to tell putative female candidates that they can all become managers and spend their time in meetings and bedeck their desks with stuffed animals.

  32. wrong

    Washington uni?

    Prof. Cheryan works for the University of Washington.

    "Washington uni" is not a good descriptor for that institution, because of the existence of Washington University in St. Louis.

    There's also Washington State University. And Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, George Washington University, etc etc. The Yanks named a lot of stuff after that guy, so it's not a good place to get sloppy.

  33. pinch0salt
    Facepalm

    I'm offended...

    ...that all these women seem to think I'm geeky and that my job is not exciting!

  34. Tikimon Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Let's fix Hollywood, that would help a lot

    Second all comments on the stereotyped portrayal of geeks in film. The annoying so-called "scientist" in Independence Day is a prime example. Clearly the screenwriters never had much use for "eggheads", preferring the world be saved by the passionately-Green journalist (Goldblum).

    But what do we expect? Hollywood and American media are stocked with the same folks who didn't do well in science or math, and got into journalism and theater instead. It permeates non-geek-bearing media also: simple stories, stock characters, absurdly simple Plots To Destroy (or save) The World. Stereotypes for all! (sigh...)

  35. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Happy

    Completely OT Is "conslutant" the *best* mixed up word ever?

    A perfect confabulation of ideas that express a deeper truth?

    And at least a few Beavis style Hehehehehehehe's.

  36. Nazgill

    Get women into Tech... not keeping them in there

    Some people seem to have been complaining that women in tech are the subject of abuse of their male counterparts and this seems to be the one and only reason why more women arent in tech roles.

    Ok thats an opinion, but wasnt the focus of the piece. Why are women not wanting to goto tech jobs enmasse... answer in the article was.... "Its too nerdy" with the hitherto understated hint that "they are to be pretty to be seen to be nerdy and it affects their social status which is what all women care about".

    True or not can only be proven by demographics i guess. In asia i see alot more women in Tech. Its more acceptable as a high paid job. The women fit in, there is no "oh how i'd like to do X to her" comments from any of the men either in secret or in the "locker" room style men chats some people seem to think tech guys have all the time, every day, in the office, in ear shot of the women. (cause it secretly turns women on ya know..... not).

    Did it happen when i was in the West? not really... sometimes you might get the odd comment about a super attractive secretary or marketing bod, but that was about it. (in turn female colleagues would do the same about the cute guy with the obvious 6pak) So in my world view i dont see where all the comments about us super nerds being lecherous, offensive, sex obssesed perverts comes from.

    Anyways in essence one of the commenters i agreed with most is @Pete2.

    We see sexual equality laws and discrimination as a banner soley for women to hold. The problems with certain industries is that there are not enough women in them, and generally its because of the evil lecherous men that work in thoose industries. There is rarely a reverse publicised study saying "Problem is there are not enough men in Day Care" followed up with, because all parents that think male adults who want to spend time with kids are peado's in the making.

    As long as there is no discrimination, and people can do the jobs they want to do without hinderance or impediment, then there are no problems with a biased demographic in any industry.

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