back to article Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign

It's a job that involves long hours sitting in front of a computer, bashing characters into a computer while ignoring the happy people who are outside, frolicking in the sunshine. What hip young woman wouldn't want to be a computer programmer? With this in mind, Google has embarked upon a $50m drive to encourage women to get …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice to see we are finally getting some girls to code, clearly they are none existent at the moment in the industry as $50mil is a lot to spend on a recruitment drive...I must go and tell 1/3 of the coders in my office that they now exist.

    1. Goat Jam

      "must go and tell 1/3 of the coders in my office that they now exist."

      I would bet dollars to donuts that every one of those females is Indian. I don't say that in a disparaging way either, it's just that I have never seen a white female coder. Ever. I don't know why Indian women are apt to have a go where white women (apparently) fear to tread. Must be a cultural thing.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ooh, I made silver...

    Is it too late for a sexchange? I'd do that for $50,000,000, and learn to code as well.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Part of the issue is many women like to work in the public sector, often due to their beliefs or the option of flexi time.

    1. cordwainer 1

      Sadly...

      It's not that they inherently WANT to work in lower paying jobs. They're still facing an uphill climb against the good-old-boy network in a lot of higher-paying industries.

      I believe this will change, but to claim sexism is not an obstacle (including what seems to be increasing sexism coming from women themselves, depressingly) is to ignore mountains of evidence, lawsuits, and vicious media attacks on women to the contrary.

      1. xerocred

        Re: Sadly...

        @codewaine

        Girls are avoiding the subjects at school that might lead to coding or engineering jobs long before they come across the sexism in the workplace of which you speak.

        Why is that?

        In the middle east a much higher % of women take IT at uni. than in the west.

        Why is that?

        So it is a complex subject and dismissing it as sexism is plain wrong.

        I believe the vast majority of guys in the industry welcome women in the industry and behave as gentlemen.

        But as the article alludes to little is done to address the 60:40ratio of girls to boys going to university or the domination of some subjects by women.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sadly...

          "In the middle east a much higher % of women take IT at uni. than in the west.

          Why is that?"

          Have you seen how complicated the kitchen appliances get when you have all that oil money?

      2. gerryg
    2. Slap

      Coding is a flexitime job

      One day you might pull 12 hours and the next perhaps 16 - that seems pretty flexible to me.

  4. Alister Silver badge

    UK gov's Year of Code

    Ah yes, 6 months in, I haven't noticed much in the way of progress with this...

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: UK gov's Year of Code

      That's what happens when you have a good idea, then get a load of people who have no idea about it to run it, whilst excluding many people who have been working to the same aim for years.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: UK gov's Year of Code

        UK gov's Year of Code drive??? More like parked in a layby eating all the cakes bought for the meetings.

    2. PhillW

      Re: UK gov's Year of Code

      Yip, look what they have achieved...... still a naff webshite, lots of 'advisors' and sod all happening anywhere.... except at their exclusive get togethers.

      Still, who needs hospitals, schools, roads fixed, social care etc etc... this is the future.

      I fully expect year of code 2 to be rolled out with a budget 10X as large.

  5. Shaha Alam

    recruiter > you there, yes you.

    candidate > who me?

    recruiter > why, yes. you. aren't you a delightful thing. Did you know you could work with computers?

    candidate > why thank you, kind sir. But aren't those the befuddling machines that only a man understands.

    recruiter > why yes. but you too can learn.

    ====================

    job done. is it can b payday nao pl0x?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Thank you, Lord Babbage!

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything

    In the same way that semiconductor wafer processing is a fundamental skill that is part of everything.

    Electric cars are going to be everywhere so we all need to be lithium miners ?

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything

      Note to OP. Try thinking a bit more before posting.

    2. dan1980

      Re: Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything

      @Y.A.A.C - exactly.

      As time has gone on, while the ability to operate a computer is increasingly important, the ability to program is increasingly irrelevant to operating a computer.

      Being a programmer is one thing and they will always be needed, but the idea that programming skills are or will be important in day-to-day life is just absurd.

      Computer programs tend to be designed with large shiny buttons to press (increasingly by stabbing at the screen like a monkey) and with options stripped-back and hidden so that the user is not troubled by too much choice. More-and-more software forces you into a particular usage pattern and the 'app' mentality sees specialised programs that do one thing.

      Even making choices is discouraged in the use of such software.

      Or perhaps that's why coding will become so important - maybe the idea is that soon, to be able to do what you want (rather than being stuck with poking a succession of colourful buttons) you will be have to resort to coding your own programs or at the least attempting to hack existing ones to make them obey you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything

        @dan 1980 I think you are mistaken. In the same way that everyday people use a spreadsheet instead of calculating the figures manually the next logical step is that everyday people can automate their own tasks and be more productive without relying on IT people to come and do this for them.

        Imagine the bottleneck if every letter you wrote had to be dictated to a 'writing dept' because no one else in the business had that skill! "Hang on a moment, I just need to hit up my scribe to write down your details." Likewise, we are currently at that stage with IT where people can do more themselves only needing assistance when things don't go to plan.

        Of course there is still a way to go to making scripting easy enough whilst remaining flexible but if people can write a shopping list, then they can write a list of tasks for a computer to do.

        1. Nick Pettefar

          Re: Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything

          "@dan 1980 I think you are mistaken. In the same way that everyday people use a spreadsheet instead of calculating the figures manually"

          I don't meet many people who use spreadsheets to calculate figures - most use them to write table-form documents. If any calculations were needed they would do them by hand. Most people haven't a flippin' clue what a spreadsheet is for!

        2. dan1980

          Re: Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything

          @AC

          So, you see modern operating systems and the current push towards an 'app'-centric style of computing as being conducive to people scripting tasks?

          Addressing spreadsheets specifically - how come ordinary people aren't using the VBA abilities of Ms Excel? Maybe you and some people you know are, but I have managed and supported thousands of users in my career and NOT ONE has ever, to my knowledge, coded VBA in a workbook.

          You kind of defeat your own argument, however, by saying that scripting needs to become easier. At that point, it's not programming of the kind that Google are encouraging girls to learn - it's trying to implement a scripting engine/language/paradigm that removes the need to 'learn coding'.

          And think of the cloud-based world so many vendors are pushing ahead with - sure some of these programs have APIs you can make use of but not many.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Coding is a fundamental skill that’s going to be a part of almost everything

            An app centric world is failing miserably on desktops/laptops because the use pattern is entirely different to a phone or tablet.

  7. Sean Kennedy

    Maybe women just don't like coding?

    I will never understand the need to chase specific classes of people for professions. Are we really so short on willing coders that we need to entice disinterested parties into the job?

    I mean, isn't the end goal here to get people who aren't that interested in doing the job INTO the job over those that ARE interested in doing it? Does that make sense to anyone?

    1. busycoder99

      Re: Maybe women just don't like coding?

      Exactly.

      Where is the drive for:

      - more male nurses?

      - more men who can get pregnant?

      - women who work construction jobs?

      - women miners?

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Maybe women just don't like coding?

        "- more male nurses?"

        As a person who did this for a while, I got sick and tired of all of the females assuming that I was gay. As if there was no possible way that a straight male would ever consider that as a career option.

  8. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Trollface

    become vets, nurses, social workers or teachers - professions which come with superb pensions

    A final annoucement just before the crash in taxpayer-financed healthcare and education occurred....

  9. Daggersedge

    Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

    Have a look at this story from Sweden:

    http://www.thelocal.se/20100112/24330

    Basically, it turned out that feminists didn't like it when men entered female-dominated fields such as veterinary medicine, dentistry, medicine, and psychology. At the same time, very few women applied to enter male-dominated fields.

    In other words, for feminists, equality is: 'What is his is mine and what is mine remains all mine'.

    1. Hollerith 1

      Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

      Um, no. Feminists see men coming into traditional 'female' spaces, but traditional 'male' spaces are still closed to women, so now men have many more job opportunities and women have fewer. Also, men going into traditional 'women's' areas tend to rise faster and higher than women in that field, thus the many teachers', nurses' etc organisations with a man as the head/director/chair of them -- any man in a 'woman's' field is seen as better and more properly leader of them. Also seen in grocery stores, where a 25 year old bloke is manager of dozens of older women staff. But, Daggeredge (love the moniker, BTW) what you are really saying is 'feminists are illogical girlies who hate men', so perhaps I should save my breath to cool my porridge.

      1. stanimir

        Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

        "Feminists see men coming into traditional 'female' spaces, but traditional 'male' spaces are still closed to women, so now men have many more job opportunities and women have fewer.Also, men going into traditional 'women's' areas tend to rise faster and higher than women in that field"

        Citation needed.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

        No part of the IT industry is closed for women, they are more than welcome but they *choose* not to do it. It might seem hard to a lot of those who get a boost in general society through flirtation wheras the industry focuses far more on merit.

      3. Nuke
        Facepalm

        @Hollerith 1 - Re: Here's what feminists do when men .....

        Wrote : - "traditional 'male' spaces are still closed to women"

        I can't think of any examples of that, and certainly don't see any evidence in my industry (heavy engineering). There are not many women because heavy engineering is an anathema to most women (try discussing it at a party), but there is no obstacle to their entry and the few that there are get spectacular promotion because the directors are terrified of being accused of precisely what you have just claimed.

      4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

        Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

        but traditional 'male' spaces are still closed to women

        Retarded bullshit is retarded, aka. "Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

      Thanks for that link. That is awesome

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

      'What is his is mine and what is mine remains all mine'.

      It sounds like my wife is a feminist

    4. Fibbles

      Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

      That article shows everything that is wrong with affirmative action. Creating a new form of discrimination in order to mitigate the effects of a previous discrimination does nothing to help equality. You still end up with a group of people being unfairly discriminated against. All it actually achieves is the illusion of equality.

      People need to accept that after millennia of discriminating against people based on their race / sex / religion that our societies are going to take time to rebalance themselves. An average 50/50 gender balance in workplaces would be a nice thing to have, but it's unrealistic to expect in the short term. Constructing policies to force this 50/50 balance to appear more quickly than it otherwise would creates unfair discrimination and is only done so people such as politicians can congratulate each other on having 'fixed the problem'.

    5. cordwainer 1

      Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

      You're applying a single instance to all women in general. Not all women believe men should be discriminated against. Unfortunately, the sexist women who for some reason DO grab more media attention.

      I'm female, by the way, and can tell you I've never met another woman who has a problem with men being nurses, dentists, doctors (since when are men discriminated against in medicine, by the way?), psychologists (historically a male-dominated profession, starting with Freud), or veterinarians

      In fact, except for nurses, the professions you list historically have ALL been male-dominated. I'm not sure how anyone decided those fields were traditionally female dominated, considering women had to fight to be accepted as doctors, veterinarians (especially in large-animal medicine), psychologists, and dentists, and still face opposition in many medical schools.

      But on the flip side, yes, any woman who objects to men entering them - or who believes they should be "female-dominated" fields- is obviously sexist , and I'm embarrassed by them, as are all the women I know. We believe in genuine equality, and hate male-bashers as much as we hate chauvinists. Neither are acceptable.

      To state it even more plainly: ANYONE who objects to another human being pursuing the career of his or her choice, solely because of gender, is a sexist, and therefore a bigot. That includes women, who clearly can also be sexist.

      Non-bigots don't care what gender you are. They only care how well you do the job.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

        > But on the flip side, yes, any woman who objects to men entering them ...

        Ooo err Missus.

    6. gerryg

      Re: Here's what feminists do when men are encouraged to go into female-dominated fields

      see also The XX Factor

  10. A K Stiles
    Terminator

    Encouragement?

    Rather than just trying to encourage women to become coders (or at least learn to code), have they considered the reasons why they don't already?

    Is it because it is seen as a very male-dominated industry, or is it because they ( a large proportion of females, oh and in fact a large proportion of the male population too) don't find it interesting, or just not suited to the way they think?

    I really enjoy problem solving, no really, and thinking very logically through a solution. It doesn't seem to be a mainstream trait, whatever your gender..

    1. Lis 0r
      Trollface

      Re: Encouragement?

      As a female coder, I'll tell you for free that the most off putting thing getting here was the people already doing it. Not only is it a complete sausage party, but it's full of libertarian, fedora-wearing douchebags. HTH, HAND, etc.

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Encouragement?

        I thought everyone liked my fedora....

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Encouragement?

        > but it's full of libertarian, fedora-wearing douchebags

        And exactly what's wrong with libertarianism pray tell?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Encouragement?

          > And exactly what's wrong with libertarianism pray tell?

          Apart from the "I've got mine, f**k you" mindset?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Encouragement?

            > Apart from the "I've got mine, f**k you" mindset?

            Some modern so-called libertarians have very illiberal beliefs such as anti-socialism and stronger property rights. I can't think of anything as antithetical to liberty.

            I consider myself a strong libertarian, but some of the bollocks that is spouted in the name of libertarianism is profoundly anti liberty. Those that truly believe in liberty oppose big government and over-reaching laws. That is not necessarily anti-socialist, although socialist-leaning governments do tend to get larger and authoritarian in their scope over time if there are not sufficient boundaries.

            The American ideal is profoundly libertarian. Problem is, the US has been anything but for many years and becoming less so as time goes by.

            1. Fibbles

              Re: Encouragement?

              "Some modern so-called libertarians have very illiberal beliefs such as anti-socialism and stronger property rights. I can't think of anything as antithetical to liberty."

              Cheers for the laugh. Also, John Locke would like to have a word.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Encouragement?

            > Apart from the "I've got mine, f**k you" mindset?

            As opposed to the, "You've worked hard and I haven't, but I deserve what you have" mindset.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Encouragement?

            > Apart from the "I've got mine, f**k you" mindset?

            And there was me thinking it was a "I've worked my arse off for mine. If you want it I wont put anything in your way to stop you working your arse off for it." mindset.

      3. Lars Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Encouragement?

        Hello Lis 0r, I am too short of time among the football to think of your problems but why do you speak about "libertarian, fedora-wearing douchebags" did you expect "tits and legs" to work as before. In software it's about producing acceptable code, not about how you dress or your political opinions. It's indeed a bit strange as most professions seem to have their code of how to dress. That does not apply to programmers. In the Nordic countries there are quite a few female programmers, no doubt less than 50%, but some of the best I have met are women. Anyway I would like to wish my Nordic friends

        "god midsommar".

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Encouragement?

        but it's full of libertarian, fedora-wearing douchebags

        Not wanting to lose your Keynesianistic state-sponsored pension scheme and maternity leave, dear?

        (Protip: It's too late)

      6. xerocred

        Re: Encouragement?

        @Lis 0r

        Does your workplace experience explain why girls represent a minority at A level Physics or Maths, or STEM subjects at university? (even though females are about 60% of university students)

        I'm sorry that where you work is full of tossers. I'm certain that is not normal.

        My sister is a developer and has worked for the same firm for 20 years, so it cannot be bad there.

        1. Lis 0r

          Re: Encouragement?

          Where I work is great - it's the industry at large that's full of tossers. If you can't understand within about 10 seconds of reading the slashdot comments why no minority would want to work in tech, then you're probably part of the problem.

          1. dogged

            @Lis 0r

            But women are a majority.

  11. Piers

    "Coding touches every field a girl could work in, from medicine to race-car driving."

    er - yeah, but like me, they'd probably *prefer* to be a Doctor, or racing car Driver....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Coding touches every field a girl could work in, from medicine to race-car driving."

      My GP actually has a clue about how computers can be used to facilitate rather than obstruct the delivery of health services. It doesn't do any harm to understand a bit about systems engineering.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Progressive

    For a moment I read that as "Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls get girls cooking' campaign", I was like "great idea".

    1. silent_count
      Thumb Up

      Re: Progressive

      I like your version better 'cause google's is just patronising.

      "C'mon girls. Spend your time learning to write software while everyone major company in your newly-acquired field conspires to keep you from getting paid a fair wage. And that's only when they can't import people who'll do it cheaper than you can live on. And that's only when they can't outsource your job to someone who can't do it half as well, but will do it a little cheaper."

      At least as a cook, it's easier for the layman to appreciate the value of your work. And it's readily apparent if someone tries to substitute your quality work with cheap garbage.

  13. Tom Wood

    Stop calling it #@*$ing "coding"

    "Coding" suggests a mechanical process of converting sense into almost-nonsense; encryption by hand if you will. No wonder people think it's boring.

    Software engineering should be anything but mechanical. One of my favourite quotes about computing is from Turing: "Instruction tables will have to be made up by mathematicians with computing experience and perhaps a certain puzzle-solving ability. There need be no real danger of it ever becoming a drudge, for any processes that are quite mechanical may be turned over to the machine itself."

    That's a rule for any programmer to live by - if you find your work becoming a drudge, write a program to do it for you (see also: compiler, automated test harness, etc...)

    To encourage people to become interested in computer science and software engineering, we need to really sell it on that "certain puzzle-solving" aspect, not on "coding"

    1. joejack

      Re: Stop calling it #@*$ing "coding"

      A constructive comment. Rare and welcome :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stop calling it #@*$ing "coding"

      I had more or less this conversation earlier this week with the woman who is taking over computing at our local comp. (Before you start, network engineer before going into teaching.) She wants to emphasise software engineering from the word go, NOT just "write some code to do X".

      Software engineering is real engineering you can do armed with only a computer and some software. It's affordable for schools. Even if none of the pupils, regardless of gender, go into computing per se, it can't do any harm to have people who get the idea that you don't just do repetitive jobs with your mind in neutral, you automate them so you can do the more important stuff.

      After all, even watching over half a dozen automated checkouts is a less boring and repetitive job than operating a checkout.

    3. JulianB

      Re: Stop calling it #@*$ing "coding"

      Yes. A long time ago I worked somewhere that had a programming pool, who turned the analysts' instructions into code. I don't know if such places still exist, but even then, if you were any good you fairly quickly got plucked out into a project team where you analysed a problem, designed a solution, and then coded and tested it. Those other aspects must be worth stressing,if we want to attract either girls or boys who currently think working with computers is boring.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Made with Code*

    *no fatties

    1. Swarthy Silver badge

      Re: Made with Code*

      A website that showcases *stuff* made with code.. The Pirate Bay?

  15. Andrew Hill

    The worlds most split infinitive ever - "So for kids to really at a minimum just be able to express themselves in code"

  16. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Setting up a bigger problem

    > Simply put, code is a tool that lets you write your story with technology.

    That sound you can hear is my head ... thump ... thump ... thump ... banging against my desk.

    That might be putting "coding" simply, but it's so far from reality that it doesn't even count as being wrong.

    Simply put, coding is writing instructions. Not what you want a machine to do, but what you're telling it to do - whether that's right or wrong. (Hint: mostly wrong). It requires very precise language and a very clear analysis of what you want to achieve.

    To present it as some sort of nice, warm, fuzzy "story" will only attract people who will later feel both alienated by the reality and that they have been misled by the campaign. We, those of us who have done "coding" (really: the smallest part of the job) should set the story right. The only way to succeed as a "coder" is to have a firm technical grasp of what the end result should look like and to be very aware that, unlike other creative pursuits (and coding is a creative act), your tools have zero tolerance for interpretation and doubt. Hence a basic requirement is an eye for detail, not broad brush-strokes and arm waving.

    Garbage in, Garbage out.

  17. Rene Schickbauer

    A more honest way of announcing open jobs

    Why not just say something like "Well, coding is a relatively future proof job. If you can write programs reasonable well, we don't care if you're female, male or a small furry creature from Alpha Centauri. As long as you look like you can get the job done, we will hire you on the spot, because we really need more people to make our stuff actually work."

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it really necessary in the first sentence to trot out the same old stereotypes that computing is something boring done in a dark cave? Actually it is fun, it is creative, it is far more liberating than running around in a field.

  19. Dan Paul

    Reverse Discrimination!

    As I understand, the Supreme Court in Michigan already threw out "affirmative action" as a preference in enrollment quota's.

    This bid by Google is just a form of reverse gender discrimination against a male dominated industry to make someone at Google "feel good" about what they're doing. The overcompensating is just stupid, good luck finding women - A) who actually want to learn programming, B) can live that kind of lifestyle, C) are good at it. You may find some, but at what price per student?

    From the LP - Alice's Restauraunt,

    "Officer Opie looked at the Judge and his seeing eye dog and back at the color glossy pictures with circles and arrows on'em and thought, this is a case of American Blind Justice."

    All employment/enrollment MUST be judged soley on merit. No name, no gender, no identification except a number during the resume process at the very least. The application of money to FUND more comprehensive education has to be gender blind as well.

    This is hardly different than all the Title IX baloney that force schools to create "equal" sports programs for women, when they can't find anyone female interested in American football (OR "coding") but the school had to have a team anyway.

    How about male cheerleaders? Not many of them either! Anyone see the futility and waste of funds here?

    Spend the limited amount of money where it's actually warranted, not for appeasement or compensation, but for educating the most amount of PEOPLE.

    1. danny_0x98

      Re: Reverse Discrimination!

      Quite a few jumbled thoughts up there.

      The Michigan case was on the question could a state constitutionally vote via referendum to end affirmative action. It did not explicitly address affirmative action, except as to whether its absence is an unconstitutional denial of rights. There have been cases about affirmative action and the first one that eroded it, in the sense that there was a compelling state interest in allowing discrimination as redress for past structural denial of civil rights, was Bakke in the early 80s, as I recall.

      Arlo Guthrie's story of Officer Obie's overwhelming use of photographic/crime scene technology for a case of public littering was a joke about how quiet things are in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and a set-up for the ironic punch line of the superfluity of the evidence, especially as Guthrie confessed. Could Mr. Guthrie have embellished a bit for entertainment value? Is our lesson here that judgements should be made without looking at the person? No. Guthrie's point was that institutions ("the establishment") had gotten so wound up in the process that they lost a human perspective. It was a pile of trash and Guthrie was willing to go pick it up. Obie turned it into an 30-years premature episode of CSI.

      So, you call for employment by blind analysis of numbers, because, I guess, all the best people this world offers are the ones who have awesome test results on paper? Hmm. Really? Nonetheless, it isn't happening, it never will be that way, and I don't even know why someone thinks that's worth a mention, even as aspirational goal.

      Collegiate football and basketball are big businesses and run counter to some of the ideals of higher education. This was justified in terms of creating the complete man: athlete and scholar. Colleges, within that philosophy, have programs for golf, soccer, volleyball, track, etc., whether or not there is a significant revenue stream. If there is a tempering process for the student through team and individual athletic competition, how may we say that the opportunity to attain the fullness of the college experience is exclusive to one gender? This was the point behind Title IX. Athletics are good for the person, so ignore women at cost of federal funds. My alma mater ditched its football program in 1970. It is currently very competitive and gets into national rankings in men's and women's basketball, volleyball, and soccer. I was on campus when Title IX came to be. I endorsed it then and I think it works as promised.

      There are male cheerleaders, song leaders, yell leaders. No one I know is complaining about this. Still, isn't cheerleading as a profession really a career in dancing? Is there a problem with gender imbalance in dancing? Is dancing as important to the economy as computing? Perhaps instead of flailing about for half-baked absurdities, let's focus on what's real.

      Women who are in computing report that they are constantly barraged by innuendos that they don't belong, even as they lead companies, ship products, and make profits. If you listen, you'll hear stories of women who went to a conference too nicely dressed and were mistaken for someone's girl friend, or even more humiliatingly, as paid-for escort. Whenever someone goes public with complaints of harassment, they are assaulted by the internet misogyny army. Now, perhaps this is a subclass of the people need to treat people better problem, but so many folks seem baffled with the concept that women would like to have jobs where they make contributions on interesting problems and no one thinks it's a weird thing to want. Many women and men think that increasing the number of women employed in computing would reduce some of the problem and, as side-benefit, increase the talent pool and make for teams with better balance of perspectives. Is it worth a try? I say yes. I've worked in places where there were majority women and I've worked for women owner/bosses. Those were the best jobs I had. The ones where the owner or a large group were fond of chauvinistic opining were companies with serious problems. My takeaway, the best companies respect their customers and their workers, which is to say, people.

      It's Google's money and they are a private entity. They, as an employer, believe in diversity and are doing something to make it happen. I think that's called walking the talk and usually this is applauded. Where's the appeasement? Where's the compensation? Year of Code, for its faults, was inclusive. Google believes they currently see a large number of quality male applicants. Google thinks that there are women who could make a contribution to the company and industry but who have been left out. Willful? Coincidence? Who cares? Let's send an invitation and welcome.

      With outreach, will every woman think that computing is the field for them? Does every man?

      If someone says to another, "Here, let me show you you can do this," how does that subtract any thing from the person already doing it?

      I tend to not think much of the person who goes "No one helped me, so every one can just [buzz] off." (I note, that is neither explicitly nor implicitly your argument here.) People did help them, but they are so besotted by their self-congratulations (or so corrupted by fear and doubt) that they've erased those moments when someone showed them an opportunity, or taught them the right way, or cleared their heads of mush. Many people forget those moments when they had luck or they got the chance through a friend or relative.

  20. AutomationGeek

    Not a feminist

    Can we start by stopping calling them girls, they're women!

    Wiki agrees, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl.

    1. Old Handle

      Re: Not a feminist

      As I understand it, the the campaign really is directed mainly at girls, i.e. female children and adolescents. Slightly confusing since the site features lots of pictures of women, not girls, but I think the idea is "you can do cool stuff like this when you grow up" or something.

  21. This post has been deleted by its author

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Total waste of time and money

    Unless they plan on spending it in India, China, or any of the places where the cost of employment is cheap. Why? All the dev jobs are going overseas. I'm glad that I'm close to retirement because in 10 years there will be hardly any development done in the developed world.

    What woman (or man for that matter) would enter an industry where the writing for its demise is already written in huge letters on the wall?

    Mind you in places like India most of the talented people leave ASAP. What is left is in the main the dross so is it little wonder that the quality of the work is crap.

    If anyone doubts this, just try getting even a half skilled WAS Developers in Chennai. We had some but they came from Bangalore but left because they didn't speak the language (Tamil) or like the food.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    you don't get it

    it's not about equality, or about coding, or about women (sorry gals), it's about being "there". The hype now is "women for coding", so they throw money at that, because this is where the limelight shines, and google wants to be in the light, or at least in the frame. If next "thing" is communing with the dead cats to increase spiritual awareness and oxygen content, google will be there too. Just like all the biggest (...) flocked to that furry penis "virtual" reality a few years back.

  24. busycoder99

    Where do I sign up

    to get my hands on some of this free dough, and other handouts that I hear of all the time?

    Besides, this probably came out of the PR budget.

  25. Gannon (J.) Dick

    What happens when girls don't learn to code and do something else ?

    Ask Lucy Koh

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/06/20/no_hire_pact_settlement_judge_concerned/

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was doing well until..

    "Coding touches every field a girl could ..."

    ..then I drifted off. I need to get out more!

  27. Diogenes

    Waaaaayyy tooo late

    Admittedly a small sample of 1 school but ..

    Year 8 girls are the only ones that whine when told their next Tech Mandatory rotation is computing - note they don't whine about doing woodwork or metalwork !

    My year 9 apps class 75% male - year 9 IST class 95% male - year 10 multimedia 50%, year 10 IST 98% - year 11 SDD 100% male

    Colleagues at other schools report very similar numbers, even those with female teachers.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thanks!

    It’s almost relaxing to see The Register display its misogyny and studied ignorance so clearly. No tricky judgment calls to make here.

    1. Steven Roper

      Re: Thanks!

      Actually I was quite pleased to see the Reg add that footnote about the lack of effort being made to encourage men into traditionally female fields. That balanced perspective is why I prefer to get my news from El Reg instead of the feminist-biased mainstream media. Of course misandrists like you would find that "misogynistic".

      Just as misandrists like you feel it necessary to post mindless feminist rhetoric in the comments threads of every publication that doesn't grovel to your worldview. Do you honestly think you're going to convert anyone or make even one commentard cut his cock off in some form of male guilt trip with comments like that?

      If you're looking for other man-haters to circlejerk with, Tumblr is right over thattaway. ---------------->

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google look to save $50m in getting girls to code...

    Supply and demand.

    There's a shortage of software developers in Silicon Valley - their value increases.

    Create an oversupply by trying to convince the world that it's an essential skill and that you may as well go live in a cave if you don't learn how to do it, and as a company highly reliant on software developers, you begin to reduce your cost base.

    The myth that we all need to learn how to do this is nothing more than the likes of Google/Facebook/Microsoft/Virgin and others looking to reduce their salary bill. Unfortunately it seems many people are being dragged into repeating this myth.

    Do we picture a day when trying to hire a Sales Director, you are met with a line of applicants who don't know how to sell (because that's not an essential skill), but can write a cracking 'Yo!' app because that's what the world needs.

  30. smartypants

    "Doing the Right thing" (tm) != Doing the right thing.

    The right thing to do is to ensure that kids have an education that excites them about the future without shoving them into this box or that, without so they can settle freely on what they actually want to do.

    Kids have a hard-enough time encountering such an education. Many don't have an education at all, many suffer a lack of interest in their education by their parents, and, just as bad, some parents wilfully interfere with the choices available to them for cultural reasons.

    This call for more female programmers seems less about addressing the shortcomings in education, and more about the needs of a corporation to be seen to be doing a Good Thing (tm).

    Being a programmer is no more worthy of a girl's future than anything else she may freely decide to do, when offered the full choice of options by a healthy education.

    I don't think that it would make a blind bit of difference to the world were all the programmers women. I don't think that a world with a 50/50 split of men and women in every profession is a better world than one where there is a natural variety that arrives through nothing more than the execution of free will by children who are left to make their own decisions about their own future.

    If Google wanted to make a difference, they should throw a bit more of their cash to improve general access to a decent education, and stop obsessing about gender targets.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Women are not limited in opportunity

    Women are disproportionately well represented at university (~60%) - so obviously they have opportunity and intelligence. They choose subjects that generally lead to non-STEM (biology/medicine excepted), many of which they dominate.

    Shall we force them into maths, physics, engineering and IT?

    I'm an engineer, I make less money now than 17 years ago (not even adjusted for inflation). I'm not going to tell anyone that engineering is a good career - especially if they have the choice of law or medicine or finance.

  32. Paratrooping Parrot

    I have worked in the Middle East where there is none of the Western stereotype that programming is for men. I have seen women who can repair computers and write programs in Java, C# and C++. They have written decent applications as well. So, the idea that women cannot program computers is just a "Western" fallacy.

  33. Frankee Llonnygog

    $50million?

    What's that in Lily Coles?

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Google spaffs $50 MILLION on 'get girls coding' campaign "

    What they actually said was "Go and make us some more Java..."

  35. M7S

    Has this campaign released an inspirational video?

    like that one the EU did for getting girls into science....

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g032MPrSjFA if you'd forgotten

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