back to article Can you ethically suggest a woman pursue a career in tech?

Over the last few years we’ve watched parents, educators and mentors everywhere working hard to get women into science, technology engineering and maths careers. Those efforts are succeeding: the number of women going studying engineering at the tertiary level has begun to arc upward. This is a good thing. But we also know …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This should be fun. Got my bottle of bleach ready feel I may need a good long drink,

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      @ brain bleach

      Upvote on that and I'll stand us both another round. I do wonder sometimes if El Reg doesn't post these stories to do a little "research" on the commentards.

      But it's a worthy discussion point from some angles - when I got into this industry I did think along similar lines but back then the question was "Does a working class boy stand a chance of climbing the corporate ladder in the UK?"

      Times change, but it doesn't matter if all you've got is time.

    2. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Why would you want to kill yourself because of a lot of silly reactionary comments and logical fallacies? Try a glass of your favourite tipple instead of bleach.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Try a glass of your favourite tipple instead of bleach."

        Maybe bleach is his favourite tipple.

    3. Starace

      Hand the bleach to the author of this rubbish.

      After all he's the one thinking that poor helpless women are somehow utterly unable to do anything for themselves without his (particularly condescending) help. Even down to language like 'inviting' women into the tech industry. It's deeply insulting.

      In his own special way he's just as bad as the people he complains about, maybe worse as his actions are actively hypocritical.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh, the irony...

      This article is soooo much funnier when you realise the author was once accused of harassment by nerdy feminists https://geekfeminism.org/2011/01/30/powerful-people-mark-pesces-linux-conf-au-keynote/

  2. Solarflare

    "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

    Oh, I'm sorry Johnny, you've been working realy hard ever since you've joined the company and you're probably our best worker...unfortunately you don't have ovaries, so you will always be paid less than your female coworkers, you male scum

    What a bright future we have to look forward to!

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      Well said sir.

      Teachers are mostly women, Opticians about 65%, Dentists 50%+, Doctors over 50% women in University at the moment.

      What do all these careers have in common? Excellent opportunities for flexible working and/or holidays during school holidays. Women are making very sensible choices regarding careers. Perhaps IT with long hours and firm deadlines isn't so good if you plan on raising your own children rather than having the state do all your childcare? Sadly the women doing the bleating are in high paying jobs and can afford to employ someone to look after their kids (typically another woman on minimum wage).

      1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
        Flame

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        What do all these careers have in common? Excellent opportunities for flexible working and/or holidays during school holidays. Women are making very sensible choices regarding careers. Perhaps IT with long hours and firm deadlines isn't so good if you plan on raising your own children rather than having the state do all your childcare? Sadly the women doing the bleating are in high paying jobs and can

        You do know what you've done there? Perpetuated the stereotype that women are the "home makers" and men are the "bread winners". Why can't the woman go to work and husband stay at home and look after the kids?

        Or what about lesbian couples? Or maybe people just want to get home at a sane time and spend time with their significant other without coming home and falling asleep 'cause they're working 12 hour days?

        Life has taught me to value diversity: Men, women, black, white, straight, gay, etc.. Everyone has something to contribute. I don't think I'd want to work in an office of straight white males.

        1. Known Hero

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          @ A Non e-mouse

          Everyone has something to contribute. I don't think I'd want to work in an office of straight white males.

          Well I'm guessing as I am a straight white male with straight white male co-workers, then I guess you don't like me, not sure what I did to offend you though .....

          1. Paul 195

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            I'm a straight white male, and working in an environment consisting of only more of the same is going to get pretty dull. I don't think Esme has anything against you personally, or indeed against straight white males in general. It's just that in certain environments we do seem to form an overwhelming (>90%) majority, and that's not a good sign.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

              I live in a country and in a system where the balance has tipped the other way. It is a tech profession, and I have been the only male in a female environment, with several layers of female bosses. There was no harassment of the only remaining male (all those women are married with small children), but the lack of interest in the skills and knowledge of the core technologies was pervasive and became unbearable. Hiring policy? At the first opportunity of hiring a second man into the system the boss hired another woman.

              My experience was not that the feminists sought equality. They sought dominance. Early retirement was my way out,

              1. mattje

                Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

                "Hiring policy? At the first opportunity of hiring a second man into the system the boss hired another woman."

                Now you know how many women must feel

                "My experience was not that the feminists sought equality. They sought dominance."

                Ditto. Change "women" and "feminists" for men in your statements and that has been the status quo for human existence.

                To the privileged, equality seems like oppression

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          Perpetuated the stereotype that women are the "home makers" and men are the "bread winners".

          That's a side-effect of the lack of childcare. Seeing as women who have children will have to take time off work at least to give birth, failing to provide childcare is what needs fixing. Otherwise, there are lots of reasons why women generally prefer the non-technical trades.

        3. VinceH Silver badge

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          @A non e-mouse

          You do know what you've done there? Perpetuated the stereotype that women are the "home makers" and men are the "bread winners".

          The article itself does that right after the bit where it suggests positive discrimination:

          " We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better, offer them the flexibility that comes with shouldering the lion’s share of the childcare and housework."

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          I don't think I'd want to work in an office of straight white males.

          I'm tired of *being* a straight white male... Wait, that didn't sound right...

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          > Everyone has something to contribute. I don't think I'd want to work in an office of straight white males.

          That is either distinctly not everyone, or you mean to imply that you would not want to work with people who have something to contribute simply because of their sex, appearance, and attraction. That is insane either way,

          Also, caring about the visible diversity of your co-workers is insulting; they are individuals, not sprinkles who will look better if they are different colours or flavours.

      2. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        Perhaps IT should treat employees decently, the same way as other industries, rather than expecting tired, error-prone and unproductive employees to work a couple of extra hours for free every day? (Work out your hourly rate, and consider that that's how much free money you're handing your CEO for every hour of unpaid overtime you do -- just so he can buy a new Bentley. Why do it?)

      3. Paper

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        "What do all these careers have in common? Excellent opportunities for flexible working and/or holidays during school holidays."

        Don't you feel men should be helping out a bit more around the house and with the kids? Then women wouldn't be forced to choose between career or kids. I'm a man BTW.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      So let me ask again: when these women graduate, with their new STEM credentials, can we in all honesty invite them to work in the tech industry?

      This sounds and is very American oriented.

      I would suggest banning ALL fraternities and sororities to start with. You cannot have a non-sexist culture if you start student higher education by "rushing" them into what is the mother of all sexist indoctrinations (I am pretty sure that this idea alone has gotten me on the no-fly list).

      Elsewhere around the world there are a few remnants mostly in humanities and management related disciplines (f.e. the eponymous "fuck a pig's head" clubs in some British universities). The STEM field however is pretty much indoctrination and typecasting free and that shows - just walk into any Eastern European university CS or Math department. The ladies are at 50%+ and they are pretty ones too (Fnarr... Fnarr..). If you take a short walk to the Biology building you will find "positive action" entrance criteria to even up the ratio so that the males are not sub-20%. And so on.

      1. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        I do agree with you that the US university culture is where this starts. Segregating adults by sex seems an odd way of running "societies", especially when most of these adults have been brought up in a culture that regards sexuality of all kinds as something vaguely sinful.

        When you add the typical autism-spectrum lack of social awareness that runs through the "technology" industry, and then hand these guys a few million dollars of power, it's not surprising that Silicon Valley is a cesspool of misogyny and sexual harassment.

        Of course, part of the unique problem of startups is that the big investors only trust a certain type of person: white, male, under 30 and a monomaniac with zero regard for anyone else but themselves (they'll say "focussed and disruptive", but let's not mince words). Basically, VCs are selecting for dicks, and then acting surprised when the guy they gave money to acts like a complete dick.

        1. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          I'm sure the US fraternity / sorority systems doesn't help, but it's fatuous to suggest that's the only cause; uif it was, there wouldn't be problems for women in tech in countries with sane educational systems. And there are.

        2. disgruntled yank Silver badge

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          First, what proportion of American university students join fraternities or sororities? My impression is that it varies quite a bit: taking some fairly well-known schools, Stanford, Georgia Tech, and UIUC are all around 25%, the University of Washington about 16%, University of California Berkeley under 10%. Harvard is bringing a lot of pressure on its fraternities and sororities now.

          "especially when most of these adults have been brought up in a culture that regards sexuality of all kinds as something vaguely sinful" Really? Has college recruitment fallen off to the extent that they've built a time machine to recruit from the 1950s?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            "especially when most of these adults have been brought up in a culture that regards sexuality of all kinds as something vaguely sinful" Really? Has college recruitment fallen off to the extent that they've built a time machine to recruit from the 1950s?

            No, he's just referring to the USA, which is horribly regressive in terms of sexual attitudes.

            It's the white "christian" men running things, and their attitudes towards sexual equality are stuck in the 18th century,

        3. bombastic bob Silver badge
          IT Angle

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          "Silicon Valley is a cesspool of misogyny and sexual harassment."

          I question the validity of your assumption, especially if your primary information source is more like a Late Night Comedy News show.

          At least one source quoted by the article mentioned that its analysis was "not peer reviewed". So a couple of colleges do a survey, on a limited number of people, most likely with some pre-supposed conclusions in mind, and quite possibly with survey questions written in a way that made such a conclusion easier. AND they came up with "the expected" conclusions.

          2016 was _NOT_ a good year for accurate surveys, was it? (think a couple of elections in UK and in USA that surprised the survey takers).

          And keep in mind, if you define 'sexual harassment' as calling the mailman a "mailman" or referring to a woman as "Miss" instead of "Ms." or "being mean to the girl" in a legitimately deserved performance criticism, yotta yotta yotta... its like defining "racisim" as DISAGREEING with a minority-raced politician, ya know? And at THAT point, when the definition is _SO_ senseless, and the emotional manipulation _SO_ blatant, that people just say "meh" and ignore even LEGITIMATE situations of sexual harassment, because they're SICK of it being "everywhere" according to the definition.

          And if a woman goes into a company with a "misogyny" chip on her shoulder, you _KNOW_ she's a harassment lawsuit risk, so _WHY_ hire her?

          And where's the IT angle here, anyway?

        4. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          I spent a year at a US (ok, Texas) university and I have to say, "juvenile" is how I would describe it.

          I also found it weird how social groups tended to be single-sex, almost as if everyone was fourteen years old. Having said that, I've found Australia to be similar - is it a big country thing or an isolated country thing?

          IT is split into tech and management. The tech side requires extreme focus on details, long hours and pedantry. It basically self-selects for those veering to one end of "the spectrum" and these characteristics are somewhat damaging to relationship-building. The only people who can stick it out are those not interested in relationships. Only those people not interested in relationships can stick being around those people not interested in relationships.

          I couldn't ethically recommend the industry to men, never mind women. In my experience, its women who hold the social fabric together, though I accept that may be from my viewpoint at the end of the spectrum!

          However, I do have to come back on the article author. Smartphones are not about relationships. Bring up a copy of "Scramble with Friends" and then take a look at a on-armed bandit machine. See any similarities? It's about advertising and using gambling techniques to keep people using their phones so they can shove more adverts at them. My wife spends far more time playing scramble with the retired lady across the street from us, than actually talking to her. How many times have you seen families at restaurants all with their phones out, or at least with the kids on devices rather than the family talking all together? Is that a really good pitch for "the soft feminine side" of IT or is it "the soft feminine side" as viewed by a sociopath with an advertising plan?

          IT is really, really rubbish at relationships. At its very best, it works as a telephone for videophone - that's when the computer gets out of the way. As soon as a third party starts injecting content, things go downhill, but that's not all. My family think I'm a broken record and maybe I'm old-fashioned but I think you should interact with those people who made the effort to be in the same physical space as you, rather than typing "LOL" to someone who is probably also ignoring those who are around them. I hate smartphones for that. They should go into a bucket as soon as you step through the door at home.

          Am I the only one who's family is often so wrapped up in "social" media, that they ignore each other?

          1. Pedigree-Pete
            Pint

            "They should go into a bucket as soon as you step through the door at home"

            @P.Lee and especially when you walk through your local pub/bar door. Why did you bother if you're just going to play with your fondleslab/phone? :) PP

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        "This sounds and is very American oriented."

        Silicon Valley is not representative of all workplaces in America. Brogrammer culture isn't typically welcome in what they call fly-over country. The middle section of the country isn't as cool as the ubran hives on the coats, but the cost of living is much lower and people are a hell of a lot nicer.

    3. Esme

      Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      @solarflare - that's an exact mirror image of how it feels to be a woman in most workplaces. So if you don't like the idea of being of men being treated unfairly at work due to their gender, why would you imagine women would like the idea and experience any better? It's easy to be snarky,but much harder to say ro do something constructive.

      Achieving equality is both complex and hard - it isn't a simple case of passing laws, having meetings and corssing our fingers and hoping for the best. And unwontedly confrontational language doesn't help, either. Men in general are neither scum nor the enemy - they're part of the problem, and women are the other part of the problem, because it's men and women that make up society, and it's our society that has for so long treated women much less well than men, in general.

      That's not to say that men don't get a raw deal in some respects too, but the whole point of feminism is to work toward a fairer and more equal society for all, so that everyone can have a chance to try for whatever profession they like and be treated fairly within it, according to their ability at it, and NOT be sidelined or paid less well because they are a particular gender.

      My grandmother was born into a world in which, legally, she was a chattel. Watching Life on Mars was like watching my childhood, I well remember men behaving just like those portrayed in that programme, and it made the world a scary place to be in. Sure, things are somewhat better now, but as has been pointed out, a minority of men still think its acceptable to behave abhorently toward women and too many people (not just men) stand by and let them get away with it without comment. This needs to change. And if we'd achieved equality, then there would be no pay gap between men and women, but there still is.

      We - ALL of us, irrespective of gender - need to work at changing society bit by bit, in our daily lives as much as by conventional politics - to make it clear that all human beings in our society should be treated equally in the workplace, and should not have to live in fear due to their gender, or feel themselves restricted as to what they can do with tehir lives simply because of their gender.

      1. Solarflare

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        @ Esme

        I'm afraid you may have misunderstood something. The difference is that the article paints 'paying women more' as something that *should* be done. Currently there is a rhetoric that women are paid less, one that has been debunked many times and has been shown to be illegal. This article wants us to *legally pay women more than men based upon their gender*. The reasoning behind that is largely irrelevant, it would be discrimination.

        You don't teach people and society to be equal to one another by unfairly discriminating against other parties. Women certainly *should* be paid the exact same amount for a job as a male counterpart, currently that is the law and I fully support it.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            Actual derived data? You mean comparing the median of male and female incomes without accounting for differences in career choice, working hours or willingness to work overtime? Because when you do account for these things, the wage gap essentially disappears.

            By and large, men and women working the same job get paid the same wage.

            You should probably watch this quick summary.

          2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            No, it hasn't.

            Women and men earn the same ( well, pretty much the same, there's a 2% discrepancy, but that's not what people are bleating on about ).

            People who take time out of their careers (ie: women taking a few years out to raise kids) are paid less than people who don't, because they have less experience.

            People who work part time earn less than those who work full time.

            As both of those groups tend in general to be women, so the statistics can be presented to make it look like women are paid less than men, even though it isn't true.

          3. graeme leggett

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            As fullfact summarize it

            "The gender pay gap is 9.4% per hour for full time employees in the UK, or £1.30 per hour. It isn’t true just for part-time work or every individual age group, and the size of the gap varies across different types of job."

            https://fullfact.org/economy/UK_gender_pay_gap/

            1. NinjasFTW

              Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

              And that study doesn't take into account the role.

              It is based on picking 100 random women and men and comparing the average wage.

              It doesn't take into account pretty important factors such as job, experience, education etc.

              Can we at least compare apples with apples please?

              If we are going to pull random stats out of the air we can say that men are 20 times more likely to die at work so maybe they deserve an extra £1.30 an hour

              http://www.healthsafetynews.co.uk/entries/commentary/male-workers-20-times-more-likely-than-females-to-die-at-work-

          4. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            ""One that has been debunked* many times". *For value debunked, substitute attempts have been made to discredit using circular logic and post hoc/faulty causality. Actual derived data supports the opposite. Facts. They're a thing."

            Fine, I'll bite. The 'gender pay gap' (in the UK) is:

            1) negative for part-time work;

            2) negative for under-30s;

            3) positive for over 30s if you look at the so-called undifferentiated wage rate, i.e., not taking into account what the person does, but negligible (around 2-3% IIRC, which is statistically significant, but in light of 2) is likely a legacy issue) when differentiated.

            (1) and 2) above were undifferentiated.)

            Facts. They're a thing.

        2. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          Currently there is a rhetoric that women are paid less, one that has been debunked many times

          coughBOLLOCKScough

          http://www.equalpayportal.co.uk/statistics/

          1. 8Ace

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            Ah the gender pay gap... median hourly rate for women must be equal to that for men, otherwise there is only one logical conclusion .. discrimination, nothing else can possibly explain this !

            Absolute bollocks, see didn't even need the cough.

          2. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            If you take the raw stats, women get paid less than men.

            The reason is because women tend to want to take breaks in their careers to have children. The only solution is obvious - ban women from taking time off work to look after kids.

            As that's not something anybody wants, lets stop pretending that women are paid less than men.

            Actually, pre-career-break women earn more than their male counterparts.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

              If we assume that women are more likely to want a career break - then is it fair that taking a short career break can affect your long term pay and status over your whole lifetime to such an extent?

              So it isn't really good enough to say "well women take career breaks", if we make it so difficult for those who do take a career break (men and women) to get back into the jobs market. It shouldn't be impossible to regain a couple of years lost ground over a 40+ year career.

              If you make something really hard (getting back into professional life) then it is inevitable that people "choose" to do something else (decide not to bother or take a lower paid position with more flexibility).

          3. caffeine addict Silver badge

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            @Tom Paine

            As that page states, ONS figures currently show a wage gap of 9% for full time workers regardless of job, field, or expertise. That doesn't show a wage gap for like for like jobs.

          4. Hans 1 Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

            >coughBOLLOCKScough

            >http://www.equalpayportal.co.uk/statistics/

            I am surprised at the number of misogynists on here, tbh ... 'was commenting yesterday on Mrs! Yahoo! where some brain-dead, because he could name two female CEO's that had failed, made it sound like women cannot run companies.

            Now, when it comes to equal pay (please read to the end before you downvote) ... how often have you been invited (as in, she pays) to dinner by a woman ? St Valentine's, what does she get you and what does she expect FROM you ? When I see St Valentine's ads, I know it's that expensive time of the year again ... with Xmas ... the periods where you really have to ask yourself how much you need to spend for her to feel "special" ... she does not have that problem ... This crap all STEMs from the pay gap, our society needs to evolve and it is, slowly ... paying women more will speed up that evolution and seriously, I cannot wait.

            As for parenting, may I ask, what kind of father does not take a day off work when the young breed is sick ? Yes, the dick-head! Over the course of her life, a woman will have 2 kids, on average, so will get post partum leave twice in her 40 or 50 year career, even in less evolved societies like the states, this only has little effect on her productivity as a whole. In more advanced societies, e.g. Scandinavia, the father gets the same "post partum" leave, so there the difference is moot. Western countries are all slowwwwly following suit, except the US, of course ...

            It is much more pleasant to work with males and females ... over the course of my career, I have met both male and female bastards, far fewer female bastards, simply because there are more males in my work env .... anyway, bastards do not have a specific gender, skin color, origin, religion, whatever ...

            Come on, it is fun, we want more women in our cubicles ...and we want to pay them better ... in the end, your Mrs will also get her share ...

        3. Esme

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          @solarflare -No, I didn't misunderstand the article, I was replying directly to your earlier post. But that said, I've yet to see any serious study of pay that shows women earning the same as men for equal work, here in the UK, for the population as a whole. Yes, there are indivual cases where what SHOULD be happening IS happening - but overall, it's still the case that if you're born female, chances are strongly in favour of it being the case that you'll end up being paid less for whatever you do than if you were male - this even according to government data, and they've a vested interest in trying to show that things are headed the right way (hey, any government that manages to properly square this particular circle will gain a heck of a lot of kudos, and potentially votes, if they succeed!).

          We can agree that deliberate unfair discrimination based on gender is a bad thing under any circumstances, but right here and now it's women that are more commonly discriminated against in a multitude of ways. However - pragmatic equality for ALL is what I want.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          >Women certainly *should* be paid the exact same amount for a job as a male counterpart, currently that is the law and I fully support it.

          Not sure I support it like that. Remove the gender from the statement. A person should be paid the same as another person doing the same role, given the same qualifications, experience, time in role and performance. Should person A get the same pay rise as person B if they are less experienced or worse at their job just because they are a different gender?

          Its far too complex to be just pay men and women the same.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          "women certainly *should* be paid the exact same amount for a job as a male counterpart, currently that is the law and I fully support it."

          There is a big flaw in that argument - people's salaries are often not simply based on the job they do, salaries are generally based on how well their employers thinks they can/will do that job - therefore even within men, salaries vary widely among men 'doing the same job'. Here in lies the problem, where employers tend to sterotype women - assuming they won't perform well or not recognising their contribution and not giving them the same bell curve of salaries as men.

          Statistically, if you take the bell curve of mens salaries for a given job, and superimpose womens salaries onto that, you are likely to find that proportionally far fewer women are in the upper end of that bell curve - the distrbution is still massively skewed for them toward the lower end.

          This is what needs fixing - women need to be paid according to an unbiassed evalation of their ability and performance. Certainly many of the women I have worked with deserved great salaries and promotions having displayed outstanding ability... and of course one or two definitely deserved to be paid lower salaries having failed to perform.

          [disclaimer - the company I work at goes to great lengths to promote equality, and women have a lot of opportunity to make the best of themselves. I recognise that this is sadly lacking in many other companies]

        6. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          > Currently there is a rhetoric that women are paid less

          It is not a "rhetoric", it is quite a thing and those of us who have worked in management positions know it is as easy to verify as it is hard to rectify. :-(

          For a sound-bite, Twitter-era, attention-deficient audience, the following infographic should suffice: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/gender_pay_gap/gpg_eu_factsheet_2015_en.pdf.

      2. Dazed and Confused Silver badge

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        @Esme, I spent most of the 80s working in semiconductor research, there were lots of women scientist and engineers in the labs where I worked, perhaps not half but no shortage at all. Nor were there a shortage of them being promoted to being team leaders, managers and on upwards.

        At the end of the 80s start of the 90s I worked for a large US IT company in technical support. There were no shortages of women engineers working there. Later I worked with the lab teams both in the UK and the US and again, no shortage of women.

        In the last 20 years though I've seen the number of women working in support going down rather than up. In the SW development groups there seem to be more, perhaps still a little less than 20 years back, but not like in the support side.

        I don't know why this is the case, why is it that women are now less inclined to enter the business than they once were.

        All I know is that my wife who was a great Unix support engineer just ceased to be interested in the technology, then chose to leave to raise the family, something she said she had no wish to do when younger. I suspect that a number of her contemporaries made a similar choice. Ultimately it wasn't helped by fact that the flexible working that the company were happy to give just didn't fit with customers expectations which made life difficult.

      3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        That's not to say that men don't get a raw deal in some respects too, but the whole point of feminism is to work toward a fairer and more equal society for all,

        Sorry, it *used* to be the point of it. Somehow the SJWs got control of it, and twisted it to where anyone is OK so long as they're not male, or even worse a straight white male. The whole purpose of the equal-rights movement was to attain equality regardless of gender, orientation, race, etc. I'd like to see that movement come back, not this twisted reverse-racism we see now.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      25 up, 0 down. Wow. What a lot of typical male arseholes there are here.

      Thing is, increasing numbers of employers realise that, apart from reasons of basic decency and ethics, and being a much more pleasant environment, a diverse and woman-friendly workplace is much more productive. There's also the long term issue that the bros ensuring women are chased out of IT by misogyny are artificially manipulating their pay (by reducing the supply of labour - supply and demand, innit.) Employers tend not to like paying 30% more than they need to. So yuk it up while you can, MRA twats, you'll be unemployed or at least on significantly reduced pay in ten to twenty years time. And good riddance to the lot of you.

    5. Paper

      Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      That doesn't sound like equality to me. Why don't we also promote People of Colour, LGBTQ+ persons, older persons, indigenous persons, disabled persons, etc? I'm a gay guy, but even I don't really see the benefit of preferencing oppressed people over the majority. What we want is equal oppertunities and equal access to the same wages and perks that are assumed to our white straight male counterparts. Equal treatement, not special treatment!

      1. Tikimon Silver badge

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        Bless you, kind sir, for a voice of reason!

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      ack, fixing alleged discrimination by discriminating makes as much sense as a "soup sandwich" [but it keeps gummint weenies 'in power' and emotions stirred up enough at election time]

      /me puts the 'Harumph' scene from Blazing Saddles on a loop, to illustrate.

    7. big_D Silver badge

      Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

      There should be no discrimination between male and female works, either positive or negative.

      They are all part of the team and all deserve the same opportunities. It should be down to individual performance and nothing else.

      1. Oengus Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

        A more sexist and discriminatory comment I haven't read anywhere in a long time. Discrimination goes both ways and suggesting that women be promoted disproportionately or paid better because they are women is discrimination. Everyone should be promoted or paid higher because of ability and skills not because of their gender (or sexual orientation but that is another can of worms).

        1. Hans 1 Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

          >Everyone should be promoted or paid higher because of ability and skills not because of their gender (or sexual orientation but that is another can of worms).

          Exactly, and given the current state of affairs, that evaluates to paying women more and promoting them disproportionately, because it has always been the other way around ... you know, sort of ... catch up ...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But lets start with

    Those are the stories you hear about because those are the stories that sell column inches, most people in most companies just go through the malign rigmarole of work. Also because most people that write on the internet seem fascinated by the tech sector I wonder if the "buzz" around "tech companies"* is simply because that's where everyone is staring at the moment?

    *which as we know means all companies - as all companies are IT companies that just happen to do something else, well most companies - except in this case we mean the actual IT software and service providers.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: the stories that sell column inches

      hey, it's not the length that counts...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's always 2 sides to every story

    When it comes to getting insulted over something then there are 2 forces at work: intent and impression. Sometimes people can make a remark which may seem rude or insulting but most definitely isn't meant this way. At one time I was part of a tech support team and we had the silly habit of calling each other out whenever something bad had occurred. There was no meaning to it.... For example: You'd fix a problem with someone's PC, then they'd call again to complain about something else not working. That would sometimes result in internal teasing: "Some idiot forgot to close Mr. Doe's browser, but fortunately I'm here!". Harmless, and most often plain out fun.

    So here's my problem: let's say a woman was added to the team. Would she pick up the "insults" just the way we did (obviously she would be treated just like one of the guys) or would this result in "They're calling me names because I'm a woman". That is sometimes the other side of the medal. There are also women around who expect to be treated differently within these areas only because they're a woman.

    And sometimes things which are quite harmless can be picked up in the wrong way.

    Of course I'm not saying that there's no truth to any of the abusive stories. I mean, just look at that article about the marine where people snap pictures of their female co-workers in secret and then spread those around without consent nor approval. That's just plain out disgusting and an obvious display of harassment.

    1. jemmyww

      Re: There's always 2 sides to every story

      How about you treat all newbies to your team with a certain amount of respect and professionalism and let them join your name game as and when they feel like it, regardless of gender? Perhaps women are more likely to express their emotions more outwardly, but that does not mean a new chap on your team doesn't feel confused and hurt until catching on.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: There's always 2 sides to every story

      I worked at a place a few years back where production/assembly was mostly staffed by women. The sole guy nearly quit in tears after months of what would be considered abuse if it was from a man.

      You get a bunch of women together and they can be just as sexist as men in the workplace.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the "tech" sector only? Or a society that keeps on selling women because it's a good business?

    It's funny we have a society that creates the "bro" mentality, and believes it is bad in some sectors, like "tech", but perfectly fine in others, like sports - where it is utterly glorified.

    While in some other sectors, i.e. the showbiz - women exploitation has been quietly accepted as "part of the business" for decades, if not centuries...

    How it is OK to use women (especially the percentage of their skin exhibited) to increase clicks and revenues, and who cares if that helps a lot to create a society where women are seen as a product, especially a sexual product?

    Or let's legitimize porn, it won't create more and more people who believe women deserve more respect than in the video their brain is full of - after all, every woman is a w***e, correct? Do we really believe raising people in this society will lead to man respectful of women? What are their role models?

    Despite what we believe, and the finger behind which we hide, our whole society, especially men - but also women who take advantage of that, are obsessed with women as a sexual object only. Since childhood, no respect is taught. From that all the other ugly behaviours come from.

    Good the tech sector is now under the lens - mostly because it's where well paid jobs now are - but let's not just look at the speck, and not the beam of wood in an entire society which looks more and more like a huge selfish teenager obsessed with sex.

    And it's women paying the price of that, everywhere.

    1. DropBear Silver badge
      Stop

      Re: Is the "tech" sector only?

      Dear Sir or Madam, Fuck You for insinuating porn in any way shape or form is a Bad Thing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Is the "tech" sector only? Or a society that keeps on selling women...

      >How it is OK to use women (especially the percentage of their skin exhibited) to increase clicks and revenues, and who cares if that helps a lot to create a society where women are seen as a product, especially a sexual product?

      Right then, mandatory burkas for all. How free and liberating and progressive of us!

  6. AMBxx Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    passed over for promotion by men half their age

    Replacing sexism with ageism?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: passed over for promotion by men half their age

      I always wonder if the complaints of sexism come from women who are just not that good at their job...

      If there are more men than women in a job, it makes statistical sense that a man would be selected for promotion....

      A man has no such complaint...

      And a white male has no complaint he can make

      1. Tom Paine Silver badge

        Re: passed over for promotion by men half their age

        I always wonder if the complaints of sexism come from women who are just not that good at their job...

        Let me help you out. The reason that you have this entirely fallacious and delusional idea about the world you live in is that you are what we call "a sexist dickhead". You are part of the problem. Oh look, and you're a racist as well; quelle surprise.

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: passed over for promotion by men half their age

      The statistical point aside, that "passed over for promotion" bit in the article needs revisiting. The important bit is the reason the hypothetical women were passed over for promotion:

      In private you'll hear stories of women passed over for promotion by men half their age, because he went to university with the founders;

      This is not an example of sexism, and nor is it misogyny. It's something like nepotism (but not quite because that's specific to relatives, I believe - there's probably a suitable word, but I don't know it.)

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: passed over for promotion by men half their age

        "something like nepotism (... there's probably a suitable word...)"

        Cronyism.

        1. Mike VandeVelde

          Re: passed over for promotion by men half their age

          "networking", is that a bad thing now?

  7. foxyshadis

    Uber and Oracle

    Two of the most sleaziest and most hated companies in the entire industry, by men and women alike, and they just happen to be your only two examples. There certainly are more out there, but the fact that the tabloid-headline-grabbing excesses of a mere _two_ companies out of the hundreds of thousands of companies that employ IT and software devs points more to shallow thinking and reaction to headlines than a reasoned position.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The facts: 2-1 Bias in STEM jobs. For women.

    http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2015/04/women-preferred-21-over-men-stem-faculty-positions

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: The facts: 2-1 Bias in STEM jobs. For women.

      What has academic tenure got to do with the subject of the article?

      (Hint: "nothing whatsoever".)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The facts: 2-1 Bias in STEM jobs. For women.

      Rather than post a study looking at the tech industry in question you had to choose to post one from academia. There is a reason for that and if you ask why you did I suspect you'll find it isn't flattering for someone claiming to be respectful of people regardless of their gender.

  9. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    There's app for that

    More fucking conscience-washing tokenism from Yanks. Maybe <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtlxIcN_tAM>this</a> would help.

    Equal opportunities and equal pay for equal work are important. Hand-wringing bullshit like this article will do nothing to bring it about and can even be counter-productive because they're so obviously tokenist.

  10. ChrisCabbage

    I have a 14 year-old daughter, who's currently keen to pursue a tech. industry career.

    If that's what she ultimately wants to do, I'm not going to attempt to persuade her otherwise.

    I've worked in the industrial control industry, which tbh - wasn't a great place for women to work (20 years ago at least). It may have improved significantly since.

    A/V platforms and networking, where I am now, has been a lot better - at an engineering level at least. Stories of what goes on at higher levels of management, in terms of "entertainment" would pretty-much exclude the vast majority of women.

    I'm not sure we can tar all aspects of the tech industry with the same brush.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I used to work in an office where there were 22 women, and there was only me and another lad working there. I headed the IT bit, he was my assistant.

    I saw two people go and get replaced by more women. I know that both of those roles had male applicants and they didn't get the job. Not because they were bad for the job, but because they were men. They wanted to keep it "woman heavy" for some reason. I asked why, and I wasn't really given an answer.

    Also, funnily enough, before I left I needed another assistant so I interviewed a few people. All guys, but that's not my fault that's what the recruiters gave to me. One was a middle aged chap from Zimbabwe who I quite liked. I ran my two choices past the CEO (which I had to do), and she took one look at the Zimbabweian's(?) surname and dismissed him. She came out with some bullshit excuse, but it was obvious she didn't want the guy working there because he was black.

    I handed in my notice about 15 minutes later.

    1. chelonautical

      In hiring decisions there is often an unconscious bias towards "people like us" ("us" being the managers responsible for choosing a candidate).

      In areas already dominated by men that's likely to result in new hires being men, which is the focus of this article regarding certain kinds of IT job. However, where women call the shots, it's similarly possible for them to exhibit a bias in favour of female employees. It's likely that hiring bias perpetuates a lack of diversity in a number of industries.

      There is currently a lot of research into this phenomenon in order to understand it better and figure out ways to counteract it. It's fair enough to point out that the bias can cut both ways and, at the same time, it's important to remember that male-dominated jobs tend to be better paid: exclusion of women from male-dominated jobs tends to disadvantage them more than it disadvantages the men excluded from female-dominated jobs. Not saying that hiring bias against men (or indeed anyone) is OK, just that the impact is not necessarily the same.

      For some pay statistics, see here:

      https://visual.ons.gov.uk/find-out-the-gender-pay-gap-for-your-job/

      For example, an average female "IT user support technician" is paid 15.5% less than her male counterparts (women hold 26% of those jobs), whereas a male in a "secretarial & related occupation" is paid 7.5% than his female counterparts (women hold 92% of those jobs). But no prizes for guessing which type of role has higher average hourly pay.

      (I apologise, without knowing the specifics of the assistant role mentioned here, I have assumed it to be a secretarial or related role but feel free to check the link for the specific role the Zimbabwean candidate applied for and let us know the comparison)

      Different types of discrimination also combine to affect people in multiple minority groups worse (where "minority" can mean "minority within the employee population for that job role"). It sounds like the Zimbabwean candidate in this example most likely lost out due to his nationality and gender. Tackling these issues goes to the heart of some very deep-rooted assumptions and unconscious behaviours.

      As a white British man with a degree, I am fortunate to have so many good career choices available to me here in the UK, so I don't find it very concerning that a small number of lower-paid jobs would be willing to overlook me because I am still in a privileged position overall. I'm not trying to brag, just pointing out that I'm somewhat aware of my own privilege and that a similar awareness would benefit some of my colleagues too, especially when considering what we can do to make a positive difference to our job culture.

      To be clear, I would like men and women (all humans, really) to have the same opportunities to work in whichever job they prefer and to be paid according to their skills and ability to do the role.

      Regarding the specifics of the article, I'd like to help make things better for women in IT and would appreciate some advice on how best to do so from within a technical role that doesn't involve hiring people. I've worked alongside a small number of brilliant women and enjoy working with a variety of people to get different ideas and perspectives. I'm not sure how things are going to improve from where we are now but it's a good debate to have and I enjoyed reading this article.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        In hiring decisions there is often an unconscious bias towards "people like us"

        It's the only possible explanation for some managements.

    2. Pedigree-Pete
      Pint

      @ Resigning AC.

      Good for you for resigning. Sexist AND racist CEO at least.. PP

      Have one of these, it's Friday Eve.

  12. horse of a different color

    Oh come on now

    I've worked in tech for over 20 years, and I simply don't recognise the industry being described in this article. We're engineers. What do you think we do all day? Flick each other with wet towels?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    More women in tech - less in sales

    My real world is example is having worked almost 20 years for IT vendors and half of that time in Australia.

    I have no doubt that Oracle and Uber are shit places to work but tge women who have had negative experiences at these employers most likely did not work in or with technology.

    There are of course great technical achievements by women, but my personal experience is that women mostly occupy positions in HR, Marketing Sales, Sales Channel, Sales admin and "Relationship" based roles. The reason is that it is often toob expensive to develop technology in Australia and most intl. tech companies have sales subsideries here. The exception are some companies that have a technology excellence center here, but often that's prestige or a method of dodging tax.

    As a result, the women that DO find a role in Tech Sales often are very aggressive and over compensate in effort to meassure up to their male counterparts. They try so hard to assimilate the macho male behaviour that their female qualities become over looked. By vemale quality I mean a less aggressive and considered approach.

    My experiences have mostly been negative, due to politics, bad mouthing and back stabbing by former female colleages (in IT sales). in my Case these wmen lacked even the most fundamental knowledge of the technology they sold.

    I feel sorry for the women who actually do work in tech because they dont get the recognition they deserve. Not by their male counterparts, but the organisations they work for.

    1. Tom Paine Silver badge

      Re: More women in tech - less in sales

      I have no doubt that Oracle and Uber are shit places to work but tge women who have had negative experiences at these employers most likely did not work in or with technology.

      You must have missed this, then, from a couple of weeks ago, which was the spark for the current flurry of over concern and motherhood-and-apple-pie statements from various PR depts in SV:

      https://www.susanjfowler.com/blog/2017/2/19/reflecting-on-one-very-strange-year-at-uber

      (There were several follow-ups from other women confirming these anecdotes, not just at Uber but other tech firms.)

  14. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Here we go again..... the women tin tech debate ...

    Look, most women dont want to do technical stuff, as long as they find something else useful to do thats fine.

    There 2 ladies in my office right now ,they are in the chain of management above me , they have nowhere near the technical knowledge I have , but they are getting paid more than me. Why would they want to actually *do the work* , for less money?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Why would they want to actually *do the work* , for less money?"

      It's because people that manage something will always get paid more than people that do something.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's because people that manage something

        "It's because people that manage something will always get paid more than people that do something."

        Only in workplaces with good objective measurement systems for determining employee productivity can pay be related to work being done.

        The vast majority of workplaces ensure that those doing the actual work get paid less. It is far better to spent time making sure the management knows who you are, meeting them outside of work, and promoting yourself, than spending time in the trenches and doing actual work.

        Actually managing or doing a good job is a very poor tactic and pointless if not combined with an effective social game . Of course those that spent their time doing that like to think they are getting paid more because they are better managers, better workers, are the ones actually getting equipment repaired and back online sooner than others. Having implemented objective measurement systems into such workplaces the one common surprise was those who were the most productive were almost never the ones getting paid the most.

    2. Tom Paine Silver badge

      There 2 ladies in my office right now ,they are in the chain of management above me , they have nowhere near the technical knowledge I have , but they are getting paid more than me. Why would they want to actually *do the work* , for less money?

      *rolls eyes*

      Are you being deliberately obtuse, or are you genuinely that thick?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Woman live longer on average...

    ... therefore I ask that men retire a few years sooner than women, so that they can enjoy an equal amount of retirement.

    Friends of mine have been working in health care and due to a high rate of women they have been getting laid a lot over the years. I haven't heard many discussions about gender ratios in the health industry.

    Now compare that to Tech and IT ....

    Are there fewer woman in Tech because it has been a sexist industry from day one ? Or are men just more interested in technology?

    Maybe the problem can be solved by dressing female babies in blue and males in pink?

    Do female rubbish truck drivers earn the same as their male counterparts? Why are there so many woman in HR and why are there so few male pole dancers ?

    1. earl grey Silver badge

      Re: Woman live longer on average...

      dressing female babies in blue and males in pink?

      It used to be this way into the mid-50's and large corporations changed it all around. When we had our first daughter and brought her home all wrapped in blue, the elderly ladies in our apartment knew she was a girl with only the face exposed...nothing else visible...

  16. PTW

    Sexism, racism, et al

    It's an industry, with thousands of people who's livelihoods depend on keeping their chosen "-ism" alive and well. Discrimination is discrimination whether it's positive or negative, why the hell should anyone [the company and/or the best candidate] lose out to a box ticking exercise?

    And where is the drive to attract more men to secretarial & nursing jobs, and women to mining or bricklaying jobs?

    None of these "industries" want equality they want preferential treatment, humans are all different, and the most marked difference is between XX and XY, with innate different properties. I see no-one calling for the abolition of sexism in the Olympics only in bathrooms and more comfortable workplaces.

    And I'd also like to call #FakeNews [or more correctly bullshit] on the "rape culture" inference.

  17. Known Hero

    My Experience So far of the youth entering education

    I went to visit a potential secondary school for my son, whilst we walked past the gym a bunch of teenage girls were all dancing about, When I Queried this the kid showing us around explained most girls did dance for their GCSE (WTF moment for me). I cannot see this really being a benefit on their CV for any STEM based job or any job actually whatsoever, well apart from drama or as mentioned above pole dancing.

    I still can't believe its an actual GCSE option .........

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Experience So far of the youth entering education

      I saw a documentary recently where young children got asked about their dream job.

      A lot answered they want to be famous. You have to either do extremely well - or extremely poor - in tech to become famous.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My Experience So far of the youth entering education

      Any teenager should be encouraged to do at least one of Drama, Music, or Dance at GCSE if their school has any serious capability in those areas (i.e. talented teachers and, less importantly, facilities). From my experience with 3 strongly academic kids (lots of A* etc) these subjects benefit them greatly in developing self-confidence, concentration, planning tasks, etc. And of course they all have an academic component.

      And if you're lucky enough to have especially skilled teachers at your local school when your kids are there then you also get to see the results of all their hard work in performances of stunning quality.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We need more women in ...

    Have you noticed how the industries we are told need more women are the high paying "modern" industries?

    When was the last time you heard a call for equal numbers of men/women on the bin lorries or any of the low paid hard/dirty decidedly un-sexy industries?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The portrayal of nerds in the media....

    Has anybody considered how nerds are portrayed in popular media? This starts at an early age and can have long lasting damage on mostly male youths. They're uncool, don't get laid, are boring and have pimples and thick glasses. They're stuck behind books while the females are more interested in the adventerous, lawyer, medical doctor stereotypes which dominate the TV.

    It's only when reality kicks in that you realise that "something with media" and a backpacking holiday won't pay the same as a tech degree or equivalent experience.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

      "Has anybody considered how nerds are portrayed in popular media?"

      Yes, I have. It's bullshit. No way would Howard get with Bernadette AND THERE AIN'T NO WAY Penny would get with Leonard.

      I've tried all of the crap in my youth when it came to getting a girlfriend, being an overweight geek. Joined the school choir, nothing. Wrote music, nothing. Walked a girl I fancied home, nothing.

      TV LIES!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

        Not to mention Fred and Wilma or Barnie and Bettie - pure propaganda by the dino-industrial complex

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

        No way would Howard get with Bernadette AND THERE AIN'T NO WAY Penny would get with Leonard

        Well you might think so, but it's funny how personal relationships work out.

        For myself (hence posting as AC), I'd warn potential dates (yes, I ended up on a dating website) to expect Sheldon's level of interpersonal skills but without the eidetic memory - my memory is really bad. I figure there's no point trying to hide such things, it's either a problem or it isn't and the sooner we find out if it's a problem, the less of each others' time we waste.

        I met someone who seemed able to put up with me, and I have to thank one of her daughters (from her first marriage, she's a widow). She suggested to her mum that she thought I might be autistic, knowing the signs as she works as a carer in that field, and to give it a bit of time. After a slow start, we're now married, and I've been officially diagnosed on the Autistic Spectrum (to the surprise of no-one who knows me).

        If you took a step back, you might think we're as unlikely a couple as Bernadette and Howard, or Penny and Leonard - but it worked out for us.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

        """ Has anybody considered how nerds are portrayed in popular media? This starts at an early age and can have long lasting damage on mostly male youths. They're uncool, don't get laid, are boring and have pimples and thick glasses. They're stuck behind books while the females are more interested in the adventerous, lawyer, medical doctor stereotypes which dominate the TV. """

        Maybe because the stereotype has a grain of truth? I like TBBT because while they embellished nerdy traits for the sake of comedy, I can see myself in the characters (and sympathise with some of the things they go through), all the while laughing.

        I have only had 2 partners in my entire life. As I am now 30, that averages one every 15 years. Some people can pull that many girls on a good weekend break.

        And I wasn't exactly overweight, but wasn't exactly an uber fit gym bunny.

        My problem was that the kind of stuff girls like to do I am not that interested in. They want a guy to take them out, spend money on them, and do "interesting stuff", where "interesting stuff" is whatever their peers convinced their partners to do, or they read in some magazine.

        I can pretend to be like that, put on a show, but it rapidly gets old, and I don't want to pretend to be someone I am not, especially someone I dislike myself.

        The sheer herd mentality annoyed me, and I admit I like being different, while most women seem to want a conformist (despite saying how they are "individual", "unique" and "different", I might add). I say most, because I did manage to find two who were not and where we clicked. One was a techie geek, and the other a lawyer.

        The biggest problem I saw, is that "IT" is just not seen as a desirable career for a man to have. On the dates I went out, quite often women told me that when you say you work in "IT" they think the miserable support guy that comes round to fix their office PC because it has a virus. Indeed many times I have been told it is better to make something up rather than tell people I work with computers. The women really are looking for traders, lawyers, doctors, "Managers", the higher up in the career world, the better. Careers which society has deemed as being "Alpha". IT is seen as a dead end job for those who have failed in life.

        The women explain to me that they want someone who can "provide" as much as possible, especially as they have to take time out of their careers for child rearing. In their mind a guy who earns twice what they do is perfect.

        I admit I could have probably "pulled" far more if I had the interest, and the inclination to lie and generally be devious and try to trick them into bed, but I can't do that. Just not who I am. Another thing about nerds, is that we generally find a lot more interesting in the world than just sex. Some people really see nothing higher than base desires.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

          "The women explain to me that they want someone who can "provide" as much as possible"

          Yes. And there's my biggest peeve with the whole "mortally offended by me allegedly expecting a woman to be 'tied to the kitchen'" feminist bullshit. In short, I don't. No, really. Raising children, looking after the home, whatever - I absolutely don't expect any of that to be "her job" in any sense. But then time and again real life steps in, slaps you in the face and confirms again and again that quite a few who expect man and woman to share workload equally also kinda expect the man to "provide" - perhaps not exclusively, but definitely in an overwhelming proportion (experience NOT based on internet "wisdom" but plain old Mark I. eyeball and years of life). So quaint...

        2. earl grey Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

          "see nothing higher than base desires"

          Name one.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

      "the females are more interested in the adventerous, lawyer, medical doctor stereotypes which dominate the TV."

      Yeah because they are rich. The lawyer and doctor are anyway. Pretty unethical if you ask me.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: The portrayal of nerds in the media....

        women interested in men "because they're rich"

        sounds MISANDRONOUS to me (ha ha ha had to say that)

        but we _ALL_ know it's true, don't we? [I think it's genetically pre-programmed, like many things labeled 'sexist']

  20. EnviableOne Bronze badge

    Experience is the issue

    The problem should solve itself, the people in top jobs now need approximately 20-25 years experience, and if you look 20-25 years back, the dominant culture was what is being said, as these relics shuffle or get shuffled off the workforce, we will see more and more people in power with a more modern attitude and hence better workplaces.

    In regards, to favouring one over the other, I am firmly of the opinion that that is just as wrong as the other way round.

    As such there is now one group that are continually discriminated against that have no representation. They are not Old, young, female, LBTQ+, from a different ethnic group or with a significant other, so they dont have anyone advocating for them, so become a soft target and as such have the highest Suicide rate in the world. SWHMo25u55

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Foxconn

    It says here that Foxconn has a geder ration of 60(male) / 40(female)

    http://europe.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-04/21/content_17454397.htm

    That's pretty good, but I bet most women are more interested in the Marissa Mayer type of roles...

  22. Paul

    Why am I reminded of this: http://metro.co.uk/2017/03/10/man-realises-sexism-exists-in-work-experiment-that-proves-what-woman-already-know-6502193/

  23. a cynic writes...

    Meanwhile in the UK...

    "We need to promote women disproportionately..." Only legal under the Equality Act 2010 if they are equally qualified as the alternative male candidate.

    "...pay them equally or better..." Illegal to pay them differently

    "...offer them the flexibility that comes with shouldering the lion’s share of the childcare and housework." Anyone can ask for that not just women and it can only be refused if there is a clear business reason

    I've got three kids, all adults, all working. Our eldest (male) is an IT teacher, our youngest (male) is an apprentice Admin (working for 'Jared' from the other week's On-Call) and our equally capable daughter works in sales. Whilst she uses technology she doesn't find it interesting in itself. Not unusual - our eldest says in his GCSE computing classes they only have two girls.

    Were things different would I recommend a career in tech for her too? In the UK - yes definitely. In the US - probably not.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile in the UK...

      "Were things different would I recommend a career in tech for her too? In the UK"

      Why? You say she doesn't find it interesting in itself. Far better to work in a field you do find interesting.

      1. a cynic writes...

        Re: Meanwhile in the UK...

        er...yes, exactly.

        Sorry, I obviously wasn't clear. What I meant was "If things were different and she was interested in tech then would I..."

  24. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Windows

    Why am I getting SJW messages from El Reg now?

    It's always something that needs to be fixed and reactionary, anti-progressive dinosaurs need to be told.

    No wait, "we" need to tell them. Who is "we"?

    Tell you what: The place were women are treated worst are large, dead-enterprise walking outfits. Spot the unionized balding fatty or the flashy sportscar guy with the crazy vision twinkling in his eye. Avoid those places.

    Now for the tech news.

    1. Geoffrey W Silver badge

      Re: Why am I getting SJW messages from El Reg now?

      I think its natures way of balancing all the RWM* messages we get in the comments.

      * Reactionary White Male

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You have this all arse about tit.

    Ask a 3 year old and 6 year old girl whether the following is a man or a woman.

    Astronaut

    Scientist

    The 3 year old will say woman, the 6 year old will say man.

    That is the problem and no amount of articles highlighting the issues is ever going to change it. Until we stop raising children with these beliefs the outcome will always be the same. Personally I am trying to change perceptions however it is very difficult with the way the media is.

    Everyone should be treated equally without any counter balance for the people that don't because that just causes more problems and resentment.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can't recommend Tech...

    * To anyone male or female. Look at how employers from IBM to Yahoo treat their staff. Look at the plumber like wages, the horrendous hours, the negative job security.

    * Tech, where if you Slurp + Ad-Sling you get to be more valuable than any other corporation that's ever existed. This applies even if you make nothing and even admit it on your IPO like Snap etc!

    * Tech, where governments claim they can't get the staff, yet chase contractors out of the business with extreme prejudice for petty taxes that amount to nothing.

    * Tech, where corporations claim they can't find qualified staff in order to perpetuate the lie that lets them bring in cheap labor from India etc, all to artificially depress wages at home.

    * Tech, where wealth concentration is in the 1% of the 1%, but founders still get to keep 99% of the power by hijacking voting rights.

    * Tech, where the connected few dictate laws they want or don't want to politicians / legislators, with more favouritism than Big-Oil and Big-Banking combined.

  27. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    This isn't the problem you're looking for

    The gender split in any particular area of employment is not of itself a problem, whether it's women in tech or men in education or nursing.

    Equal opportunity and equal pay are far more important and to achieve both the most important thing is to improve childcare: women who have to take a lot of time off work to have and raise children will always be at a disadvantage in the workforce, others will go without children for a better career. Guess what, both choices will perpetuate the status quo. Improve childcare so that pregnancy and children become less of an issue and labour participation rates for women improve everywhere, as Scandinavia demonstrates. But leave it up to the girls and boys to choose for themselves what they want to study and do.

    And while you're at it: look at fixing education for under-achieving boys so that have more employment choices than being janitors or security guards. The disaffected male masses of the developed world didn't come out of nowhere.

    1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: This isn't the problem you're looking for

      "The disaffected male masses of the developed world didn't come out of nowhere."

      No they came from a privaledged, too comfy upbringing (even if that was on benefits) , not having to fight and/or work for everything the have , like in the "developing" world.

      Lack of work ethic! probly on the part of the parents

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having your cake and eat it...

      "women who have to take a lot of time off work to have and raise children will always be at a disadvantage in the workforce"

      And sometimes you need to make sacrifices to have the things you want. You want children? No problem. You want a career? That's fine too.

      But if you want a career and have children, then something has to give. I don't think palming off your children to some child minder during their formative years just so you can keep your career on track is the answer.

      And why should those of us (both male and female) who choose to persue a career and "go without children" pay extra in taxation so that someone can have free childcare? And before you start calling me sexist or misogynist, I know many women who hold the same views.

      1. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Having your cake and eat it...

        And why should those of us (both male and female) who choose to persue a career and "go without children" pay extra in taxation so that someone can have free childcare?

        I suspect a strictly utilitarian argument would be most to your taste: because optimising the economic activity of your 'free loading' colleagues and their children will likely benefit you in the short term and pay your pension in the long term

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Having your cake and eat it...

          I suspect a strictly utilitarian argument would be most to your taste: because optimising the economic activity of your 'free loading' colleagues and their children will likely benefit you in the short term and pay your pension in the long term

          A completely false and spurious argument.

          It doesn't benefit those without children and who pay extra taxes to pay for someone else's free childcare in the short term. And in the long term, my pension is funded by my contributions (and my employer's) to my pension fund. As for state benefit/pension, that's funded by those paying taxes at the time I'm claiming that pension (which is a growing problem, as we are aproaching the situation where there are more retired and receiving state benefit than those currently working and paying Tax/NI).

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This isn't the problem you're looking for

      Equal opportunity should mean equal. Bringing in special benefits, like "child" benefits, removes equal.

      When it comes to benefits there is no need for sexism, there is no need for "child" benefits. The workplace should not be so involved in their employees personal lives. Every work place should have systems in place that enable employees to take extended leaves, without having to appeal to the bosses idea's of what is an acceptable reason and what is not. The terms pregnancy or child need never appear in company policies to have a workplace in which all "family" members can thrive as individuals regardless of their home situation, or if they even have a home.

      A respectful workplace does not make value judgments about why people are using their own benefits.

  28. Paper
    Mushroom

    Unhelpfully inflammatory article with a good point

    Articles like this don't help women at all, because to your average white guy they come over as blame mongering, angry and unfair. What humanity needs more of is stories of experiences from women themselves. We are a story telling being, yet we seem to have just stopped telling/listening.

    The last team I worked for was all white "brogrammers", apart from: ME the gay guy, a chinese guy and a muslim. The chinese guy got slack from my boss, because he seemed lazy, and eventually he quit. Suddenly, after years of nothing but goodness, I found myself the target of most of my boss' frustrations. No matter how hard I tried, whatever I did to improve, how ever many meetings I had with him - he always found negative exception with my work. Spent a couple of years getting depressed, no longer fitting into the culture that had crept in, and questioning my ability. Eventually I "checked out", became that lazy guy in the team, and then I, too, quit. Last I heard from the muslim guy, he's not enjoying it too much anymore.

    I don't think my ex-boss is a bad human or has any bad intent. But when you're entire team is made up of ONLY a particular type of person, you see no other types (no women either), all the misfits seem to be quitting one-by-one, and then the other dev team that is completely mixed - you begin to think "Hang on a minute, I see a pattern here!"

    All us "non-brogrammer" folk are asking is to be let in. It's not the first time someone in the tech world has found out I'm gay and given me an awkward reaction, and then I can "sense" I've been sidelined forever. I KNOW people don't deliberately do it, we all feel most comfortable with our own ilk - even women, even black people, even gays. What seems like a comfort to one person is career ruining when it's endemic. Please, I beg you, just open your hearts to different kinds of people if you realise you haven't already. ^_^

  29. Daedalus Silver badge

    Oh goody!!

    We can look forward to much parsing of what we say for "micro-aggresions". Maybe even some unauthorized videos of comments said in semi-private, broadcast across social media because the "person" taking the video found a word or two objectionable.

    Couldn't ever happen, of course. Except that it already did.

    1. Paper
      Joke

      Re: Oh goody!!

      I'M TRIGGERED!!! *spasms on the floor*

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Oh goody!!

      "We can look forward to much parsing of what we say for "micro-aggresions".

      wait... there's a term for that... lemme think... it's on the tip of my tongue... almost there... GOT IT!

      "Political Correctness" <-- who knew?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And hey, perhaps another thing we could do is NOT use adjectives like "steamy", "racy" and "raunchy" to describe the systematic sexual harrassment of qualified female technicians working in a male-dominated industry:

    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/03/10/congress_hearings_into_marine_corps_nude_photos/

    The Register deliberately tries to adopt a "cheeky" tone that, like the tabloids it was inspired by, is obviously sexist and exclusionary. Changing that is gonna take deeper reforms than just publishing an aspirational "wouldn't it be nice if we weren't all dicks" humble-bragging puff-piece the first day you get around to it after IWD.

  31. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  32. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "for the next twenty years, men must be on their best behaviour"

    And what might that be?

    For some the routine politeness with which I was brought up to regard as normal seems to be regarded as an insult. There seems to be a mindset that doesn't so much take offence as actively seek it out.

    1. WatAWorld

      "for the next twenty years, men must be on their best behaviour"

      Young me will do what young men are doing: Staying away from university in droves.

      Those IT companies had darn well better attract female STEM graduates because STEM's male prospects have given up before they've started.

      Affirmative action, whether against Jews in the 1930s, or against white men now, pushes people away, makes them leave. And then you're left having to depend on your Aryans or later day Aryans.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Small correction

    People treasure narcissism, one-upmanship, and a constant stream of puerile stimulation to hide the barren emptiness within. Our smartphone-centered culture is proof of that.

    1. Michael 34

      Re: Small correction

      "Our smartphone-centered culture is proof of that."

      There is no OUR. I do not have a smartphone; just a reliable flip-phone that can go four days on a charge.

  34. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    if any of you guys bump into a natural sciences graduate in the near future it might be my daughter. happy to punch any offensive bros in the face if they give her a hard time.

    1. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Well, I'm an equal opportunity guy. So should she try that with me, do you think I should press charges for assault, or flatten her?

    2. Michael 34

      Hard time

      "they give her a hard time."

      Did you mean difficult and obnoxious, or merely tumescent? :-)

  35. JLV Silver badge

    Yeah, hum...

    Let me preface this by apologizing to any ladies that I am not dismissing workplace challenges per se.

    And that I welcome the presence of women colleagues and would prefer not to work in an all-boys industry. I hope Uber gets screwed royally. I don't feel my masculinity threatened by having more women around.

    But I won't hair shirt over it.

    I have worked in IT for close to 25 years. In that time, I am sure, many women colleagues have been passed over for promotion. Perhaps solely because of their gender. But also because... the workplace is not an inherently _fair_ context. Promotions will be based, at least partially, on who bonds with whom. Long work hours may not be very productive, but that's a company's choice. Including in foregoing contributions by smarter (women?) programmers that choose elsewhere.

    There have been attempts at making it more "fair". Some well thought out, but things like public sector union promotion grids are not what I'd welcome in my field.

    I have never engaged in sexual harassment, nor witnessed clear examples of it. Locker-room talk between guys? To be honest, very little. The closest is reminding one or two colleagues (and a drunken CEO friend of mine on one occasions), that strip clubs are not the brightest of after-work bonding locations.

    Generally speaking, my male peers and I have treated women with the respect due to their professional competence. When it was high, we acknowledged it. When it was low, we didn't give them a break because of their gender, mea maxima culpa. On balance, I would say their competence has been equal or even _slightly_ better (less challenging to work in a field where most of your peers are your gender or ethnic group).

    Uber and the like are toxic cesspits. But guess what? There are many unfair practices. Read about the (age related?) misadventures of Dan Lyons @ Hubspot in Disrupted.

    I really wish articles dealing with women's challenges in IT would be less strident and more balanced than this one. The subject deserves better. Kieren, for example, has written way more insightful articles about minority challenges at Facebook which triggered better debate.

    Look at the upvotes for @ Solarflare quip about ovaries, which I neither up or downvoted, but do agree with, and you can see how successful this article has been at engaging with IT males. The old adage about flies and vinegar comes to mind.

    We need to give women the same opportunities as men, end of. Yes, definite room for improvement. But, not screaming alarmism like "is it ethical to recommend women to follow STEM courses?". Of course it is, having a solid technical education opens way more career choices than softer/easier subjects, even should you pursue another field.

    Doh!

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  36. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Pint

    After reading the article ...

    ... I immediately feared that the comment section would be a bit of a clusterfuck. Can't say I was completely wrong about it.

    Here is my little though for those panicking about "wimmins taking our jobs!!!": companies hiring not-really-stellar employees for any unsound reasons will take a financial hit for doing it. This goes both ways, I have seen "boys clubs" who'd grossly discriminate against women go down and companies where a "just women, no exceptions" policy caused massive problems.

    Thanks to those who put some thought in, upvotes for every one of those, even where I disagree. No downvotes from me (though I WAS tempted!).

    1. Michael 34

      Re: After reading the article ...

      "companies hiring not-really-stellar employees for any unsound reasons will take a financial hit for doing it."

      Unless your company is a government contractor (or *is* the government).

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    math is hard

    Been in IT for many years. Have literally met about 5 women worth their salt in IT in all those years. Guess I'm part of the problem, but I like my staff to know WTF they are doing since they all have domain admin rights.

    1. Shugyosha

      Re: math is hard

      All your staff have domain admin rights?

      https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc700835.aspx#XSLTsection127121120120

      Maybe the reason you've not encountered many good female IT professionals is the good ones probably don't want to work for an amateur cowboy.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: math is hard

        LOL, @Shugyosha. Yeah, you're probably right. Only 27 years in IT so I probably don't know my R's from a hole in the ground.

        But, seriously, when I say my staff, I mean my IT staff, obviously not all employees (which we have over 500 of). My team is all seasoned "bros" who don't need me to hold their hands when I tell them to build an IPSEC tunnel or rebuild an AD server. I've known a few good ladies in IT (mostly software specialists who learn an application inside and out) but aside from one director at a local Hospital (that woman is awesome) most of their eyes roll back in their head when I start talking about network protocols or FSMO roles. Again, I'm not saying these things are beyond a woman's brain (I don't believe that for a minute) but 99% of the women in IT I've met have no interest in the real guys of how networking and routing works, they just want to support a "thing" (beit software or hardware) that they can completely grasp. I personally think it's the way our brains are wired differntly (the same can be said of car mechanics or several other fields).

        I just think it's dangerous to try to artificially inject any group of people who aren't inclined for a specific task or job into a position simply to make everyone feel better about "equality". If you're qualified, you get the job, not because of your genitalia or skin tone, but because you're good at what you do. I've just simply observed less qualified women in hardcore networking jobs than other professions, and this article makes it sound like that is because we're misogynists, which I don't believe is the case. I've got 37 resumes on my desk right now and there's about 7 women in that pile. The position is for a network analyst but not one single female with networking experience has applied (they all have clerical or software support experience). Now, do I take 7 hours of my week to interview them just to appear like I'm not part of the "good ole boys club" or do I sit them aside as non-qualified (which also includes about 20 other resumes, from men) and keep looking for a qualified candidate? Some of you would probably say I should hire one just for diversity in my office, however, I still have the need for a qualified staffer who won't blow up my network due to inexperience or require constant handholding/training for the first year to learn how to get the job done.

        Anyways, maybe the right prick will come along. LOL.

    2. MrXavia

      Re: math is hard

      How many women have you met working in IT?

      Without a sample size, we can't judge if that is a low or high ratio...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: math is hard

      You must be REALLY good at maths. I'm sure the inclusion of anecdotal evidence does wonders for your statistical samples. Wow. I'm staggered by your dickish genius & brilliance. I'll stick to the 'backward' method of empirical data input, thanks.

  38. L05ER

    No more heroes...

    How can we ever have heroes and role models who break the status quo if we actively eliminate the status quo...

    Would Jackie Robinson be remembered at all if this bullshit approach existed back then?

    Things are what they are, because of what they are. People need to be brave a swallow shit to change things...

    That doesn't mean I think sexual harassment is okay... Just that overheard dongle jokes are not sufficient reason for anyone to get their knickers in a twist.

  39. earl grey Silver badge
    Pint

    Well, you sure got the jackasses upset.

    Have a beer and celebrate.

  40. Boohoo4u

    So, what's the practical suggestion for the ladies?

    After you're hired, talk to HR and under confidentiality leak that you are a lesbian. If a few days the entire company will know, and the guys will put you in the just friends "bucket".

    If the lady ends up finding a guy that works at the company...the lady will "discover" that she's by-sexual, and no one will blame her.

    As for equal pay, the only thing that would work is job hunting. If a ceiling is reached at one job, job hunt for another.

    In my experience, people get hired because of their skills. No one asks HR to go hire a male Java programmer...just to get the best qualified. They may face career headwinds after the fact, but not at hiring.

  41. Steven Guenther

    "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..."

    "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better..." so, when you do run across a woman in a high position, you know she is just there because of her ovaries.

    It has worked for the blacks, everyone respects them for the achievements and not the affirmative action rules.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Steven Guenther

      "when you do run across a woman in a high position, you know she is just there because of her ovaries."

      Or when you do run across a woman in a high position, you know she is there despite not having a dick, and without people with dicks keeping her down the ladder.

      C.

  42. Another female

    Can you ethically suggest a woman pursue a career in tech?

    Would this author also suggest that we take all the women out of the military and the space program, and running for US president, and every other male dominated field??

    He's missing the point - most people prefer diversity in the workplace, it's good for business. First come the diverse role models - the few women or people of color in white male dominated professions. We need to encourage the brave ones to pave the way. Here's why:

    “By correlating diversity in leadership with market outcomes as reported by respondents, we learned that companies with 2-D diversity out-innovate and out-perform others.”

    In a recent Glassdoor survey, two-thirds of the people polled said that diversity was important to them when evaluating companies and job offers.

    https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/240550

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Another female

      Mark (and El Reg) want more women in IT/tech. The problem is, there's no point recommending it as a career if they're going to run into toxic workplaces.

      C.

      1. Shugyosha

        Re: Another female

        If El Reg wants more women in tech, don't you think it's time to drop the Finbarr Saunders headlines and articles? I've been visiting for around 15 years and while I admit I used to find it funny, these days it seems like a relic from another era. While I like Alastair Dabbs articles for example, I cringe every time I see one of his 'Ivor Biggun' type jokes - which is on average every three sentences - and he's far from the only culprit.

        In these more enlightened times, it's just more sad and pitiful than funny. Like seeing Jim Davidson on TV.

      2. Tachikoma

        Re: Another female

        The problem is, there's no point recommending it as a career if they're going to run into toxic workplaces.

        I feel the opposite is true, you are assuming women aren't able to stand up for themselves and challenge bad behavior. We should be telling young women to go out there and make a difference, not sit by the wayside until it is handed to them on a plate. My daughter is 3 years old, but I will be damned if I'm going to raise a delicate snowflake, I'm going to teach her to stand up for herself and fight for what she wants.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Another female

        "The problem is, there's no point recommending it as a career if they're going to run into toxic workplaces."

        Catch 22. And that may never change unless there are more women in these so called "toxic workplaces".

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There is no WE

    "we’ve watched parents..."

    "we also know that when these women graduate..."

    "we’ve lanced the boil."

    "can we in all honesty invite them to work in the tech industry?"

    "We need a root-and-branch revision"

    "we have to call it out."

    "We need to make it impossible"

    "We need to promote women disproportionately"

    "And we need to do all of this today."

    "also the least we can do."

    "Can we be better? Do we even know where to begin?"

    THERE IS NO WE.

    Who is the author to say what is "better" and whether "we" can or ought to be "better"? Why do "we" need to do this today?

    What is a "woman" anyway? You or I can be a man today, woman tomorrow and a man again the day after and nobody can legally say otherwise.

  44. WatAWorld

    If Seagates drives didn't fail so frequently they might have been able to hang on

    I'm in Winnipeg, Canada, a city of 800,000. I've worked in IT in Winnipeg and in Toronto.

    - When asked, I do not recommend young people go into IT unless they really want to.

    - Don't go into it for the money, mostly the money is only okay.

    - If they do really want to, I suggest they go in via an accounting, business administration, or engineering degree, not a computer science degree.

    - If they want to do games development, I recommend that they do engineering and develop a strong hobby in illustration and painting.

    If they are male I give them further cautions:

    - In Canada IT doesn't pay so well. Of the top 10 professions you can do with a 4 year degree, IT is at best #10. Some years it is not even in the top 10.

    - You should expect to have to leave Winnipeg, and pursue your career in either Toronto or the USA.

    - Jobs are no longer automatic anywhere, not even in the big cities.

    - Most companies at least partially treat their employees as if they were self-employed, relying at least partially on the programmer to stay up-to-date on his or her own time, although usually reimbursing the tuition fees for courses.

    - Expect to be laid-off when the products you know lose popularity.

    - Expect to spend many months between jobs while you try to do re-training on your own.

    - Expect to remain a bottom rung worker.

    - CIOs usually come from sales, sometimes accounting,never programming.

    - In Canada there is heavy affirmative action, so advancement opportunities are limited for white and Asian males.

    - The companies I've worked for and consulted into, about 2/3 the department will be male, with about 75% of programmers being male, and about 75% of project leaders being female.

    - Being Asian (Chinese or East Asian) doesn't help, companies here are generally up to quota in male Asians.

    - Being black or aboriginal Canadian or disabled does (I'm disabled) does definitely help, as does being female.

    - There are a lot of female CIOs in Canada, and also female CEOs of IT companies, way out of proportion to the number of females in IT. They often worked there way up in IT, but some are from accounting or sales.

    - The male CIOs you find are inevitably from outside of IT, usually sales, sometimes accounting.

    So in Canada, IT is definitely a worse career for white and Asian males than it is for the disabled, blacks, aboriginal Canadians, and females. It isn't even close.

    The day I went back to work disabled was the first time in 30 years anyone talked to me about promotion to project leader.

    I'm disabled and spend a couple of days every month in hospital. I've got to say that most nurses are happier than any programmers I've ever met. And in Canada RNs make way more money than programmers.

    I kind of regret not going into nursing instead.

    Anyway, don't waste your life like I did. Do your research. Go into a real profession not IT.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: If Seagates drives didn't fail so frequently they might have been able to hang on

      Sorry about the title, my computer changed it as it posted.

  45. WatAWorld

    I don't know what company Mark Pesce works for, but he should quit.

    I don't know what company Mark Pesce works for, but he should quit.

    What he is talking about, I've worked as an employee and contractor for just over 30 companies.

    And NONE of those companies is on the same planet as Mark Pesce. I'm an extroverted guy, I like to get in on scuttlebutt, and I've never heard anything like what he is talking about.

    Mark, quit where you are an immigrate back to earth.

    Or do some real research before you write your stories.

    Are the people harassing the Uber IT person really other IT people? Or are they liberal arts grads twittering from underneath some rock somewhere? Maybe they are what you call in the UK NEETs. Maybe they aren't even male. After all, on the internet nobody knows if you're a dog, or a provocateur.

    Anyway, Mark is probably not talking about Canadian IT shops, and if he is he is spouting false news.

    Oh wait, it is an Op-Ed piece, it doesn't have to be factual. Right.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: I don't know what company Mark Pesce works for, but he should quit.

      "What he is talking about, I've worked as an employee and contractor for just over 30 companies. And NONE of those companies is on the same planet as Mark Pesce. I'm an extroverted guy, I like to get in on scuttlebutt, and I've never heard anything like what he is talking about."

      I've never had cancer so why are we spending millions and millions tackling it?

      C.

  46. Captain DaFt

    Per the title

    "Can you ethically suggest a woman pursue a career in tech?"

    Given today's corporate attitudes toward tech workers, can you ethically suggest anyone of any gender pursue a career in tech?

    Better off pursuing careers in plumbing, electrics, maintenance, or even <GAG> management these days.

    1. Solarflare

      Re: Per the title

      I actually gagged at the management part, almost lost my tea.

  47. WatAWorld

    Isn't it bigotry and prejudice to see some people in an ethnic group do something,

    Isn't it bigotry and prejudice to see some people in an ethnic group do something, or some gangs in an ethnic group, and then to assume (extrapolate) that all members of that ethnic group do that same something?

    And isn't that true when somebody does the same thing with manual labourers? With women? With black people? And with programmers?

    The only locker room talk I've ever hear or read in IT is here in The Reg by Reg writers. We aren't all like you guys.

    Almost none of us here in Canada are like you guys. We're a humourless very cautious and considerate bunch here. Our jokes are about the weather and programming languages. If someone complains about a person, it is the person they're complaining about, not one of that person's groupings.

    And if you bully a woman, if it ever happened, and if she ever quit, you'd have all your buddies hating you for chasing away the woman.

    It is bigotry to suggest that all IT shops are like Uber. It is pure ignorance to suggest that programmers have anything more in common with rude 12 y/o gamers than do accountants, social workers and liberal arts students.

    I'm tired of us in our industry being victimized and generalized over by the media because we're weak, unorganized and don't fight back.

    We're a largely soft-spoken introverted group with all the defenses of a bunch of 4 year-olds and we're easy for the eloquent classes to target and bully.

    And we'll never ask for an apology.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Non technical jobs in the Tech Industry

    From my personal experience women become attracted to the tech industry because of pay but not the technology itself. The women ( sales / admin ) I've worked with would very quickly and proudly proclaim to be non-technical because they see it as a career inhibitor rather than an enabler.

    These women could easily pursue a career outside Tech and sell other widgets, but they actually liked working with a majority of male peers and their comissions.

    I'd like to see more women work with technology rather than "in" technology. I'd like to see more women starting up tech companies and then they can hire their female friends, too. But quite frankly they would hire whoever is best suited for the job.

    In tech companies it is not just women that get overlooked for promotions. I've seen plenty of males "manage out" other males because they wanted to hire their friends from previous employers.

    I could ethically recommend women to work in Tech if they are willing to learn about Tech. If women chose to join the Tech industry to do high paid admin roles they'll have to accept that it is a male dominated industry. Most salaries are negotiable and recruitment decisions are rarely based on a desired pay grade.

    If we want to make a change we have to start at the top. In twenty years in IT I've never heard a male peer brag about pussy grabbing, but I did hear "locker room talk" of female peers.

  49. martinusher Silver badge

    Nothing to see here, folks

    My wife's a now retired teacher, she's taught Physics in both the UK and the US. Throughout her career she's been involved directly and indirectly in efforts to get more girls interested in what's now called STEM. Its been an uphill struggle. Its not that girls can't do this work, of course they can, its just that they've got other things that interest them so only a relatively few make it their career (our daughter, for example) and even then they often get lured into frontline sales and marketing jobs.

    As for the 'bro culture', I've been working in engineering, a lot of it bleeding edge startup stuff, for most of my working life and I've never come across it. I've worked with many women, young and old, and there's never been any question of them being anything other than a colleague. I have heard rumblings from my daughter but its typical older, overseas, management (or Texans.....) where there are issues because it wasn't usual to find a 20-something female as a plant manager (she was occasionally assumed to be the boss's secretary by outside vendors, a role she'd play along for fun). What she has found is that most of the young ladies recruited at the same time as her dropped out not because of discrimination but basically because they couldn't hack it -- you need a certain mindset to get up before dawn to drive a truck to a wellhead. (Daughter also has a commercial pilot's certificate and has worked as a flight instructor so is used to working with both machinery and men...its a knack.) From her tales I'd guess that the problem with the bro culture is just that the job is harder and less rewarding than it appears on paper -- the girls would rather be 'user experience specialists' than have to deal with the grunt work of actually making the UI function.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sexism

    I don't know if this discussion is going to do much to answer the question of sexism, but at least I know why most people in tech are virgins.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody in their right mind would choose IT as a career

    - Constantly over-worked and under-rewarded, with long and unsociable hours being the expected norm

    - Very smart people being paid relative peanuts for their IQ and skills compared to other roles that require these smarts

    - At constant threat of being outsourced to cheap offshore incompetant handle-turners

    IT as a career for women? I wouldn't recommended choosing IT for anyone.

    Take the STEM degree and do something else instead. An IT job is a role that is a race to the bottom for cost, with zero respect for the work or those employed in it, and a guaranteed uncertain future.

    1. Lotaresco

      Re: Nobody in their right mind would choose IT as a career

      "Take the STEM degree and do something else instead."

      I was a scientist for the first twelve years of my career. If you want a thankless, underpaid job that's it right there. I moved to IT because it was way better paid and more rewarding. I get 10x the pay that I used to as a scientist and I don't regret the move.

  52. PyLETS
    Mushroom

    I'm encouraging women in tech

    And I'm doing this by helping them get university degrees in engineering subjects because that's what I do, and equally for all my students. I'm glad I've got the most diverse bunch of students you could imagine and I want all of them to do well. The idea that not encouraging any categorisation of students with ability to do well in the subjects I teach would be ethical because they might be mistreated in some workplaces is beneath contempt. What needs sorting isn't my encouragement to all my students. It's the kind of workplace where any group with ability are made to feel unwelcome, and management attitudes in such places which need to be made to experience the full and heavy hand of the law.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Posting anonymously so that no one links me to my company.

    My team manager is a woman. She purposefully does not hire other women if she has other options because she thinks they're harder to manage, cause team drama and aren't as good in general.

    She's literally told us that women "feel" too much, instead of thinking and acting logically.

    Downvote all you want, I guess.

    The real issue is that women and men really do have inherent differences in ability and interest, both physically and mentally. But for some reason this is not acknowledged. Quite honestly, we shouldn't have to encourage someone to go into a field; they should want to go into it themselves.

    The culture is "male" because most qualified professionals in that field are male.

    The idea that men "refuse to believe" that women can be more intelligent than them is a complete joke and an unfounded assumption. Clearly the author of this article watches too many movies that take place in the 80's. Even my CEO is a woman.

    1. Martin
      Thumb Down

      The real issue is that women and men really do have inherent differences in ability and interest, both physically and mentally.

      May I recommend to you The Myth of Mars and Venus by Deborah Cameron which actually examines these so-called inherent differences, and discovers - surprise, surprise - that they don't really exist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        rofl

        LOL, rofl, roflmao, omg stop, lol, lol, oh my gut, ouch, lol, rofl, haha, hehe, chuckle....

        @Martin have you been outside? Look around at 99% of women and 99% of men and please claim there are not physical differences between the sexes... I would love to see you do that with a serious face.

        There are anomalies, of course. We see the occasional freakishly muscular body building woman (many or whom take steroids to become that way) but the difference in the male and female body (one inclined to physical labor and one is not) is the product genetics not mindset. You gonna tell me there's no difference between a 400lbs silverback gorilla and it's 175lbs female mate too?

        No, Martin, there are distinct differences that no amount of wishing is going to change.

        But by all means, show me an all women firehouse and I'll be the first to burn my house down (just to see them all muscular and glistening with water droplets)... um, gotta go to the restroom now...

        LOL.

        1. Martin
          WTF?

          Re: rofl

          Oh, ffs.

          I am not talking about the standard obvious physical differences. Yes - that was sloppy of me - I should have made that clear. I rather thought we were not talking about obvious differences, and I rather thought we were talking about STEM careers. Yes, I admit it - generally, women are not as strong as men, physically - but that makes very little difference to how well they can do IT.

          But the so-called mental differences (Women are better at multitasking - men are better at concentrating on a specific task - women can't drive as well as men - men are better at spatial tasks - men are more logical - women are more empathetic etc etc etc) are pretty trivial, and are almost exclusively due to upbringing and inherent assumptions (by both men and women).

          Look, just read the book. It's well worth it.

        2. Paper
          FAIL

          Re: rofl

          @Coward: Have you been to an office full of geek men? 80% of guys probably have a beer belly, virtually no muscle tone, moobs. They're emotional wrecks if you criticise them too harshly. Kinda like the stereotypical woman I'm sure you're thinking of. ;)

        3. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: rofl

          So women will be better coding as the men will be breaking the keyboards.

  54. sisk Silver badge

    Men must be on their best behavior. A big ask?

    I don't think it's so much to ask that we behave like decent human beings towards women.

    Then again my boss and 4/5 of my co-workers in the IT department are women, so maybe I've got a unique view of this issue.

  55. TheJokker

    So... How it is not sexist to suggest that a business with a male-oriented culture is sexist but a business with a female-oriented culture is not?

    This is just more "men are always wrong and women are always right" feminist sexism...

  56. Lotaresco

    No it's not unethical

    Women deserve the right to work in the industry of their choice. Tech jobs are engaging, interesting and many women work happily in tech industries, they should not be discouraged.

  57. Lotaresco

    I miss F-International

    Before being absorbed into another organisation F-International stood the tech world on its head by having a ratio of 300 women to 3 men. Set up by the brilliant Stephanie "Steve" Shirley FI proved that a woman dominated business could compete for and win the contracts. Sadly the Sex Discrimination Act forced FI to change their policy. We need more entrepreneurs like Dame Shirley. And probably more sticking plaster for the mouths of some of the knuckle-draggers.

  58. Bucky 2

    Presuming inequality to prove inequality

    He's trolling us, you know.

    He's presuming that men out-compete women because misogyny is a competitive advantage.

    I mean, there's a lot of blah, blah, blah, but that's what it all boils down to.

    If you think he's right, then there is not, nor can there be a solution.

  59. R3sistance

    Propagana is obvious

    Anybody suspicious by the sheer lack of any actual factual numbers in this article, it is obvious way, this is the normal feminist propaganda junk that needs to die out. It is obvious that there are many tech companies that in fact are run by women and yet this article pretends that never happens, it is biased and clearly in a 3rd wave nutcase way.

    I have also seen people with degrees (note PEOPLE, not just women) not get promotions in favor of other people, unsurprisingly having a degree isn't everything... most degrees aren't worth the paper they are printed on and give little context to actual competence of the person. I have seen people with degrees get massively out-performed by those without, in the field that the degree is for. Anybody who really lives in reality can see that universities on the most part have been ruined, too willing to get as many people through the doors as they can and so now exceptional people no longer shine and everybody gets a piece of paper for just turning up.

  60. GruntyMcPugh Silver badge

    I nearly stopped reading at the "We need to promote women disproportionately, pay them equally or better" line, but I'd have missed this gem: "offer them the flexibility that comes with shouldering the lion’s share of the childcare and housework."

    Sexist much? Sounds like you are trying to help, while consigning women to the kitchen. How about _you_ adjust your attitude to such chores? You know, cook a meal here and there, discover where the vacuum cleaner is kept?

    This isn't the only flaw in the article, there is no pay gap, not in the UK at least, jobs are not offered at different rates according to gender, that's been illegal since the Equal Pay Act, 1970. There may be an earnings differential, but that's down to hours worked, full vs part time, career breaks, etc.

    Also, it seems there's an expectation that IT environments shoulder some burden to be better environments to work in that others. Seems this is a bit of arrogance on behalf of the author, holding other types of workplaces to a lower standard. Or maybe the word 'tech' was just sprinkled through the article in an attempt to justify it's publication at El Reg. Not sound reasoning either way.

  61. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    Can't really speak to the sciences, but let's look at the IT side of it. While it may not be unethical, I think encouraging women to join the ranks of IT certainly smacks of cruelty. What, we want to make sure women suffer as much as us guys? I still think the reason for fewer women in IT is they're probably too smart to fall into that trap. I know I'm discouraging my daughter from going into IT, but if she wants to be a geologist, entomologist, etc, I'm all for it (it seems to be what she likes these days).

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To have a penis or not!

    When someone can prove to me that having a penis or not is the prerequisite for an engineering subject then I would say that there is good reason to say do not do it, however, today engineering does not just mean designing guns for tanks, but also DNA, genetics, electronics etc. Times have changed and we have to wake up to the fact that we are all people. Could one say that a "queer" and the reason I use that term is necessary in context, cannot design a car or even take the engine out of one, NO therefore there is no reason to stop a female doing what she would like to do workwise.

    1. yourmother

      Re: To have a penis or not!

      couldn't agree more

  63. yourmother

    I agree with the article. some men need to stop being such perverted ass-holes and get their heads out from their asses and focus on the work their doing rather than "what is the gender of the person sitting next to me and would i fuck them" no sit down, head down and work you sad minimum wage coder. Or if you cant control your testosterone then maybe cutting off your dick and balls seems like a good idea.

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