IT Employment

Google's gender gap: Why is technology still a man's world?

With the proportion of women getting computer-related degrees falling to its lowest point in almost 40 years - why is it that men vastly outnumber women in the US IT workforce?

This week Google revealed that more than four fifths of its tech workforce in America are men - a situation it described as "miles from where it wants to be".

Yet the gender balance within Google broadly reflects that within the wider IT workforce in the US.

Since 2005 women have consistently occupied just over one quarter of software developers, network administrators, and other computer-oriented roles in the US. During that period, however, the proportion of women carrying out these jobs has fallen very slightly from 27 percent to just over 26 percent, according to figures from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Current Population Survey (CPS).

uscomp.jpg
Gender split in computer and mathematical occupations in 2013 according to US BLS CPS.
usgendercomp2.png
Gender split across various IT-related professions in 2013 according to US BLS CSP.

The small proportion of female workers in IT-focused roles isn't a reflection of the make-up of the "professional" workforce as a whole, according to the BLS CPS, which showed women accounting for 43 percent of "professional and related" occupations in 2013.

The decreasing share of women in the US IT workforce is mirrored by a decline in the number of women getting Bachelor's degrees in Computer Sciences and Information Sciences: between 2005 and 2011, numbers of female graduates in those disciplines fell by 9.3 percent to just over 43,000.

The number of women receiving Bachelor's degrees in these subjects began rising from 2009. But due to a larger increase in the number of male students graduating in the subject the proportion of women receiving the qualifications dropped to its lowest point in almost 40 years in 2011. That year, women accounted for 17.6 percent of graduates.

femalecompscigrads.png
Figures from US universities gathered by the National Center for Education Statistics.
The question of why so few women pursue an IT-related career relative to other professions has been tackled by many academic studies.

An analysis of these studies by the American Association of University Women suggests that girls are put off pursuing careers in subjects linked to maths and science early in their education.

"Unfortunately, the ancient and erroneous belief that boys are better equipped to tackle scientific and mathematical problems persists in many circles today, despite the tremendous progress that girls have made in science and math in recent decades," the report says.

"Research shows that negative stereotypes about girls' suitability for mathematical and scientific work are harmful in measurable ways. Even a subtle reference to gender stereotypes has been shown to adversely affect girls' math test performance. Stereotypes also influence girls' self-assessments in math, which influence their interest in pursuing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers."

Although there are findings of boys outscoring girls in tasks requiring spatial skills, (Linn & Petersen, 1985; Voyer et al., 1995), which the AWWU says may "may deter girls from pursuing math or science courses or careers", the AWWU analysis points out these skills can be improved through education.

Women that do pursue a career in a science or technology-related field may go on to encounter various forms of bias, research has found. For example a 2007 study Why are women penalized for success at male tasks? The implied communality deficit by Heilman and Okimoto found women may be disliked for being competent in what were perceived to be traditionally male work roles. The AWWU report suggests this may explain why women working in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) roles leave at higher rates than their male peers.

There is also anecdotal evidence of sexist behaviour within the tech industry, which may or may not reflect wider practices, but which is unlikely to attract women to enter the industry. Recent reports range from the presentation of an app called Titstare at a TechCrunch Disrupt event last year to the recent #1reasonwhy hashag on Twitter detailing female games developers' experience of discrimination.

Various initiatives have started up in recent years aimed at encouraging more girls and women to learn about computing, such as Ada Developers Academy and Black Girls Code. For its part, Google says it has given more than $40 million to organizations working to bring computer science education to women and girls.

But Google wants to employ more women, and Laszlo Bock, senior VP of people operations at Google, hopes that transparency on its gender balance will be "a really important part of the solution".

About

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic UK. He writes about the technology that IT-decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

60 comments
ranjan7890
ranjan7890

Why does this have to be a political argument about genders. In this time and age, at least in the developed world of US and Europe, people are free to pursue their career choices. In the process, everyone assumes some risks, hardwork and burnout. You want to study STEM and work at Google? Here is how: work hard in STEM subjects, contest in local and state level science competitions, win a prize or two, get good scores in SAT & grades in class, get a BS with good GPA one of the top 25 engineering schools, take an acute interest in programming, solving math, do a masters if you fee like it, contribute to open source projects and then apply to Google, Mircorsoft or Facebook or Apple or Boing. Be prepared for long hours, technical dead ends that will have to be solved by burning long mid night oil hours. You will not be surprised by the success it will get. This has been the success mantra for boys for decades. Why should it be any different for girls? 


laseray
laseray

More of the PC overly feminized nonsense that tries to pass for proper reasoning. Everything doesn't have to be 50/50 in life between the genders. And if it were more in favor of females then articles on these matters would be claiming victory for women everywhere rather than seeing a disparity for men. Women don't go into tech areas as much because they are not interested in them, just as most men aren't interested in female dominated areas. People need to stop painting women as constant victims in everything, as if they do not have intelligence enough to make decisions and that it is the fault of some external forces on them when they do not have exactly what men do. It is pathetic.

danhouseholder
danhouseholder

I am retired after 32 years in public safety communications in Los Angeles. While there certainly were excellent male dispatchers (I like to think I was one of them!) women are overwhelmingly represented in this field. From my observation, women are better equipped for multitasking in this environment and are much more likely to seek this type of work and excel in it than men are. 

Does this mean women are better or more valuable than men? Should we have instituted policies or started a campaign to draw men into the field? Of course not! 

Men and women are different and that is not bad! Neither are more or less valuable and as long as EVERYONE is getting equal opportunities in all fields I don't think there is anything to "fix" here.

Thanks

Dan   

steven
steven

One of the unfortunate aspects of this type of discussion is that, from my experience, it asks the wrong question.


Here is the first question I would ask... "What jobs are women with college degrees accepting in which they outnumber men, and what other jobs are women with college degrees accepting in which men outnumber women?"


My experience tells me that, although it is true that certain jobs are hostile to women, like some areas of tech, I think that looking at this whole question from a different perspective is more useful.


Here is what I mean. People have an identity. That identity is something that we all seek to support and defend. From my perspective we do not choose our careers because we are good at math or not, our careers are our careers because they allow us to move through the world in a way that supports who we think we are and want to be.


If men are attracted to a career that women are not, it is not because men are smarter than women at math, or geometry, etc. Both sexes are capable of mirroring the other in capability. The reason men gravitate to a profession and women do not is more due to the fact that the profession allows men to "show up" in ways that women do not. The reason women stay away from certain areas of tech is not due to how smart they are, but probably because who women have to "be" in the technical world does not align with who they want to "be" in their own minds.


The first question to ask women who shy away from tech is, "How would you want the tech environment, work description, tasks, and overall paradigm to shift so that you would be attracted to that job?"


Then just listen.

They may well answer that they want more respect from the men.... or they may answer that they want a job that is more involved with people... or they may answer that they want to work on teams... that they want to feel more creative and not like a mechanic... or they may answer ... whatever. The point is to find how their identity is supported in the job or not.


From my perspective, the career we each choose is more a reflection of who we want to be in the world than anything else. For most people, woman or man, if we capable and we want something bad enough we will get smart enough at math, or physics, or chemistry, or whatever, to get it. 


Women and men have various levels of identities. They have identities in society at large. They have identities in relation to their families, siblings. They have identities in relation to their friends as well as many other areas. And they have identities in relation to how they see themselves in their work. For most people these identities are completely out of their consciousness.  However, these identities completely control much of our behavior.


So before I go off making conclusions about women's and men's capabilities in math or other disciplines, I want to understand how various jobs either support or do not support the general identities that men and women have in our society and work environments. 


And if women say that they want more respect from the men in tech, understand that this is not an identity statement. Wanting more respect is the "result" of an identity not being supported. So I would want to dig below that answer of "respect" to find out what the identity is that women want that is not being supported. Creating an environment that supports the specific desired identity of women would be the fastest way to get women into a job. Also be aware that not all jobs can be modified to support the general desired identity... for men or women.


These are my thoughts on what I consider to be a very important topic.


Be well,


Steven Cerri

johnpinna
johnpinna

Can we simply just say: Men and Women are wired differently and get on with life?

I've been working in the technology sector for 25+ years.  A good portion of technology is not just troubleshooting but a step beyond that which I describe simply as the ability to"tinker" with the technology.


I know the Politically Correct crowd are going to lose their minds but I haven't encountered too many women who have that 'tinker' ability.  I'm not saying NONE - I'm saying not as many.

I've worked with many women who are excellent administrators, project managers, managers, executives - but for 'grunt level' IT/Development/etc - nope.

Life goes on.


J.Pinna

macmanjim
macmanjim

Women also make up a disproportionate percentage of college students and graduates. What are men doing if they aren't going to college? I don't see the concern for that. Men and women are different and may be women don't want to go into STEM and may be there's a good reason beyond cultural pressures. The focus with any field should be the get the best people into a particular discipline regardless of any EEO rank. Whoever dreams up this stuff is putting the cart before the horse. 

Phera
Phera

I'm a woman working as a mechanical engineer. I've always been very good at math and science but never once pre-college did anyone ever suggest engineering as a field I should pursue. Teachers, counselors, family friends always suggested being a doctor or a psychologist. Hell, I even used to help my Dad and friends fix cars and no one suggested engineering. It didn't even occur to me because engineers in my mind were geeky white guys with pocket protectors and what teenage girl wants to be that?


I originally went to school as a biochem/pre-med until I started working in a lab where I ended up being the one to fix the machines when they weren't working right. Then I started looking at what post-docs made out of PhD programs vs engineers with a BS and I transferred to biomedical engineering. In my anatomy/physiology classes they were majority women but my engineering statics/dynamics/heat transfer classes I was often the only woman. When I told people I had transferred to an engineering major some of the choice comments I heard were, "Do you want to be a man? Are you trying to find a husband? Give me that tool doll, wouldn't want you to break a nail." I felt under constant pressure to do so damn well that maybe my choice to be in a male-dominated profession wouldn't be questioned constantly.


I ended up working as a mechanical engineer for 6 years or so designing exercise equipment and industrial equipment for the oil, gas, and nuclear industry. Work was miserable sitting in a cubicle all day drawing designs. I very often felt my ideas/designs weren't taken seriously. I had more than one customer ask for a male engineer when they saw my name on drawings. Again, I learned/studied everything as fast as I could so that  when I was questioned I could answer quickly and confidently so my abilities wouldn't be questioned. There was a few other women I worked with in engineering but none of them were from the U.S. I felt consistently side-lined in high profile projects. Some of the choice comments in the workplace I heard were, "She's a smart little girl. Maybe wear some shorter skirts so you can distract them from questioning us. Can you go grab us some coffee and donuts while the guys get down to nitty-gritty of the specs (I was technical lead on that project)."  By the last year of working 50-60 hours a week my health was a concern because I was under constant stress and my self-esteem was gone. I left engineering and went back to school for a fashion design AA.


I've recently completed my fashion design AA and an ex-coworker of mine just hired me to work as an engineering consultant at a hackerspace working with laser cutters, 3D printers, and I'm mixing my knowledge into wearable tech. Already there are some behaviors I'm seeing that I'm not pleased with so I'm learning as much as I can as fast as I can so I can bail and set myself up as an independent maker.


To those that dismiss that I wasn't strong enough to cut it in engineering I'd really like to just run your ass over in the '66 Mustang I own that I restored. Until you can walk a mile in my shoes don't shove your theories on me. Until you experience daily discrimination, stress, and disgusting comments directed at your body while your abilities are dismissed and belittled you don't know what it's like to be a woman in tech so don't presume you know what you're talking about.

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

There is misogyny in _every_ field. There are also unreasonable expectations of equality. If genes control _any_ sort of behavior at all, then the vast difference between X and Y chromosomes ought to make huge differences in behavior.


Personally, I think males have a wider range of behavior which is why they are so over-represented in the technical fields AND in prisons. If you look in the schools, the remedial classes AND the advanced classes are full of boys, yet we only see a problem at one end of the behavioral spectrum.

vandalii
vandalii

Hmm, doesn't the choice of degree have some correlation to choice of career, in this case IT-related fields?  If there are less women graduating w/IT degrees, why would we expect anything but a decline in number of  women in IT.  Certainly it doesn't make sense to say there are less women graduating with IT-related degrees therefore should be greater numbers of women in IT-related fields.  Unless this is some of that Common Core math we've been reading about ;-)


You seem to spell it out yourself.  This is the "pro-choice" outcome -- choose not to get a degree in IT-related field, don't get a job in an IT-related field.


What are we missing here?

Zorched
Zorched

Because our society still sees math and sciences as masculine, and often a nerdy undesirable subset thereof, professions.

To get into the science mindset, one has to start early, and that is the age when most girls are going, "Ewwwww, boy things are gross, and being a nerd is even grosser!"

Later on, guys may find brainy girls intimidating or annoying.  So young women, who are still women and want to be seen as beautiful and crave acceptance/love from the opposite gender (just like we do but we're likely to act like dumb jocks instead), are likely to make life choices that they perceive are incompatible with a Science/tech field.  

Look at our stars and the women that most women look up to these days.  Yes, Oprah and some others are smart.  But do they have science/tech degrees? No.  Do any of the Kardashians have tech degrees? *snort* 

Personally I like brainy girls.  My wife has a Comp Sci/Mathematics Double Major and a physics minor.  She admits that she's always loved science, but that most women don't have the mindset to work in the fields.  It's not because they CAN'T, just that they've programmed themselves to NOT and really don't want to change from that.  "Too flighty" she calls most of them, meaning they don't take the time to logically think things through instead of emotionally.

Until the sciences/IT and mathematics are no longer seen as pariah nerd domains, few women will be interested in them.

In short, women have chosen to be where they are.  Our society places few limitations on what women can be anymore (short of physical ones where their lesser strength may be a detriment to them) so most choices are theirs and theirs alone, and the only one to blame is themselves.

Adrian Watts
Adrian Watts

Not this again.

Lets start with a couple of truths that PC people don't readily acknowledge.

Men and Women are, in general, different.

More men are drawn to IT than Women, its a brain thing combined with a society thing.


Nature does differentiate between men and women, it tends to take more risks with men whereas women tend to be closer to the average, don't want to take too many risks with the womb carriers or there might not be a next generation. Who cares if 30% of the men die, the remaining  are more than enough to make the next generation. This means there tend to be more men at the extremes, both top and bottom.


Now Google wants very smart people working for it, the cream of the crop, the extreme tops. Unsurprisingly the majority of these are men, some women true, but mostly men.


Now lets look at IT more closely, it is widely regarded as not a particularly nice career any more, long hours, poor pay, poor working conditions (including stress) etc. etc.. In short you have to really want to work in IT to work in IT. And the truth is more men want to than women. The converse is that the women who do want to work in IT really, really want to and tend to be better than average, those women who are not very good are more likely to leave than men who are equally as bad. Thus if you come across a woman in IT she is statistically more likely to be good at her job than a man (negative selection in action).


There are also various social biases in action which affect the proportions, and as with all social pressures they are hard to change.


So yes discriminating against Women in IT is Bad and we should work at eliminating it, just don't expect the numbers of Women entering IT to get anywhere close to the numbers of Men entering IT. And definitely not until pay is aligned more closely with the actual skill requirements of IT compared to other possible careers or working conditions are improved.

Leafgreen
Leafgreen

Did you notice on the third chart (Proportion of Women...Degrees) the perfect correlation between US Republican vs Dem administrations and the blue line? It drops during Republican administrations and levels off during Democrat administrations. IT women: I guess you knew how to vote anyway.

richard233
richard233

Just curious, but have they been asking any of the girls in K-12 if they were interested or why they were not interested?


To increase the number of women in any field, you have to first make sure that they actually want to go into that field and have the skill set to allow them to do it well.  They reference statistics from 1985 in this article, surely something has been done since then?  When I was in college there was a group called w.i.s.e. (women in science and engineering) that actively recruited and encouraged women.


Ultimately I don't care about the exact percentages provided there is nothing innately sexist stopping those interested from following their dreams. 

Interestingly enough, some of the smartest and incompetent coworkers happened to be women.  One held a couple of patents, the other thought she could sleep here way to success.

thejokker
thejokker

Why the anti-male sexism from TechRepublic?  Obviously the only solution to creating the gender diversity (liberals are interested is) is by instituting a quota system which by nature discriminates against men.

inventor1949
inventor1949

I am sink and tired of statistics you can format statistics to favor one side or the other in so many ways that is not even funny. The trouble with gender is that SOME women are trying to be a man or even invade mans world and that! ladies is not working. And so if man act like a man and women act like a women then the world will be a better place   

dcwang154
dcwang154

There are more issues with Google's hiring. The proportion should reflect the made up of its employee  forces. So why Asian accounts for less management positions? Also, while a practice of hiring from certain schools is ok, it is questionable whether the hiring reflects the distribution of these schools' computer science and engineering population If not, selected hiring (aka discrimination) is definitely in question?

kitekrazy
kitekrazy

Yawn! Didn't google recently say they were too white as well?  The religion of political correctness can't die quick enough.

johncomfort
johncomfort

I sincerely hope Nick Heath is merely ignorant of the communist propaganda he is aligning himself with.  I've met plenty of women who work and are paid at a job's going rate.  The reason why the percentage of women will always be lower than men is because there are too many SMART WOMEN WHO HAVE DECIDED TO REMAIN MOTHERS AT HOME AND RAISE THE NEXT GENERATION.  The Roman-communists through entertainment, blog shills and other media, are coercing women to look to themselves, being self-centered, accomplishing their own goals and leaving their children to the "system" (via day-care, etc) or even waiting to have children late as if they are "missing out" on life.

I'd like to see the statistics on women in registered Nurses, Nursing, Personal Training at 'Curves', Accounting, Administrative Assistants, School Teachers, Cashiers, Home Health aides, Retail Saleswomen, Retail Sales managers, Waitresses, Maids/Housekeepers, Customer Services Reps, etc., etc.  But I guess those statistics don't elaborate on the agenda being perpetrated here do they?


johncomfort
johncomfort

I sincerely hope Nick Heath is merely ignorant of the communist propaganda he is spreading with this topic.  The elite Romans are at it again through all the media I see--even tech media.  I've met plenty of women who work and are paid at the job's going rate.  The reason why the percentage of women will never be as high as men is because there are too many SMART WOMEN WHO HAVE DECIDED TO REMAIN MOTHERS AT HOME AND RAISE THE NEXT GENERATION instead of being self-centered, accomplishing their own goals, and leaving their children to the "system" (via day-care, etc).

BillGates_z
BillGates_z

Because most guy nerds are too ugly to get jobs as sex workers.

mjd420nova
mjd420nova

I have spent fifty years beginning as a tech with vacuum tube technology and worked to a final retirement as field engineer.  Many jobs along the way that were instrumental to carreer building and experience development involved a certain amount of "grunt work" that even for a healthy male would be close to the limit of endurance. No one ever helped me, some offered guidance but few a hand.  Some environments are just too "hazardous" to the female reproductive system and protection can often make "work" cumbersome and taxing.  Many production lines have now gone to "no lift" systems where the worker just sits or stands in one position, which can be a hazard of its own.  Many female co-workers quickly opted for management positions than wrangle some MCM500 cable or drag a huge plotter off the 20th floor of an office building.

bratwizard
bratwizard

Really? Another one? Do we HAVE to do this again and again? For all your hand-wringing and moaning and groaning, has it ever actually occurred to you that maybe many women don't WANT a career in the "Computer" and "Tech" field? Why aren't you so worried about career fields where MEN are under-represented, such as schools (teachers), hospitals (nurses) and the medical field in general (medical technicians) ?? These are areas which are traditionally FEMALE-DOMINATED-- and yet we don't see any great soul-searching over why MEN don't seem to be able to get jobs in these fields. Where are all the commencement speeches extolling WOMEN to make those fields more "accomodating" to men-- working to make them less "female" and more "gender neutral"- etc, etc., ad naseum, gag.


Just get over it already and let people be people.

inet32
inet32

I'm an engineer and I've been one since I was about 8 years old.  Meaning that that was when I first started taking apart things around the house to see how they worked (much to the annoyance of my parents!).  As a teenager I was an amateur astronomer, an amateur photographer with my own darkroom, and a ham radio operator.


Many engineers started early in life with technical or scientific hobbies and interests.    But this is more common with boys than girls.  An interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields is best cultivated early and we want more women to flower in these fields we need to encourage them when they are girls.    And part of that process is to erase the stigma of being a "smart" or "nerdy" kid. 

DBA-MI
DBA-MI

Could it simply be that in general, women are smarter than men?  In the sense that they have figured out that a career in IT means pretty much working or being "on call" 24/7 and that every issue is always somebody else's crisis?  And so it becomes your crisis?  My wife and are both in the IT field and would never encourage anyone to get into the field. 


Just curious, would you encourage people that you care about to have the life of IT?



mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

When are you guys going to stop with the ridiculous "women need to be 50% of the IT (or any) field"? Let everyone work where they want to work. Let companies recruit who they want to recruit. Everyone will be happier without "Big Brother" forcing some sort of false notion of equality, because that's the only way that will happen. That's not the way a free society is supposed to work.

bblackmoor
bblackmoor

IT is the non-unionized assembly line work of the 21st century. If women are avoiding it, that reflects well on them.

timrush100
timrush100

I think your sub-heading answers the question it's asking. With the proportion of women getting computer-related degrees falling to its lowest point in almost 40 years - why is it that men vastly outnumber women in the US IT workforce?

Revisit your own numbers.

Maybe, and only maybe, if more women were to concentrate on tech degrees, the resulting % in the work force, just might follow.    Hmm, just like asking, if only 20% or the tech graduates are women, how come  they don't cover 50% of the jobs (uh duh.)

Not all of those with tech degrees will go on to tech jobs, (men or women).  Your numbers become meaningless when you use the same charts for all.

billfranke
billfranke

Why are allegedly intelligent human beings still asking the incredibly stupid question "Why isn't the world the way I and my ilk think it ought to be?"? Sure, sure, sure, things have improved in many ways over the past 60 years (I remember them all quite well), but like the mythological hydra, every time we cut off the head of one serious social problem, two more grow in its place. And then there are the unanticipated consequences of purposive social action (e.g., the American revolution, manumission, Prohibition, Social Security, Affirmative Action, political correctness, the Euro, the EU, etc. ad nauseum). Read history. Read old literature (in contemporary translation, of course). Read sociology and social psychology. There is no Walt Disney screenplay for life or work, only reality.


Idealists are intrinsically nice people who are abysmally naive because they know nothing about reality: they live solely on the manna of hope and eventual salvation. They look forward and never wonder what happened before they were born, except that they're cocksure it was no good because it was created by immoral cretins who can be summed up as patriarchal misogynistic dead white men (but paleogeneticists and physical anthropologists have recently assured us that we're all evolved from black men and women from Africa).


Twenty years ago I quit teaching English to become an IT pro, spent a bunch of money to get certified as a network admin, and then went looking for work. When I found it, I was appalled at the pay, the hours, and all the silly fires that had to be put out for users who were unintentional arsonists because they neither knew nor wanted to know anything more about their work tools than they wanted to know about their automobiles: "How do I turn it on?"


My son used to be a kindergarten teacher in LA. He loved it. He was a rarity in the LAUSD, I guess he was good at it because he always got good evaluations and a new contract. This is probably true for the outstanding female IT pros. More power to them and to all who know how to do something useful for society instead of only for themselves and their political cronies.


Why would anyone want to do a job they didn't enjoy? I've been a technical writer and editor for the past 20 years. Most people I know who can do this job well hate it because they find it boring. That's equally true for men and women. It's not for socially needy people, which is what most humans are. Neither is IT for socially needy people. It may be culturally sexist, but women are generally raised to be much more socially savvy and needy than men are, both in the West and in Far East Asia, where I've been living for 30+ years. That's another reason. But the IT person in the English Department of the technical university I worked at in Taiwan for 11 years is a woman. And despite the general sexism in Taiwan, women don't seem to have problems finding, accepting, and then doing  jobs that are considered traditionally male employment in the West. 


Our first democratically selected and elected president ran with a woman who was the first democratically selected and elected vice-president. The recently re-elected head of the major opposition party here is a woman who will run for president again in two years. Americans need to open their eyes and their heads to the rest of the world and see that the problems they face are much more cultural and local than they believe.

tvmuzik
tvmuzik

GOOGLE, by itself, Is a GAP... between Do or Die. Google is Big Brother's sunglasses.

Never mind Google. If this article is about Google, it's just lip service to promote Google in their quest for world domination. Dangit, the bees are buzzin mighty loud around here! LOL

Why does the IT world have to revolve around Google?  If it weren't for IT, there would be no Google!


Ladies, never mind this article- which is also just another spiel on gender statistics that are no more important than the usual yuppie blabber found in the Wall Street Journal.

If you're interested in the IT field, pursue it because you feel inspired to pursue it as a career...

...not because you want to out-do the percentage of guys in the IT field (and Any career field, for that matter).

This "percentage of men versus percentage of women in the _________ field" way of  'competing' is really Really REALLY soOo friggin 20th century it makes a professional autopsy look like a jigsaw puzzle.

gborbonus
gborbonus

Forgive the name, my username is gborbonus, but it won't update.


That sucks, I do hope more women get into the field. 


With that said, I would also like to point out the left-side, right-side brain argument. Technology and the IT industry as a whole requires logic. Logic that cannot be artistic in any way. I have found over the years only a handful of women that can really use logic to reach their goal. 


And as so many people know by now, guys that are social awkward and like the chick on the "Big Bang Theory" but like the jokes and insults just as much, are the guys who are good at tech. The SAME (except the girl on the Big Bang Theory) can be said of women who excel in the IT industry.  Usually a bit awkward and would rather skype than sit and have a cup of coffee. These women are brilliant.


The only other thing I think really counters that arguments are gui or web developers. Women who enjoy making things like pretty can REALLY do wonders in those fields. 


So much of technology is code and math and just pure logic. I've tried to let my wife work with me once, took her 30 seconds to yell and leave the room.


Sanders Kaufman Jr.
Sanders Kaufman Jr.

I know of just one woman with a Computer Programming degree. She chooses not to work because her husband makes good money designing missiles for the Israelis, and she prefers to spend her time preaching Christianity. So, in my experience, the best way to get more women to work in IT would be to focus the scholarships and other opportunities on a more liberally minded demographic.

Zoe Redfern
Zoe Redfern

Just completed a masters degree in IT and I was the only female on my course throughout undergraduate too. There is a lot of discrimination behind the field which in today's world is disgusting. But many companies now actually champion women in IT and employ more women than ever before. I can't speak for the US, but the UK is definitely on the rise in my opinion.

Van Jump
Van Jump

Maybe best way to say it is 90% of non programming IT is rote 10 % is firefighting. Nobody pays any attention to what IT staff does until something fails. As that has become more and more clear the field has lost some if its glamour and become less appealing to anyone wanring a family life. Wonder has anyone studied divorce rates un indystry? Most everyone u know in IT has at least one failed marriage

Van Jump
Van Jump

I got into IT in mid 80's and retired last year. It's a burnout industry. Most of the people I met and worked with in 30 years left to do something else. Parts of ot are exciting and satisfying but a lot of it becomes boring routine. It's also in most cimpanies a dead end position. In non IT companies you're not going to be considered snything but middle management. For 30 years my hours were 24/7 365. What I did find with female colleagues is they opted out sooner and tended to get second degree MBA accounting etc .

macmanjim
macmanjim

@minstrelmike Behavior? Men have a broader range of intelligence, but women have a higher average intelligence. 

heyyoujess
heyyoujess

@Zorched That is exactly what I find objectionable about the way our society raises our girls. We teach them that it's important to be pretty. They internalize that message, and they need to hear it to be validated. I think we should spend more time teaching young girls that the most important part of who they are is the _best_ part of who they are.


I wanted people to know I was smart. I wanted to be liked for my brains. And because I thought it was important to be liked for my brains, I emphasized that part of my personality. If someone found me attractive, then, it would be for the right reasons.


cloyd42
cloyd42

@bratwizard As a matter of fact the fields you identify as female-dominated are not female-dominated in the more prestigious/better-paid roles (university professor, nursing supervisors, etc). As a 60-year old woman who loved math and science since the day I discovered them and have worked in technology/STEM fields my whole adult life, I will tell you for a fact that with few exceptions (bless them) I've rarely been made welcome and have always been held to a higher standard of performance just to be seen as equal. Your attitude is a perfect example of one of the many issues that keep women away from technology. I hope you don't have daughters. #YESALLWOMEN

minstrelmike
minstrelmike

@inet32 I disagree about removing the stigma. Notice that the stigma is _always_ there and always has been against nerdy males. Yet the males go ahead and follow their dreams anyway. If the stigma is there and doesn't affect certain people, then the stigma isn't the social cause.

mudpuppy1
mudpuppy1

@billfranke  "...but paleogeneticists and physical anthropologists have recently assured us that we're all evolved from black men and women from Africa." Maybe that explains the idiotic comment by some woman (Jacqueline Battalora) at a "White Privilege" conference who said (along with other drivel) that white people didn't exist on planet Earth until 1681. I guess our ancestors came from another planet?

dst1980
dst1980

@gborbonus 

Studies have actually found that the post-algebra mathematics use the same parts of the brain that music and art use.  From personal experience, creating new programmatic solutions to problems ALSO falls more on the artistic side.  Yes, implementing that solution requires logic, but without the creativity there is no solution.


One area that has tended to be highly dominated by women that IS very tied to logic and math is the accounting/payroll area.  I would tend to agree with the article in saying that the difference is more cultural than physical, at least when comparing genders.  I have found many men who react the same way your wife did in the same situation.


Overall, I would argue that the reason more people are not good with technology and the IT industry is because many people do not handle working from BOTH sides of the brain as well.  The fact that more men are in the industry is due to cultural bias, and not due to inherent differences.

laseray
laseray

@heyyoujess @Zorched society? You mean mothers. They are the ones that instill that in girls, as well as putting the notion in boys heads that they must defer to females and sacrifice for them.

bratwizard
bratwizard

@cloyd42 @bratwizard So why aren't you telling your daughters that if it doesn't work out as DOCTORS, maybe they could be GARBAGE COLLECTORS? Another predominately MALE field? Of course, there may be some point in there about how they wouldn't WANT to be a garbage collector, but I sincerely doubt there are many MALES who grow up dreaming about a career in garbage collection either. Sure parents want the best for their children, but if all this "Female Equality" stuff is going to work-- there has to actually be SOME semblance of, you know, equality. In all directions.

bratwizard
bratwizard

@NickNielsen


Could be. But it also could be that the sheer volume of articles (and associated "hue and cry") is just much less-- so much less that it flies below the radar. I see several-- perhaps 3-5 or more of these "Why can't Women break into the yada yada Field" a week, here on Yahoo and other places. But I am genuinely stymied to try and recall the last time I can EVER remember a similar story about a shortage of MEN in ANY predominately FEMALE-dominated vocation. Sure there may be some, but there aren't enough of them for anybody to notice.

billfranke
billfranke

@mudpuppy1 @billfranke


She probably believes that the Earth didn't exist before 6000 BC either. Amazing what people will say to advance their political faith.


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