TechRepublic member TechGirl recently rattled a stick in my cage by alerting me to an article on Digg that questioned the accomplishments of a well-regarded woman in IT (who works for Lunarpages.com) because she happens to be attractive. That piece then started a new debate over at Webhostingtalk.com about women in IT. In that debate, a guy named JHServers felt it necessary to express his personal opinion about the suitability of women in high-end management. Here's part of what he said:
"I personally don't think women are fit for such high end management in the corporate world. Not because of their intelligence or inabilities. I believe they are 100% equal in that respect to men. However, I do not like how women can become irrational and have "that time of the month" and how women become emotional over things. There are exceptions of course, but not the majority. Men are more cutt throat and ruthless which is necessary to run a successful business in an ever-increasingly competitive global economy."
TechGirl suggested that I might want to address his comments in a blog. She was right. He's what I would say to JHServers.Hi JH! I must say this is pretty exciting for me because I've never met a time-traveler before. It's great here in the 21st century and all, but it's kind of neat to read a blog posting from someone who resides in a past decade. So, how are things in the '50s? Is your Studebaker holding up OK? Please say hello to Lucy for me. She sure gets herself into some crazy situations, doesn't she?
Now, having said that, let me ask you this: What the hell is wrong with you? You really believe that a woman's hormones can make her too emotional to be in "high-end management"? Excuse me, but have you met Mr. Testosterone? The overabundance of that little hormone in a few select people has been the suspected root of more wars and fights and assaults than all the Midol pills in the world combined.
My dear man, you can't classify gender differences into your cut-rate DNA-by-numbers scheme simply because that girl at the Starbucks you tried to hit on yesterday flipped you the bird. (My guess is tweren't hormones what done that.)
You have to know that there have been great female leaders in the history of the world. Right? Hello? Admittedly, many of the best-known female leaders may have come to prominence in the two or three decades since your disproportionately small head has been buried in the sand, but they're out there. Do the names Indira Gandhi, Margaret Thatcher, or Golda Meir ring a bell? Somehow I can't picture Golda Meir postponing the business of Israel because she was retaining water.
You say at one point in your post that you personally don't think women are fit for high-end management in the corporate world, but "Not because of their intelligence or inabilities. I believe they are 100% equal in that respect to men." [Writer's note: Smacking my forehead here.] So you're saying that women have just as many inabilities as men? Does that mean that neither should be leaders? Are you advocating members of another species for high-end management, like maybe Golden Retrievers or spider monkeys? I'm just saying.
And let me address your blanket statement that women aren't cutthroat enough to run a business. Have you ever met a high-school girl? Believe me, I'd just as soon go 10 gloveless rounds in a ring with Mike Tyson than ever again have to endure another conversation with my high school nemesis, Sherry "Adolf" Bohannon.
In your sweeping generalization, you even manage to insult your own gender. You say, "The majority of male IT workers are socially inept when it comes to women." Again with the categorizing. How nice and tidy it must be in your world. I shudder to think what your views on race are.
I sincerely hope for your sake that you're not in business for yourself because it's going to be a long, tough road for you with that attitude.
Give President Eisenhower my best.
Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.