I have been in the workforce since 1972 when I went to work for my dad in a family-owned business. I was 14. Since then, I have, fairly consistently, chosen fields where the majority of my co-workers were men.
I'm willing to suggest that most of you responding to this article that "see no problem" with the reported statistics, or who think these issues are more based in personality than in any underlying bias have never been quantified by another simply on the basis of your skin color or whether you stand or sit to urinate.
I was propositioned by my immediate superior on a construction site in 1979. Rather than pit myself, a common laborer with less than 6 months in the job, against my boss with 17 years at the company, I quit.
25 years later...
After working 14 years in IT, I took a job at a local company. I was elevated to the (unpaid and officially unrecognized) position of technical lead only because my co-worker, a man with half my experience, did not want the position. I was told this by my boss.
At the same job, my boss asked if I was having trouble with my "hormones" during a discussion about an inadequate product our enterprise had been using for several years. I found out later that my predecessors(all men) had all complained about said product. I quit this job after 2.5 years, and now have my own business. YES, I did complain to HR about him, and NO, nothing was done.
These are not the only incidents where I experienced gender-based discrimination, but I don't have all day to devote to this post.
My points are these:
1) Blatant workplace discrimination still exists.
2) Leaving one job for another should not be one's only recourse.
3) The only way to change this culture is from the INSIDE. The only way to change it from the inside is to diversify the members of the culture. If diverse members of the population are not entering the [IT] field, there is no opportunity for diversity. This is why the statistics are cause for concern.
I grew up in a time when young (middle and high school) girls could not wear pants to school. Things have certainly changed since then, but not as much as I would like to see them change.
To the young woman from Cyprus - Best of luck to you! It is wonderful that you have your family encouraging you in your endeavors.
It was also great to see all the supportive responses to her post. Perhaps there's hope for us yet.
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