August 21, 2007, - 3:15 pm

Whining Over Women in the High Tech Workplace

By Debbie Schlussel
Women enjoy affirmative action in hiring and promotions across industries (just ask “The ICE Princess”). They vastly outnumber males in colleges and grad schools. And, in many cases, they have relegated their wimpy husbands to Mr. Mom status.
Yet, despite every opportunity and advantage in the world given to them instead of men, women are a “minority” in the information technology filed, and–predictably–they’re whining about it. What’s next–whining about why there are no women in the NBA (and none in the WNBA, either)?

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If I were an IT guy, I’d watch out. Because, clearly, this is the next industry about to lessen the standards even more so that incompetent women get the jobs competent men have. Look for the new math–literally those of the “fairer sex” who don’t actually get complicated math and computer formulas needed for programming–to pay a role.
The real story is that women aren’t interested, and the ones who are don’t stick it out. But instead, accusations of “discrimination”–you know, the usual–is pegged as the reason.
From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The percentage of women working in information-technology departments, which wasn’t high to begin with, is dropping. with an IT-labor crunch looming, it’s time to ask: What is it about it that may be repelling half the population?
While women hold 51% of all professional positions in the work force, they only made up 26% of IT pros in 2006, down from 29% in 2004, according to the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Only 13% of corporate officers at Fortune 500 tech companies are women. And Jenny Slade, communications director for the NCWIT, tells the Business Technology Blog that women who do pursue IT careers tend to leave them at a higher rate than men.
“Women feel discrimination in IT,” Ms. Slade says. Indeed, a recent survey of nearly 2,000 female IT workers by Women in Technology International found that 48% say that their views aren’t as acknowledged or welcomed as those of their male colleagues, and 44% say that they have fewer opportunities to participate in or lead large initiatives. Consequently, women feel they need to leave IT in order to advance, says Ms. Slade. Over time this becomes self-perpetuating: Women say that one of the main reasons they leave IT is that there aren’t other women in the field, says Ms. Slade.
It isn’t just a workplace-dynamics issue. Women are also losing interest in computer science long before they choose a profession. Women only received 21% of computer science undergraduate degrees in 2006, compared with 37% in 1985, says the NCWIT. The number of incoming freshmen women choosing to major in computer science dropped by 70% between 2000 and 2005.
And teenage girls seem less interested in computer science than they are in other scientific fields. Only 12% of the finalists in the 2005 Intel Science and Engineering Fair, a national competition for high-school students, were girls, compared with 54% of the finalists in biochemistry. Similarly, only 15% of the high-school students taking the advanced-placement computer science test in 2006 were girls, compared with 48% of the students who took the AP calculus test.

The problem with this–in addition to affirmative action hiring and promotions for incompetent IT employees, just because they’re women–is that it will hurt young boys even more. These stats will result in even more programs focused on helping girls in math and science and neglecting boys. Look for the low numbers of men in colleges to get even worse.

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9 Responses

The affirmative action advocates are bound and determined to bring this country down.
Debbie-about the WNBA lacking women. Do you think the povertypimps, the Reverends Jackson and Al will get after you for that funny line? Who wants to watch these ferocious amazoness’s fighting for a ball, anyhow?

lexi on August 21, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Debbie, I took Visual Basic and tried to learn C++ and Java in college. You can’t fake your way through these courses and languages. Anyone, man or woman, who can’t master this stuff will be exposed in the real world of programming.

Rich B on August 21, 2007 at 4:06 pm

Ms. Schlussel, perhaps the reason why women find some IT positions unattractive is that newcomers to mainframes are given the least attractive shifts (nights, weekends) and that the shifts do rotate when you get a little experience. This would create difficulty if you are mothering a small child. Also, programming positions have highly variable hours depending on workloads and deadlines. Again, this sort of thing is not mother-friendly. Lastly, women who can master the field will rise quickly – no affirmative action help needed – because true talent is always scarce.
chsw

chsw on August 21, 2007 at 6:19 pm

If men are smarter than women, as you so obviously think, then there is no reason for you to worry about the future of men. They can take care of themselves.
HMMM . . . RACKING MY BRAIN. WHEN THE HECK DID I SAY THAT? DID I SAY IT HERE?:
http://www.debbieschlussel.com/archives/2007/07/meet_the_4-11_8.html
PLEASE READ WHAT I ACTUALLY WRITE, NOT WHAT YOU WANT ME TO SAY.
DEBBIE SCHLUSSEL

LoveAManInAUniform on August 21, 2007 at 6:28 pm

I work in IT and I can tell you it has already begun. I work right now with a woman who is supposed to be a Networking specialist. When she got hired she did not know a router port from a port of entry. She has consistently screwed up and proven herself unqualified, but has remained employed in spite of it all.

Uncle Tim on August 21, 2007 at 7:44 pm

The woman I worked with, was helped my management to go on “medical leave” so if things did not work out at the new job, she could come back. Needless to say, she bounced back like a rubber-band. Then, she was hostile to your’s truly (including four-letter words), when she was unprepared for questions concerning the meeting. Luckily, I got a more technical position and moved on, but for a while, I spent sleepless nights about how to address such blatant workplace aggression, for which a man would be signing his resignation within hours.

Alert on August 21, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Rich B, I wish what you’re saying was true, but I’ve worked for some technically incompetent women. One admitted to cheating her way through programming courses, and stealing “the smart guy’s” code. I have also worked with women that knew the job well, and were just as nerdy as I about technology, programming and design.

CaptShady on August 22, 2007 at 2:17 am

A lot of IT jobs are like doctors hours without the pay. Worked with IT employees myself…my ex was also an IT guy. The long hours and sometimes oncall status is typically why I didn’t see too many women among the engineers (I was one of the few women). That was all I saw anyway. I have never cared for affirmative action.

Highrise on August 22, 2007 at 5:31 am

I went to a very techie “engineering” college and ironically the majors with the most women were Math and Comp Sci. (and this was about 2 decades ago so it has nothing to do with the dearth of men in college now)

hairymon on August 22, 2007 at 9:07 am

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