August 21, 2007, - 3:15 pm
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)?
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.
Tags: communications director, information technology, information-technology departments, Intel, Jenny Slade, Mom, National Basketball Association, National Center for Women and Information Technology, Princess, Wall Street Journal