The question without an answer – Women in I.T.

I think that the more people are willing to discuss the question with no answer, not just say what they think and walk away, but really discuss it, perhaps eventually we will have some understanding.

I love what I have been seeing in the past few days and the question is being discussed and asked in our blog community.

the question, of course, is why are there not more women programmers? Why don’t we see more women at summits/at conferences/publishing books/writing articles?

Here are a few of the things I’m seeing that are of interest.

1) “Why is this important?”  I wonder if Rob knows that I am not the only chick who actually counts how many women there are every time we walk into a room filled with programmers. It’s a totally fair question, Rob, and an important question to start a new round of discussions. I call this the Libertarian argument. I dated a guy who I had endless discussions with on questions like: “Why do women need a ‘Women in Business’ meeting? There isn’t a ‘Men in Business’ meeting!“

2) “Imagine how you would feel if…” Ted totally gets the “damn! I feel like an alien here” part of this.

3) “Why is the industry turning women away?” again from Ted. I also like to add to this “IS the industry turning women away? Actively? Passively? Is there something about women that keeps us away or at least on the outer edge?“

4) “Historical fact and the chicken & the egg theory” I love how Alex Lowe thinks in essay form. He is correct, in my mind, about the chicken & the egg theory, which I talked about in the interview that set off this latest dicussion.

5) “Tech is for the unemotional” Jason Mauss talked with his wife about this after thinking about it for a while himself (I love that…yeah Jason) and this was her instinct on why there aren’t more women in tech.

6) “12 men named Brian“ Nothing against Brian’s , really (btw, did you know about this re-release?). It was just that I tried to count how many women I could identify by trolling the list of speakers at TechEd. Granted, I bet I missed one or two. But I counted 12. And since the list was sorted by first name, I happened to notice that the largest collection of guys names was Brian (including one Bryan) and that, too, was 12. Which is where I came up with the statement that there are as many Brian’s speaking at TechEd as there are women.

Why do I care? Am I hoping to see pure equality in the tech field? 50/50? Heck no! I just want to make sure that there aren’t any misconceptions that actually prevent women who want to program from doing it. I think we hold ourselves back when we perceive that this is just not a field where women can be successful. Why do we perceive that? Well even if you don’t read my entire interview that was published on DevSource yesterday (where I talk about a lot of other things besides women in computing, by the way!) , at least read that last question and answer. I have already said what I think, there.

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