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posted by janrinok on Saturday June 07 2014, @05:58PM   Printer-friendly
from the food-for-thought dept.

A huge nationwide push is underway, funded by the nonprofit Code.org's corporate and billionaire donors, from Amazon and Google to Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, to introduce American schoolchildren to coding and to redefine it as a basic skill to be learned alongside the three R's.

Code.org's curriculum has been adopted by 20,000 teachers from kindergarten to 12th grade. But if coding is the new lingua franca, literacy rates for girls are dropping: Last year, girls made up 18.5 percent of A.P. computer science test-takers nationwide, a slight decrease from the year before. In three states, no girls took the test at all. An abysmal 0.4 percent of girls entering college intend to major in computer science [PDF]. And in 2013, women made up 14 percent of all computer science graduates down from 36 percent in 1984. The imbalance persists in the tech industry. Just this week, Google released data showing that women account for just 17 percent of its tech employees.

The problem is not only getting girls to computer class, but keeping them there.

See also girlswhocode.com.

 
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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Eino on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:15PM

    by Eino (4290) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:15PM (#52680)

    If "The problem is not only getting girls to computer class, but keeping them there" then clearly they're just not interested in computers and programming. Men and woman have different interests and trying to force men's interests on women in the name of equality is both moronic and immoral.

    Equality does not mean that everyone must be the same - that's fascism. What equality means is that everyone has the same opportunities. If girls and boys have the equal opportunities to try programming, but most girls find they aren't interested in it, then that's not a problem.

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  • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by jasassin on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:32PM

    by jasassin (3566) <jasassin@gmail.com> on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:32PM (#52686) Homepage Journal

    Please mod parent up and let this die once and for all.

    --
    jasassin@gmail.com GPG Key ID: 0xE6462C68A9A3DB5A
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:37PM

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:37PM (#52691)

    It IS a problem, for various reasons. Remember, programming used to be considered a woman's job. The problem with all this, however, is that they aren't looking at the roots of the problem in our very culture, so they're not going to be successful in fixing it with these initiatives. Why do girls lose interest in it? They think that by pushing them into it in school they'll stay interested, and that simply isn't the case; there's deeper issues there.

    • (Score: 2) by Oligonicella on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:02PM

      by Oligonicella (4169) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:02PM (#52713)

      When exactly was it considered a woman's job? I've been involved in the field for quite a while and I don't recall that.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by Grishnakh on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:28PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:28PM (#52730)

        You're probably not old enough to remember it. It was before the 60s.

        • (Score: 2) by jimshatt on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:47PM

          by jimshatt (978) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:47PM (#52738) Journal
          You mean when all the men were out fighting wars?
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Sunday June 08 2014, @11:38AM

            by VLM (445) on Sunday June 08 2014, @11:38AM (#52920)

            A computer at one point was a human female who basically split off from the linear fixed point accounting disciplines to run nonlinear floating point numerical integrations and the like by hand. So you have a team of 10 women running a disk method integration or each calculating a portion of a ballistics table for artillery or crypto grunt work or whatever. At a microscopically higher level you have the (mostly women) who coordinated and Q/A that work. You'd put the "programmers" at a microscopically higher level.

            At a level slightly above bear furs and baling wire you had the same women shuffling punch cards into unit record equipment, much like their counterparts in accounting.

            Its interesting from a tech perspective just how little tech the world required very recently. My mom made some beer money in the '60s hand calculating and hand typing paychecks for a major national railroad. As recently as the very early 90s as a starving student I worked for a very small business where my paychecks (and the other three guys) were calculated and generated by hand, ink pen on paper. I'm sure this sounds unimaginable to modern ears, like the days before indoor plumbing. But yeah, as recently as just a couple decades ago, being able to add and subtract fixed point numbers by hand was a real vocational skill people were paid to do.

            • (Score: 2) by jimshatt on Sunday June 08 2014, @10:11PM

              by jimshatt (978) on Sunday June 08 2014, @10:11PM (#53046) Journal
              That's really interesting, thanks. I remember, as a kid (maybe 6 or 7), hearing a radio broadcast of some calculation that was done both by hand and by computer and comparing the speed and accuracy of the result. We had a ZX-81 at home which I was sometimes playing with (typing over simple programs from books or stuff my dad wrote (on stacks of grid paper)), and I was really struck by a feeling of "yes of course the computer is better! even I know that!"
              Funny.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:57PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:57PM (#52742)

          Before the 60s? Do you mean the 50s when there were only a handful of mainframes world?

          Back when mainframes were custom-built monsters with tube logic, they didn't even have operating systems and were programmed by the scientists who used them, mostly men.

          • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:53AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:53AM (#52887)

            and were programmed by the scientists who used them, mostly men.

            Those were the analysts. They drew flowcharts.

            The programmers (a fair mixture of men and women) read the flowcharts and wrote programs (in assembly) to implement them.

            Then coders (almost all women) read the programs and translated them symbolic opcodes and their operands / addressing modes into a raw stream of numbers (in hex). Finally, keypunch operators (also almost all women) imprinted those streams of numbers onto paper tape or punch cards (or later on, keyed them into incremental magtape writers).

            The nomeclature of computing jobs has changed a lot in the last half century...

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by frojack on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:09PM

      by frojack (1554) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:09PM (#52719) Journal

      Such as WHAT deeper issues?

      Its easy to make pronouncements, its a little bit harder to start actual enrollment drives. And its harder still to find out why women prefer nursing, teaching, law careers, accountancies and running small businesses, over programming.

      The hardest part of all is to come up with a convincing reason that anyone should take any interest in changing this situation and luring women into careers they don't want.

      What deeper issues?

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Grishnakh on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:13PM

        by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:13PM (#52721)

        Hey, I don't have all the answers. I just know that what they're doing is superficial. I think there's probably many deeper issues.

        One of them was described by another poster here: that IT workers are not valued, work too many hours for too little pay, and have no job security. If you're really smart, there's better careers out there, such as law, accounting, running small businesses, and of course medicine. This isn't something that can be fixed, since it's entirely under the control of industry, and they can't be forced to change how they treat white-collar workers.

        • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:22AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:22AM (#52803)

          I'll help you out a bit here, a certain former board-member of SAP referred to a study (sorry, gotta look for yourself) of children's interest in STEM subjects during one of his lectures.
           

          Until the age of 6-7, both genders were equally interested and until 15 the divide turned to what we usually are expecting.
          He suggested that school-teachers are to blame along the lines of: "Oh no, that's not a 'girly' thing to do," and "But boys are expected to XYZ;" which makes a lot of sense (e.g. composition of teachers backgrounds suggests that they're usually more "traditional").
           

          TL;DR: It's difficult to weed out chauvinistic tendencies (also in the education system).

          • (Score: 2, Interesting) by bzipitidoo on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:47AM

            by bzipitidoo (4388) on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:47AM (#52861) Journal

            We've been pounding on this gender imbalance issue for decades, and we still don't really know why it exists. Attempting to fix the problem when we don't know what it is, or even if it is a problem, is folly. If being homosexual is such a problem, why hasn't evolution weeded out all such tendencies? Maybe because there's an optimum level of homosexuality for a population of animals? Maybe the population as a whole is more fit for survival if a few members are homosexual, because that's more diversity? A virulent STD won't wipe out everyone if a few members behave differently?

            A complication is that it's not Politically Correct to consider whether there is an innate difference in brains that make boys more likely to become interested in programming. Note I don't say that this in any way makes girls inferior. Different is not inferior, though of course different does mean better at some things and worse at other things. Why are more women into teaching, nursing, and dancing? Most men aren't as good at those jobs? Maybe, and that's okay. But somehow it's not okay for women to be worse at programming, so we spend time looking at social factors. If it turns out that the imbalance is a result of fundamental differences in brain wiring, and we continue to refuse to consider that, we're wasting our time.

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by Grishnakh on Monday June 09 2014, @04:26PM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday June 09 2014, @04:26PM (#53286)

              Why are more women into teaching, nursing, and dancing? Most men aren't as good at those jobs?

              Dancing is not a job, except in a very few rare cases, and also for strip clubs. The number of women (or men) employed as non-strip-club dancers is ridiculously tiny, probably even less than the number of people employed as full-time actors. The number of strip-club dancers inflates it a lot, but women don't go into that job because they like dancing; they go into that job because they're desperate for cash and the job pays a lot better than McDonald's.

              Women traditionally went into teaching and nursing because those were the only "respectable" jobs allowed for them. (There were a few more too, such as telephone operators.) They were not allowed to go into most other jobs. No one would see a woman doctor. No one would hire a woman manager or engineer. That's changed a lot these days; lots of smart women, who in the past would have gone into nursing, skip that and become doctors now, and the nursing industry is hurting as a result (the fact that hospitals refuse to increase pay for nurses doesn't help). Why does anyone go into nursing these days in fact? Mainly because the educational requirements are much less (you can just go to community college, which is dirt cheap; can't do that if you want to be an MD), and the working hours are less, since it's an hourly job. So women who are already single mothers or don't want to or can't invest the necessary time and money to go through med school instead and then spend lots of hours in residency and then as a staff doctor can go into nursing instead, which is regular 9-5 job.

              As for teaching, I've met a couple of teachers within the last year (both female), and neither of them chose the profession, they were pushed into it by happenstance. With one, I can't remember what she was doing before, but she started as a substitute teacher because she needed a job, and from there took some classes, got a certificate, and became a kindergarten teacher. The other one had a liberal-arts degree of some kind, and her career in journalism (I think, something like that) wasn't doing that great because that profession isn't so hot these days, the public school system was strongly recruiting, and recruited her to be a high school math teacher, even though she had no degree in math at all. She told me some horror stories about one of her older male coworkers (another math teacher) who was really quite incompetent at basic math. Her knowledge wasn't that great either; with my EE background and the math that entails (which admittedly, is about 15 years in the past now) I could tell she was competent with the trig she taught, but probably wouldn't be able to handle much higher without retraining, but it sounded like she was far more competent than the other math teachers she worked with. So basically, it all boiled down to: positions for these jobs were open, they paid decently, the barriers to entry were very low (don't need to know any math to be a math teacher!!), the schools were recruiting, and these women needed jobs.

              Finally, I really question the whole "teaching is dominated by women" assumption. I don't think it's necessarily true any more. Even 20 years ago when I was in public school, there seemed to be a pretty equal ratio of female and male teachers. It's not like nursing, which is still dominated by women (but there are a lot more men in it these days, just not an equal ratio).

          • (Score: 2) by BasilBrush on Sunday June 08 2014, @07:34PM

            by BasilBrush (3994) on Sunday June 08 2014, @07:34PM (#53010)

            The theory that gender differences come from gender stereotypes in education is just plain false, and the experimental data proves it. Give human toys to monkeys, and the male monkeys go for the tonka toys and the females go for the cuddly dolls.

            http://animalwise.org/2012/01/26/born-this-way-gender-based-toy-preferences-in-primates/ [animalwise.org]

            --
            Hurrah! Quoting works now!
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by edIII on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:41PM

    by edIII (791) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:41PM (#52692)

    I don't think it's a gender based interest.

    Read an article once and it brought up a very damn good point. Men will take and put up with 9 tons of shit and stress themselves into an early grave as if it's manly to do so. There is an element of machismo working against us when I take it as a personal challenge to do two 50-hour shifts in a row on a job where I ended up making less than minimum wage doing it. I might as well have taken it as a challenge, since it was a requirement anyways. Unless I wanted to start looking for a new job.

    Women tend to be smarter about that sort of thing. Especially, any woman that is even moderately attractive. I think women intuitively assess from our culture that IT sucks beyond all that sucketh.

    They're not wrong. From computer programmers, to sysadmins, and all the spectrums in between with coffee shop webdevs, and social media experts, IT is the worst industry on the planet in terms of compensation and treatment. IT is always seen as an expense, and never a revenue generator. Despite the fact, that in today's age IT is bringing about innovation and creating entirely new markets and customer retention tools.

    If I have one piece of advice to any young women, it's stay out of IT, forget about programming, and go find a real life where there is a chance you will be appreciated. I didn't really have a chance or choice myself. I gravitated towards computing at age five and was fixing the VCR clock at 3. It was all but assumed when I was having fun building my own computers at 9 that this was going to be my life, and it would be a nice profitable one.

    Perhaps, when the current dregs of IT all start falling over and having heart attacks, the compensation packages will go up. When IT starts getting paid and less abused, then maybe women should become interested.

    Until then, I consider them the smarter gender for staying out of it. Go become a family practice doctor, or a lawyer, or anything else.

    --
    Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
    • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:56PM

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:56PM (#52706)

      IT is not "the worst industry on the planet" by a long shot. Working in a Chinese factory is much worse. So is working at McDonald's.

      However, for the education and intelligence required, there's far better opportunities in the US. Law and medicine come to mind right away. Medicine has higher educational requirements, but it also has far better job security and compensation later on. IT becomes a dead-end career after you pass 40 or so, but older doctors are highly valued for their experience.

      I absolutely agree about women being smarter for avoiding this trap. I disagree about compensation packages, though. There's no shortage of foreigners willing to jump into this field, ready to be abused. That isn't going to change until the US crumbles and loses its hegemony.

      • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by frojack on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:16PM

        by frojack (1554) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:16PM (#52724) Journal

        That isn't going to change until the US crumbles and loses its hegemony.

        Really? That's what it will take?
        So that must mean all the women are moving into IT jobs in other countries then?

        Lets see, we can't come up with any real reasons the women avoid IT, so... Oh, lets heap hate on the US. That always works. We look hip, and informative without having to think just a little bit.

        --
        No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
        • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:30PM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:30PM (#52732)

          So that must mean all the women are moving into IT jobs in other countries then?

          No, the problem is there's a couple billion people in China and India alone, and a tiny, tiny fraction of them will easily dwarf our IT industry.-

          Oh, lets heap hate on the US. That always works.

          Yeah, that's a great way to respond to criticism. Stick your fingers and your ears and ignore the problems.

          It's not just the US either, it's all of western society. There aren't tons of women going into IT in western Europe, Canada, or Australia either.

          • (Score: 2) by frojack on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:48PM

            by frojack (1554) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:48PM (#52739) Journal

            It's not just the US either, it's all of western society. There aren't tons of women going into IT in western Europe, Canada, or Australia either.

            You were the one that said it was a US hegemony problem. Now you seem to want it both ways.

            There is no problem here other than someone gave women a choice, then decided that when they exercised their choice there was something wrong somewhere because they made different choices than men made.

            Why do you seem to have such a problem with women exercising control over their own lives?
            Is this some latent Islamic influence in your thinking or something?

            --
            No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
            • (Score: 1, Troll) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:16PM

              by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:16PM (#52748)

              The problem is that the equations for men and women are different. If it were as simple as "I want to do X for a living" you would see closer to a 50/50 split or something more along the lines of the gender split in the population.

              Sure, an old white guy can apply to be the president of the Young Black Woman's Society organization. Would he do it and just think "we are equal and I'm qualified"?

              • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by frojack on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:53PM

                by frojack (1554) on Saturday June 07 2014, @08:53PM (#52759) Journal

                "If it were as simple as "I want to do X for a living" you would see closer to a 50/50 split or something more along the lines of the gender split in the population.

                Even if it were "that simple", there would be a difference in the choices made by the sexes. There isn't any evidence that, if a snap of the fingers would get you any career you wanted, that each career would fill evenly between the genders. None what so ever.

                I have no idea what "the equations are different" really means.

                --
                No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
                • (Score: 3, Insightful) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:10PM

                  by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @09:10PM (#52763)

                  Your mistake is in assuming that biological gender manifests in career choice. We are dealing with large numbers here and this isn't even a close split like 55% men, 45% women, or 65 / 35. It is a huge gap.

                  Equations, in the form seen in calculus. You compute the area under a curve, f(x) = ax + C, where C is a constant. If you take x out to infinity, C can be ignored so you generally do ignore it unless your professor is a dick and want's you to write " + C" after every solution. What you are saying is that "for all men and women, C is negligible and can be ignored", meaning that men and women inherently choose a career over another based on their gender. What I am saying is that C is still quite significant and that if you removed it you would see a man/woman slit more inline with the general population. We don't, so woman's equations when deciding on which career to enter are different and until you can remove C altogether (remove the social factors of gender roles) you can't say that women inherently prefer one career over another.

                  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by frojack on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:40PM

                    by frojack (1554) on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:40PM (#52796) Journal

                    yeah, yeah, but where is your evidence?

                    You keep tossing up this 50/50 nonsense like there is a shred of truth to it.
                    Its simply not true, and never has been.

                    The professions that are actually are populated 50/50 are anomalies, outliers, unusual. The world over.

                    I'm asking for a shred of proof, and you keep propping up your 50/50 notion with a silly formula pulled out of your ass.
                    You keep complaining that we haven't removed enough barriers. But no matter how many such barriers we remove you will always find another one and insist the discrepancy is due to THAT new barrier. Like the poor, who will always be with us, there will always be gender based choices, which you will always insist as a sign of something seriously wrong. Since you won't supply anything but your own assertion in support of your own assertion I see little reason to continue the discussion.

                    Because for you, the mere fact that women prefer different choices IS THE PROBLEM.

                    --
                    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
                    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:07AM

                      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:07AM (#52811)

                      > The professions that are actually are populated 50/50 are anomalies, outliers, unusual. The world over.

                      Yeah, yeah, but where is your evidence? Any time your faith is questioned you demand evidence that meets an impossibly high standard but you are never able to provide the same. For your own faith the existence of the status quo is all the proof you need -- you are content with the most shallow analysis possible as long as you don't disagree with it. Its the ultimate form of intellectual dishonesty.

                    • (Score: 2) by skullz on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:14AM

                      by skullz (2532) on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:14AM (#52827)

                      Note: not really fair to mod parent a troll, he raises valid points. This is a serious discussion and he is discussing!

                      Here is the US labor department numbers: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm [bls.gov]

                      Women make up roughly 50% of the workforce. In "Computer and mathematical occupations" they are only about 25% but have a good showing in analysis, statistics, web dev, and as DBAs, ranging from 35% to 50%. At the same time there few to none network admins or comp sec women in the sample and only 23% code monkeys (despite there being over 300k code monkey jobs in the US (same website)).

                      There are over 3 million in the computer and mathematical occupations and only 1 in 4 women actually have a job in it. This is where my silly ass formula comes in. With this large of a number either women, inherently by their nature, don't want to get into tech or there is another factor. I assert that it is the environment from birth to adulthood. So, if we go back to the entire point of this article which is to get more girls into coding then identifying (or even acknowledging) what element in the environment is causing this skew would be a good starting point. Its over 3 million slots.

                      My point is that there is a big difference between saying "that's just what this woman wanted" and "that's just what women want". By generalizing and saying "woman prefer" you run the risk of glossing over a problem.

                  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by VLM on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:06PM

                    by VLM (445) on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:06PM (#52923)

                    I love to bring up chemistry

                    Generic lab techs are darn near 50:50 ratio.

                    Then you hop to Chemist and its almost 50:50 although there is a legacy etc such that there are slightly more men. Still darn near 50:50.

                    Then you hop to ChemEng and its roughly 10% women.

                    Then you hop to management and there are more women but its probably just a hiring quota situation.

                    So you wanna do R+D or run an existing plant, women are allowed. On the other hand if you want to design or manage a plant that is a total sausagefest.

                    There are obvious analogies with computers. You want to do R+D, I guess that is "math" and that is in fact darn near 50:50. Running an existing plant is analogous with "using facebook" or playing spreadsheet and powerpoint dominance games all day at work, which is also unsurprisingly roughly 50:50. Yet again, if you want to design something new or "manage" a database or server farm or whatever, its again sausagefest time with only 10% or so women.

                    The point being there's nothing "special" about IT or computers. Its more a lifestyle thing. Across the professions, women don't get involved in engineering or management. And this is crucial because if you fix that, the specific IT results will take care of themselves, and if you think a pink hello kitty theme in Eclipse will solve the entire cultural wide "problem" across all professions then you're wasting everyone's time because obviously thats not going to fix chemistry or any of a zillion other non-IT/CS fields.

                    • (Score: 2) by skullz on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:04PM

                      by skullz (2532) on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:04PM (#52932)

                      and if you think a pink hello kitty theme in Eclipse will solve the entire cultural wide "problem" across all professions then you're wasting everyone's time

                      You are right but the point is to raise awareness, maybe not with you or with the people who are saying that there is no solution / problem but with the few hundred other people who have read this conversation and not commented. The pink hello kitty theme is part of the "death of 10,000 cuts" that girls and women are talking about. Its easy to do and easy to stop if we are mindful and we care.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Sunday June 08 2014, @11:51AM

        by VLM (445) on Sunday June 08 2014, @11:51AM (#52921)

        "So is working at McDonald's."

        Not my experience. Well, I never worked at McD, although I worked very small company retail as a starving student and it was awesome. I was a single teenage boy and the hiring manager was a dirty old man with the same taste in women as myself, so about half my coworkers were amazing beautiful women my age (I dated several, which now a days is probably illegal). The work was physically way easier than going to the gym or helping out at my uncles farm or helping my parents do house maintenance. The camaraderie was excellent (with the guys, not just the women). The 50:50 male female ratio was awesome. Management was uniformly excellent; obviously this was not a "family run" small business, but a real small business.

        If I could get paid the same to stock shelves and occasionally help the cashiers, there's no way I'd be slinging code.

        Also BTW law is dead. That bubble popped a couple years ago, maybe five years ago? Not everyone has heard about it yet, but the numbers were/are pretty stunning. I never went into medicine because as a kid I could see it was likely to be "reorganized" because nothing this dumb can go on forever. Yet decades later, here we are. I would imagine when the medical bubble pops it'll sound just like the popping of the law bubble. "What do you mean, pharmacists are being replaced by vending machines?" and radiologists aren't paid any more than car brake shop repair guys.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by meisterister on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:42PM

    by meisterister (949) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:42PM (#52693) Journal

    The problem I see here is that there was a significant decrease over time. People need to consider what, exactly, has changed between 1984 and now to cause such a decrease. Is it because there are now far more males, or it because some factor is driving the women out. I agree that if people don't care, then they shouldn't be pushed into programming. The thing that should be pushed rather than programming should be logical, algorithmic thinking. Just the thought processes involved in programming can prove to be very useful in other subjects.

    --
    (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by kevinl on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:44PM

    by kevinl (3951) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:44PM (#52697)

    You obviously missed the bit where there were more women entering the field in 1984 than now. Since evolution doesn't work that quickly, this cannot be reduced to gender essentialism.

    Something has changed in the last 35 years such that fewer women are entering the field. That IS a problem for the field, losing 50%+ of a major demographic indicates a serious institutional issue at work. There are several potential reasons for this, perhaps a combination of reasons. Maybe we (the collection of computing professionals and educators) have developed a woman-repelling (or man-attracting) feature in the technology itself; or possibly we've developed a woman-repelling work and study culture; or maybe the tech sector is actually a dead-end career and women have somehow disproportionately noticed. Can you come up with any others?

    • (Score: 1) by frojack on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:42PM

      by frojack (1554) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:42PM (#52736) Journal

      Losing 50% of the demographic is NOT a serious institutional issue.
      It is the free exercise of choice.

      As long as you persist in this unspoken, but clearly implied assumption that all careers are equally attractive to all types of people, you will continue to make such faulty pronouncements that women preferring other lines of work is some how a problem that has to be fixed.

      Women don't like plumbing jobs, (1.8%) or diesel mechanics (.8%) work either. What DEEPER issues do you think prevail there, and don't you think those should be addressed first? Its far "worse" than the IT industry.

      Dept of Labor [dol.gov] has a listing of these non-traditional or jobs and the percent of women employed.

      There is no problem here. Stop trying to make one up. People are free to make their choices.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:27AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:27AM (#52815)

        Your ability to remain steadfastly ignorant in the face of your own evidence is stunning.

        For example, that list shows women only make up 17.2% of the clergy. By your own proclamation, women are simply freely choosing not to be priests. The fact that at least a third of the jobs in the clergy are simply not an option for women because of the rules of the catholic church does not have anything to do with it. No, they are just exercising their freedom to choose.

        If you can't figure that one out you don't have a chance in hell of ever groking the more subtle ways society pressures different classes of people to conform. You are like a Marie Antoinette of social science, "let them just take the jobs!"

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:37AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:37AM (#52856)

          Because IT and clergy are synonyms. Idiot.

      • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Monday June 09 2014, @11:10PM

        by urza9814 (3954) on Monday June 09 2014, @11:10PM (#53452) Journal

        Did you miss the point where he's not comparing different careers, but a single career over only thirty years? If losing 50% of the demographic was merely them exercising choice, why are they exercising that choice now when they apparently didn't in the 80s?

        There are only two possible explanations I can think of:
        One is that the techology changed and women don't like it anymore. Perhaps now that we program systems instead of individual machines, that's the reason. But women are supposedly better at multi-tasking, so you'd think that would make them better at parallel or system programming. Maybe not; perhaps that makes it harder to just focus on your own part of the spec.

        The second possibility is that when we realized how important programmers were becoming, it stopped being thought of as essentially a form of secretarial work and existing prejudices took over. Perhaps the growing demand for a college education? My grandfather never allowed my mother to attend college because to him that wasn't something women were supposed to do. That would have only been about 40 years ago.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by deimtee on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:10AM

      by deimtee (3272) on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:10AM (#52825) Journal

      Rather than IT repelling women more now than in 1984, it may be that women now have much more opportunity in other fields.
      It's possible that IT was ahead on equality, but now technically inclined women have more choice, and choose to go elsewhere.

      --
      If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by evilviper on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:28PM

      by evilviper (1760) on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:28PM (#52928) Homepage Journal

      Something has changed in the last 35 years such that fewer women are entering the field.

      I wouldn't be surprised if hours, vacation, and stress are what has changed. 30 years ago, IT was vastly more of a 9-5 job. Expanding operating hours, the internet, and more, has made it far more of a round-the-clock job, where the vast majority of people are required to accept on-call rotations.

      The job has also gotten vastly more expansive and complex than it was 30 years ago. More men might be willing to invest the increasingly greater time and effort, before getting a payoff.

      --
      Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:49PM

    by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:49PM (#52700)

    If all things were equal I would agree with you and you could say that there was a correlation between gender and coding. But it's not.

    Thought experiment time: imagine you are going to be a safe-place / refuge for domestic valance victims and you are a straight man. You say "I will take this abused people, mostly women, into my house! I will shelter them, provide them comfort and support! Trust me, I'm a good man!" All things being equal, no problem. Your trustworthiness is based on your history and ability. But would that happen? Nope. You would be branded a manipulative creep who takes advantage of vulnerable women in their time of need just by merit of your gender.

    The environment that boys and girls (let alone women and men) grow up and operate in is not the same. Boy's and girl's brains are functionally identical so there must be another factor. The environment is the most obvious difference: blue vs pink, aggressive toys vs nurturing toys, boys good at math, girls bad. Etc. It goes on and on. There is no such thing as "boys interests" or "girls interests" except by those engineered by the social environment that the individuals are immersed in.

    For example: my wife is a tom boy who doesn't like pink. My daughter, at age 2, was able to identify pink as a "girl's color" without any prompting by us. I blame the Disney channel and the toy isle at Target. It surrounds us every day but if you are in your niche you don't notice it.

    The same thing can be applied to coding. All signs (stock photos, job postings, TV shows, conventions, after school coding groups) point to coding and tech in general as a boys club, with nerds and power suits. We know that that is absolute bull shit and the individual contributions of a person regardless of gender is the single most important thing.

    Men and women don't have different interests, people have different interests. Ability is up to the individual, not the gender. That is the point that these types of articles are trying to make, sometimes with great difficulty. Coding is genderless. Tech is genderless. Why the great discrepancy amount the genders?

    My bet is on environment. And that comes from you and I.

    • (Score: 2) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:55PM

      by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:55PM (#52704)

      *violence
      *amount
      *whatever else I missed

      This is what happens when you drink before noon, kids. Stay in school.

      • (Score: 1, Redundant) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:58PM

        by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:58PM (#52707)

        *amongst

        F you, spell-checker.

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:19PM

        by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Saturday June 07 2014, @11:19PM (#52791)
        Ah, so you registerred your nickname this afternoon, too?
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Oligonicella on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:10PM

      by Oligonicella (4169) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:10PM (#52720)

      "Boy's and girl's brains are functionally identical so there must be another factor."

      You lost your argument right there. One is not better than the other, but they are not at all functionally identical. If for no other reason than the hormonal bath is different. Males and females have slightly different brain structures and show distinct differences in testing. There is broad overlap, but they are different.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:35PM

        by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:35PM (#52734)

        The problem there is that you don't know if you are testing the upbringing or testing the brain. We are talking about girls and women in coding. The brain's ability to perform some function. Do you really think that in the context of writing some software or solving a puzzle there is a statistically significant difference in a woman's brain vs a man's?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:35AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:35AM (#52817)

        > One is not better than the other, but they are not at all functionally identical. If for no other reason than the hormonal bath is different.

        That's like saying that people who are taller have functionally different brains than people who are shorter. Probably technically true but says nothing about how that difference matters with respect to anything other than coping with their height.

        There is no conclusive evidence that differences in the "hormonal bath" have an effect that would manifest in consistently different levels of cognitive ability. Every time someone does test for that sort of thing, the result is either inconclusive or conclusively no difference. When they do find a difference, invariably it falls apart due to bad experiment design.

        • (Score: 2) by Kell on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:57AM

          by Kell (292) on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:57AM (#52823)

          Unfortunately, you are not correct. FMRI, CT and autopsies have all identified distinct (albeit minor) structural differences in the brains of each gender, and bloodtests readily differentiate the hormonal balance in which the neurons are operating. There is strong evidence that brains of different genders (and even orientations) have variability; we have no problem accepting that men are hairier, or stockier than women, so why would we expect their brains to be absolutely identical?

          --
          Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
          • (Score: 2) by skullz on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:23AM

            by skullz (2532) on Sunday June 08 2014, @02:23AM (#52830)

            Absolutely. But I'm talking about big movements like language, coding, or how kids play. While boy and girl brains may have structural or hormonal differences there is no statistical difference in how they function in daily tasks.

            • (Score: 2) by urza9814 on Monday June 09 2014, @11:16PM

              by urza9814 (3954) on Monday June 09 2014, @11:16PM (#53455) Journal

              Absolutely. But I'm talking about big movements like language, coding, or how kids play. While boy and girl brains may have structural or hormonal differences there is no statistical difference in how they function in daily tasks.

              Actually, there is. [columbiaconsult.com] Granted, most of the actual tests were on babies and infants so they're hardly complex skills to us...but how else are you going to eliminate possible cultural differences?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @05:41AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @05:41AM (#52876)

            Brains are plastic. All of these analyses are after the fact - after the brain has been subject to the developmental pressures of social stereotyping. When that is accounted for, the differences recede to the trivial. [time.com]

        • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:40AM

          by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:40AM (#52859)
          "There is no conclusive evidence that differences in the "hormonal bath" have an effect that would manifest in consistently different levels of cognitive ability."

          Actually there was a study done that found that men process spatial acuity better than women do. I actually work in an industry where this could potentially make a difference. (If the number of men and women where I work was closer to 50/50 I'd share my anecdotal evidence of if that actually makes a difference.)
          --
          🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @05:33AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @05:33AM (#52873)

            > Actually there was a study done that found that men process spatial acuity better than women do.

            And there was also a study [economist.com] that found it had nothing to do with the "hormonal bath" and everything to do with experience. That's the way these things always turn out, naive and poorly designed experiments confirm stereotypes, more thoughtful analysis shows otherwise.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:10AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:10AM (#53127)

              In your opinion. FTFY.

    • (Score: 2) by bradley13 on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:15PM

      by bradley13 (3053) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:15PM (#52722) Homepage Journal

      Boy's and girl's brains are functionally identical... There is no such thing as "boys interests" or "girls interests"

      That's certainly the PC line. Unfortunately for you, it's not true. Both men and women have a very broad spectrum of possible development, with lots of overlap. However, on average, there are differences. Give a small boy a set of dolls - on average, he's more likely to see if their heads come off, rather than to have a tea party with them.

      Please google "brain development gender" (three words, not a single phrase), and start browsing. Boys and girls do, in fact, develop differently; the brain is part of the person and subject to the same hormonal and genetic difference as the rest of the body. It would be rather amazing if boys and girls didn't have difference in (average) brain development.

      Men and women don't have different interests, people have different interests. Ability is up to the individual, not the gender.

      Here, we can agree. If gender differences lead to different tendencies - more men in some professions, more women in others - why should this be a problem? Just treat each person as an individual, allow people to do what they like and are good at.

      Personal example: I have a son who chose a career in child care. This is hardly a traditional male profession, but it's what he likes and is good at. If a woman wants to work on an oil rig - hardly a traditional female profession - fine for her.

      --
      Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
      • (Score: 4, Informative) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:30PM

        by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:30PM (#52731)

        Here is a good summary [nytimes.com]

        That men and women differ in certain respects is unassailable. Unfortunately, the continuing belief in "categorical differences" - men are aggressive, women are caring — reinforces traditional stereotypes by treating certain behaviors as immutable. And, it turns out, this belief is based on a scientifically indefensible model of human behavior.

        As the psychologist Cordelia Fine explains in her book "Delusions of Gender," the influence of one kind of categorical thinking, neurosexism — justifying differential treatment by citing differences in neural anatomy or function - spills over to educational and employment disparities, family relations and arguments about same-sex institutions.

        So of course there are differences but not enough to say "girls are good at X, boys are good at Y"

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:41AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:41AM (#52819)

        > Please google "brain development gender"

        Any time you find yourself telling the person on the other side of the argument to go research and prove your point for you, the likelihood of you simply being wrong nears 100%

        > Personal example:

        Anecdotes are not data, especially when it comes to the social sciences which are always invariably about trends.

      • (Score: 2) by BasilBrush on Sunday June 08 2014, @07:42PM

        by BasilBrush (3994) on Sunday June 08 2014, @07:42PM (#53012)

        "Boy's and girl's brains are functionally identical... There is no such thing as "boys interests" or "girls interests""
        That's certainly the PC line.

        It's not the "PC" line. It's not even the line of mainstream feminists. The line is that women they should have equal opportunities and rewards to men. Not that they are the same.

         

        --
        Hurrah! Quoting works now!
    • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:34AM

      by kaszz (4211) on Sunday June 08 2014, @01:34AM (#52816) Journal

      > Boy's and girl's brains are functionally identical

      WRONG!

      Have look at some high definition fiber tracking [wikipedia.org] and you will have a revelation. You most likely also get the insight that there are way more variations than boys and girls.

      Being able to do the same task does not equate to being inclined to do the same task.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:32AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @06:32AM (#52884)

        > Have look at some high definition fiber tracking and you will have a revelation.

        Ugh, yet another "go google it" defense that is really an admission of being wrong. You even made the effort to link to something, but you couldn't actually link to something that supported your point. As if typing "high definition fiber tracking" into google didn't bring up that wikipedia link as the 2nd hit.

        Furthermore your whole premise is a fallacy- that the existence of a specific difference in the brain for a specific purpose results in a significant difference in an unrelated area. It is exactly the same thinking that says having blonde hair makes people dumber.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:13AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 09 2014, @04:13AM (#53129)

          Funny how you beat on the "go Google it" yet you offer no evidence or backing of your own probably-false opinions.

  • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:54PM

    by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Saturday June 07 2014, @06:54PM (#52702) Journal

    This is frankly sexist as hell, since it all boils down to the middle ages notion of "women are just men with inverted penises" bullshit. Ignoring the fact that there are some things men like, like programming, versus subjects that women tend to like more, like languages, is trying to treat us like we are all clones with interchangeable genitals and time and time again has shown this not to be the case. As long as there is nothing stopping a woman from choosing this path if they want to that should be the end of that.

    --
    ACs are never seen so don't bother. Always ready to show SJWs for the racists they are.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by skullz on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:04PM

      by skullz (2532) on Saturday June 07 2014, @07:04PM (#52714)

      middle ages notion of "women are just men with inverted penises" bullshit

      As far as tech and brain function is concerned there is no real difference between men and women. The studies that showed brain differences have not been able to be reproduced (the scientific gold standard) so we are left with man = woman = human. Men don't like coding more than women. Women don't like languages more than men. Woman are not better multitaskers than men. That's all bunk.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:24PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @12:24PM (#52927)

        If the studies couldn't find differences then the authors suck at designing studies. Maybe they should have got female researchers to design them.
        That all humans share equal mental abilities on average regardless of genetic background, goes against everything we know about genetics.
        A theory that preposterous requires demonstrating beyond a doubt that the opposite is false rather than relying on the absence of evidence against it.
        If you want to believe that a Jew called Jesus, whose mother was impregnated by an all-powerful being, died, resurrected, and then went on to write a book containing all his best moments a few centuries after his death, you are free to do so, but I am going to need some pretty good evidence.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @10:20PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @10:20PM (#53049)

          If you want to believe that a Jew called Jesus, whose mother was impregnated by an all-powerful being, died, resurrected, and then went on to write a book containing all his best moments a few centuries after his death, you are free to do so, but I am going to need some pretty good evidence.

          For the believer, no evidence is necessary. For the skeptic, no amount of evidence is sufficient.
          -- 'Three Proofs: That God Exists' by Walt Runkis
          http://booklocker.com/books/3881.html [booklocker.com] (Paywall to full eBook)
          http://assets.booklocker.com/pdfs/3881s.pdf [booklocker.com] (Excerpt -- ELECTRIFYING!!!)

  • (Score: 2) by Tork on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:33AM

    by Tork (3914) Subscriber Badge on Sunday June 08 2014, @04:33AM (#52854)
    "Men and woman have different interests and trying to force men's interests on women in the name of equality is both moronic and immoral."

    I wish I lived in this non-fascist world you're talking about. I hated taking Latin classes!
    --
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @08:10AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 08 2014, @08:10AM (#52898)

    "trying to force men's interests on women"

    You come to this discussion already biased that "programming is for men." This inherent sexism you bring builds the barriers that keep women out. Unfortunately, women do not leave programming because it is "man's work" as you would believe, they leave because they have to deal with men like you who create a hostile environment that forces us out with your narrow, uninformed world views. What's worse you have the audacity to hide behind "they aren't interested" rather than own your shit and realize you're one of the clueless privileged mass of insecure dudebros who violently defend their turf.