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  1. #201
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  2. #202
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Is it because they have no interest?
    Is it because they have no talent?
    Or is it because they don't want to get felt up at conferences?
    I'm not sure I shun IT, but it isn't my field and I do have self-doubts about my ability in it. The only experience with "programming" I have is taking Visual Basic as my language requirement in my doctorate. I found that loop-hole in the composition requirements and knew the professors who did the regular language requirements made it almost impossible to pass. It wasn't much experience, but I guess I learned relatively quickly from what the professor told me.

    With technology I have trouble getting my head around the big picture, and so I learn specific paths to follow but never feel comfortable operating in a familiar manner. In my profession I have the big picture and so can function intuitively and apply concepts in many contexts and have a feeling of continual invention. I'm not good at remembering details and so can feel anxiety about programming and technology. There are a lot of details in music, but I can move from the overall, vague, big picture towards the details in my process. My impression of programming is that if every detail is not accurate it doesn't work at all, and so I don't know how to apply my natural process to it. My feeling is that it isn't my best talent, that my potential is maybe average, and so I look to other fields where I have more confidence.

    There is an outside feeling of it being a male-dominated field, but that would not deter me because I chose another male-dominated field and have almost gotten felt-up at conferences which is horrible. Although I also play an instrument in a female-dominated discipline, so it balances out and provides an interesting perspective.
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  3. #203
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    I don't want to minimize the points of the stories that you've brought up, Salome, that relate to discrimination and/or the "horny teenage boy" work environments, because I know that those do exist (even though I've not seen that firsthand). In my own office, I once had a friend at work who, upon returning from her maternity leave, discovered that she had been transferred (without her consultation) from a job that she liked into another job that she had no interest in and didn't like. She left not long thereafter (to another job in IT). I'll mention that the manager who did this to her was herself a woman - not that it matters, but to bring up the point that there are women who perpetuate these sorts of lousy workplace behaviors against other women too. And often they have less worry about facing (warranted) consequences for doing so than a man would.

    That's not really the point of my post though... the point of my post is that there are a lot of things about a job in IT that suck, for anyone, and that in (US) culture, in this day and age, women, particularly married women, generally have more choices when it comes to putting up with (or not putting up with, as the case may be) the gender-agnostic issues when it comes to IT work -- and it's not a surprise than anyone, men or women, would choose to avoid them. Want to be on call 24/7? Want to be the scapegoat for anything that goes wrong? Want to continually be responsible to people who don't understand what you do, and minimize the importance of your contributions? Want to continually be a second-class citizen to sales, marketing, etc.-- even when you have more experience, more knowledge, and good ideas? Want to be continually peppered with expectations to fix others' mistakes -- mistakes that they have made many times before, have been taught how not to make, and yet do so anyway out of willful ignorance... and have it be considered *your* fault? Want to be told that you have to work full-time, yet also work nights and evenings to do major portions of your job so as not to inconvenience those same folks who drive you crazy? Many jobs probably have some of this - but in my experience IT is just chock-full of this sort of thing.

    Generally, in the terms of having both social and financial freedom to choose not to work, or to work part-time, or to work in a job that allows for more flexibility and freedom, I think the hierarchy generally goes like this:

    1. Married Men - have the least freedom
    2. Single people on their own (men and women)
    3. Married Women - have the most freedom

    Note that I am *not* saying that women in IT, or any other career, deserve the sort of poor treatment that your arguments and examples have pointed out. I'm saying that, in my experience, more women than men - once they're in a permanent, live-in relationship - have the option to say no, or the option to say "I'd rather do something else". My sample size isn't terribly huge, but I know many, many more women who have chosen to cut back on corporate, out-of-house work after getting married / having kids than men who have done the same. If we're talking sheer numbers of "women who leave IT", this may be an additional factor -- especially as one of the articles above mentions that this tends to happen 10-15 years into an IT career. Which is definitely burnout time, *and* the time that many people tend to have families, etc. (I'm thinking early-30's, 10 yrs post-college).

    Clearly women who choose to work in IT should get the same treatment and consideration that male employees do. Clearly that does not happen everywhere, and where that's true, changes should happen. But if we're talking sheer numbers here, and not workplace environments, etc., could those numbers not be influenced by other, non-discriminatory factors too?
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  4. #204
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    There are no links to the study, just by reading the article it sounds like they are not really using the right econometrics and statistics: the sample for girls going to all-girls school is much smaller, which mean that repeating the study wil likely result in higher variablity. Plus, all-girls school generally contain a smaller sub-section of the whole population that mixed-gender school: there is no way to know in which way the causality actually runs, even if the original educational scores were similar (just an example: girls that are willing to accept going to a same-sex school might be on average more coscentious, or introverted).
    Yes, at a minimum this study does not appear to have controlled other variables very well. Many factors could influence the performance of students at a girls' school other than the absence of boys.

    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    Plus, same-sex school may perhaps lead to better grades, but if they teach home economics (as you said before) instead of going to the lab, it won't improve their access to STEM subjects.
    I am in a STEM field, and was required to learn machining, partly to make components for use, but just as much because it would help me be a better designer of parts and systems. Home-ec can be taught with significant chemistry and biology emphases, but at least in the U.S., it is not.


    Quote Originally Posted by FDG View Post
    It's really not clear how now, in 2012, women are actively discouraged or prevented towards choosing a STEM university subject. It is clear how they are still victim of a general negative attitude in the workplace when it comes to being hired and obtaining raises, though.
    Women are "passively" discouraged from these fields still, by an undercurrent of assumptions, expectations, and even the backdrop of popular culture. And some out-and-out bigots still remain.[/QUOTE]

    The last article Salome quoted contained a few facts, assuming it is correct:

    "Fifty-six percent of women in technology companies leave their organizations at the mid-level point, 10-20 years in their careers," said Catherine Ashcraft, the senior research scientist who authored the report.

    In 2008, women held only 25 percent of all professional IT-related jobs, down from 36 percent in 1991, according to the group's report, "Women in IT: The Facts."

    The report shows about half the women who leave science, engineering and tech jobs continue to use their technology skills, either starting their own companies or finding positions in government or nonprofits. The others, however, say goodbye to their extensive training, taking non-tech jobs or leaving the work force completely.
    This raises as many questions as it answers. Did the percentage of all STEM jobs held by women go down since 1991, or just IT jobs? If so, why? What percentage of men leave technology companies at the mid-level point? Do many of them apply their skills elsewhere, like the "half of women who leave" STEM jobs? Without such a comparison, this might just reflect the mobility of the workforce, and the fact that a certain amount of people -- men and women -- will get fed up with the IT environment eventually.

    Kelric raised an interesting point about the greater flexibility women still have over how and whether to remain in the workforce. This is part of the unspoken assumptions I mentioned before. It is still acceptable for a woman to let a partner support her, and still much less so for a man. Still, it is unclear why women in STEM jobs would be more eager to exercise these options than those in, say, finance or law.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  5. #205
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fia View Post
    I'm not sure I shun IT, but it isn't my field and I do have self-doubts about my ability in it. The only experience with "programming" I have is taking Visual Basic as my language requirement in my doctorate. I found that loop-hole in the composition requirements and knew the professors who did the regular language requirements made it almost impossible to pass. It wasn't much experience, but I guess I learned relatively quickly from what the professor told me.

    With technology I have trouble getting my head around the big picture, and so I learn specific paths to follow but never feel comfortable operating in a familiar manner. In my profession I have the big picture and so can function intuitively and apply concepts in many contexts and have a feeling of continual invention. I'm not good at remembering details and so can feel anxiety about programming and technology. There are a lot of details in music, but I can move from the overall, vague, big picture towards the details in my process. My impression of programming is that if every detail is not accurate it doesn't work at all, and so I don't know how to apply my natural process to it. My feeling is that it isn't my best talent, that my potential is maybe average, and so I look to other fields where I have more confidence.

    There is an outside feeling of it being a male-dominated field, but that would not deter me because I chose another male-dominated field and have almost gotten felt-up at conferences which is horrible. Although I also play an instrument in a female-dominated discipline, so it balances out and provides an interesting perspective.
    This is in part, a misunderstanding of what IT entails. Programming and attention to detail is only a tiny part of it. "Big Picture" or right-brained skills are every bit as critical (I would argue, more so). But you are right to assume that IT is full of detail freaks, esp at the lower levels.

    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    Generally, in the terms of having both social and financial freedom to choose not to work, or to work part-time, or to work in a job that allows for more flexibility and freedom, I think the hierarchy generally goes like this:

    1. Married Men - have the least freedom
    2. Single people on their own (men and women)
    3. Married Women - have the most freedom
    What makes you think single people have less compulsion to work than married men? A married man may be supported by a spouse. Who is going to support the single person?
    But if we're talking sheer numbers here, and not workplace environments, etc., could those numbers not be influenced by other, non-discriminatory factors too?
    So disproportionately? Not really.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    The last article Salome quoted contained a few facts, assuming it is correct:
    This raises as many questions as it answers. Did the percentage of all STEM jobs held by women go down since 1991, or just IT jobs? If so, why? What percentage of men leave technology companies at the mid-level point? Do many of them apply their skills elsewhere, like the "half of women who leave" STEM jobs? Without such a comparison, this might just reflect the mobility of the workforce, and the fact that a certain amount of people -- men and women -- will get fed up with the IT environment eventually.
    If you'd bothered to read the study, some of your questions would have been answered. I have to wonder at your knee-jerk dismissal of any material I present. You clearly *think* you are being objective. You're clearly not.
    In 2003, only one-third of women with a computer science bachelor’s degree were still employed in a science, engineering, or technical (SET) job two years after graduation.
    According to a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy, 74 percent of women in technology report “loving their work,” yet these women leave their careers at a staggering rate: 56 percent of technical women leave at the “mid-level” point just when the loss of their talent is most costly to companies. This is more than double the quit rate for men. It is also higher than the quit rate for women in science and engineering.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  6. #206
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    This has been an interesting, and surprising thread. I had no idea IT had started losing women. I've been with the same company for 10 years, have a female boss, and about 50% of my group are women, so I've been in a bubble of sorts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    What makes you think single people have less compulsion to work than married men? A married man may be supported by a spouse. Who is going to support the single person?
    I think that single men have less compulsion to work than married men. When you get down to it, a man doesn't really have to do much work these days to support himself. A low paying job, a video game console, some roommates, and either learning PUA or watching porn, and he has himself set up for a serviceable, if ultimately unsatisfactory, existence. When a man feels he has a wife and children depending on him, he's going to push himself harder to support them. At least, in general.

    While I'm not as sure, I doubt the same applies to single women.

  7. #207
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    A low-paying job is still a job...
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  8. #208
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    True, but single men seem more likely to only work enough to support their minimal needs. They are pretty free when it comes to how to earn that bare minimum salary, and seem more and more likely to take advantage of that.

    I do admit, I'm not sure what we'd see if we compare single men to men who married women who earn enough to support both partners, though.

  9. #209
    Feline Member kelric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    Generally, in the terms of having both social and financial freedom to choose not to work, or to work part-time, or to work in a job that allows for more flexibility and freedom, I think the hierarchy generally goes like this:

    1. Married Men - have the least freedom
    2. Single people on their own (men and women)
    3. Married Women - have the most freedom
    What makes you think single people have less compulsion to work than married men? A married man may be supported by a spouse. Who is going to support the single person?

    Quote Originally Posted by kelric View Post
    But if we're talking sheer numbers here, and not workplace environments, etc., could those numbers not be influenced by other, non-discriminatory factors too?
    So disproportionately? Not really.
    With respect to single people, the point that you made was what I was getting at. Single people, men and women, *are* generally responsible for themselves. They have to work (outside the home, for an employer or self-employed serving clients). Married men, on the other hand, to a much larger extent than married women, tend to be responsible for financially supporting both themselves *and others*. They've got more to lose if they choose to leave a job, or to take one that's less stressful / more enjoyable that pays less. My hypothesis was that married men would have a harder time leaving jobs with deleterious characteristics than married women or single people of either gender - especially if the pay tended to be greater than elsewhere -- something that's likely true for a lot of IT jobs. Of course this would apply for a woman who provided the bulk of the financial support for her family too -- but there are fewer women in that position, where the woman works for pay full time, and the man stays at home or works part-time.

    I would add a caveat that single parents (of either gender, and I'd believe that there are more women in that position than men) supporting children may be at the very top of the "can't possibly quit my job" stress-meter category.

    In general, my thought was that trying to attribute decreasing numbers of women in IT is quite likely more complicated than "IT workplaces are hostile to women (IT men are pigs)". That's very likely a factor, and in some organizations, a dominant one. But I doubt that it's the only reason, or even the primary reason in society as a whole. Just throwing out ideas.
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  10. #210
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    What makes you think single people have less compulsion to work than married men? A married man may be supported by a spouse. Who is going to support the single person?
    Their parents, or even personal savings. Young people are taking longer to move out on their own due to the current economic problems, and those lucky enough to have accumulated some savings before being laid off are having to spend it down to tide them over until they are rehired. I know some married men who have been supported by their wives, but even when this resulted from dire necessity, they were viewed as unfortunate or even lazy underachievers. My SO’s sister supported her husband through a period of unemployment and disability, and some of the relatives considered him a freeloader, not doing his share. Had the situation been reversed, they would have considered him responsible and her just doing the best she could.

    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    If you'd bothered to read the study, some of your questions would have been answered. I have to wonder at your knee-jerk dismissal of any material I present. You clearly *think* you are being objective. You're clearly not.
    The study you referenced in your reply is different from the one referenced in the link I was commenting on. If you think it would add to the discussion, please provide a link. (Was this the same study FDG mentioned as lacking a link?) I searched online for the corporate author and found a long list of studies related to women in the workforce, several mentioning technology jobs. (1) Which is the right one, and (2) where can I actually read it? I found links only for purchasing a copy. In any case, my questions were prompted by the article you linked in post 201, which does not answer them. This article referenced a different study, from the National Center for Women and Information Technology. It would be interesting to compare the findings of the two studies.

    Reading a posted reference and asking specific questions about it is a funny definition of "kneejerk dismissal". One might wonder what your motivation is in starting and developing this thread at all. Is it really to gain greater understanding of why women avoid or eventually leave the IT field? Or do you have some other less obvious agenda? If anyone has demonstrated kneejerk dismissal of others' contributions, combined with a tendency toward subjective devaluation and outright namecalling, it is you.

    This is a shame, since I find the topic interesting, timely, and important. I have observed the same trends as you, from the perspective of a different STEM discipline, and have been asking myself some of these same questions for years. I would prefer to be able to exchange information and insights with a minimum of extraneous drama, so I can understand the precipitous downtrend in IT better, and perhaps even the lag of physics and engineering behind fields like chemistry and math among careers chosen by women.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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