5 Lessons From a 1970s Female Programmer

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5 Lessons From a 1970s Female Programmer

Postby Tesseracts » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:43 pm

Christina H wrote a good article providing some perspective on the lack of female computer people that NPR reported on a few weeks back. When the article first came out I posted it in the TIL thread, and the discussion split off into this thread, which is mostly confusing derailments that would take too much effort to sort into a coherent discussion. However, I actually want people to read this post I wrote in that thread, because I think it's a decent summary of where I think sexism comes from.

Christina H's article explains how cultural expectations for women held her mother back, but she eventually succeeded. It doesn't beat you over the head with feminism like some other articles do though. Apparently, the gender gap in other STEM fields is closing, but computer science is an anomaly because gender equality is actually regressing. I find this perplexing, why would women go into other fields that require a similar skillset and way of thinking, but avoid this one? I think the legacy of gender stereotypes is probably to blame. Apparently computers are not considered a man thing in Chinese culture, so I wonder if there is actually a greater proportion of Chinese immigrant women in computers than there are native born Americans.
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Re: 5 Lessons From a 1970s Female Programmer

Postby NotCIAAgent » Sat Nov 29, 2014 8:55 pm

I wonder, tough, what makes society think computer is an area where women shouldn't be, while other scientific fields are for everyone.

Are computers any more complex than DNA in a cell? Than the projections of a building? The blueprints of a machine? Women are getting space on all fields, but this one. Why?

I don't really know, we should first investigate the reason why women are growing on the other fields. One of the reasons (not sure how significant it is) is that in some places, men are getting less and less degrees and usually sticking to menial jobs, like in the United Kingdom. Maybe programming still takes its pool from hobbyists, where man are still the majority?

And why are men the majority on computers? Are those 80s advertisements to blame? We hardly see gendered computer adds nowadays, IF we see them. The market isn't exactly competitive, is Apple trying to be artsy, Microsoft trying to be practical. But adds even shape society, or society shape adds? Will I make any actual statement on this comment, or just keep making provocative questions?

We don't have the answers yet, but I think it was an good article (even though I am having a very bad case of headache), and I believe the more studies we have on those matters, the closer we will get to getting the answer on how much of that is sexism.
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Re: 5 Lessons From a 1970s Female Programmer

Postby Jack Road » Sun Nov 30, 2014 1:30 pm

I thought better about what I was going to say, and decided to post this picture instead.

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Although out of context for this thread, this picture is much better than what I was going to say.
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