This is a bit of a rant that I need to get out of my system; it comes in two parts:
From Greg Wilson this morning:
[snip] it’s easy to see that fewer women go into Computer Science than men. What’s not easy to see is that the dropout rate among female students is higher than it is among males. This has nothing to do with intelligence, grades, or ability to do the work (and yes, there’s data to back that statement up). Instead, as many studies have shown (see for example Margolis and Fisher’s excllent Unlocking the Clubhouse), women are more likely to be made to feel that they don’t belong, or that computing isn’t for them.
I am so so tired of the debate! I am a woman and I work in the software industry. I am not interested in having anyone make the industry welcoming or whatever. I understand Greg’s points and the discourse and the importance of respect, and the importance of his post for new students (and people in general)…. but… I am here because I am absolutely passionate about what I do and the software industry. You could play "slap my bitch around" all you want, 24 hours a day, you ain’t getting rid of me. I love the software industry! Everywhere I go in the industry, I realize that the industry is male dominated; my meetings are held with men, my negotiations are done with men, I manage teams of men, conferences I attend hardly have any women as speakers or attendees (with a few exceptions) but… I don’t notice my colleagues’ gender, I notice their passion, their interest, their expertise… I don’t know how to get more women in the software industry but I can tell you one thing: you don’t get from here to there by asking the boys to play nice: you get there by working harder, playing harder, getting bloody fantastic mentors to guide you, you build a network, you join the boysclub, you join the girlsclub, you work from within, you work from outside, you give and take and most importantly you stand tall and roll up your sleeves. That’s just about what you would do in any industry!
If you are passoniate about what you want to learn in Computer Science get to it regardless of whatever is around you or whatever or whomever is trying to make you feel unwelcome – they are irrelevant.
Follow your passion (no matter what).
The software industry is an amazing industry and I have found it to be extremely supportive. For every one person you will find who is going to put you down (as a woman in this field) – or at least attempt to do that – there are 99 who will extend a helping hand if you need it. Seek the 99, ignore the one.
Got a company to run so I can’t spend much time ranting!