[Pdx-pm] Ask For It

Peter Scott Peter at PSDT.com
Thu Jan 15 17:57:18 PST 2009

At 02:35 PM 1/15/2009, Addie M wrote:
>I do think, though, that the trend of women not "succeeding" as much 
>as men in computing and other fields (business etc) because they 
>aren't as aggressive or willing to sell themselves is indicative of 
>exactly why women aren't in the field in the first place.  An 
>environment that rewards this stereotypically masculine behavior is 
>very off-putting or daunting to many women.  Countless studies have 
>shown that the hyper-masculine culture of computing is the core cause 
>of women's underrepresentation in the field.  I consider myself a 
>mostly androgynous person - due to my upbringing I show some strong 
>masculine traits, but I also reflect (and embrace) a tremendous amount 
>of my upbringing as a female, which includes a strong interest in 
>politeness and a general aversion to the traits that drive negotiators 
>(unfortunately, people with feminine upbringings don't rule the 
>business world). [...]
>I'm willing to change myself a bit to accomodate the culture, but the 
>culture has not changed at all to accomodate me, and that's why "the 
>sooner they learn this stuff, the better off we all will be!" hit a 
>wrong note with me.  Until there's a little give on each side, expect 
>to see a persistent lack of diversity in this field.

I also have to agree with this almost totally.  Frankly, I have the 
same reaction to many people in the business, i.e., that I have a 
strong interest in politeness and am frequently put off by pervasive 
aggressive negotiating.  Although I find the aggression more a business 
trait than a geek trait.

Since I may have a longer horizon than some, I will say that I have 
seen considerable change in the culture since my CS undergrad class in 
1981 when there were 3 women in a field of 120, and when I started 
attending trade shows in 1984 and virtually the only women in sight 
were behind booth counters (or atop podia...).  Not enough change, not 
fast enough, but still, in the right direction.
Peter Scott
Pacific Systems Design Technologies

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