Skip to main content


(Click to enlarge)

A dust-up has been ensuing in the tech community over various tweets and statements made by the now-former Chief Technology Officer at Business Insider, Pax Dickinson. To make a long story short, Dickinson has displayed hostility -- often crassly -- to those who would like to make the industry a more hospitable place for women. It is obvious that this sort of rhetoric contributes to the lack of women in tech and unhappiness of women in tech, but I'll let these Slate and Washington Post articles explain more.

Get a signed print of this cartoon from the artist. Follow Jen on Twitter at @JenSorensen.

Originally posted to Comics on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Dickinson (14+ / 0-)

    Almost like a parody name in real life. Especially for how the guy acted.

    "If this Studebaker had anymore Atomic Space-Age Style, you'd have to be an astronaut with a geiger counter!"

    by Stude Dude on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 07:15:08 AM PDT

  •  As I happen to be a "techie" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, northsylvania, wesmorgan1, phenry

    I find the Slate article to be a little misleading.  Sure there are misogynists in the tech world, but no more so than in other industries.  In fact, team work is so important in engineering that people who cannot work in a team are often replaced; they are ousted in favor of people who can, no matter what their race or gender.

    Mr. "Dickinson" has more in common with an executive than the average grunt so I think trying to condemn or categorize the tech-world with his behavior is a little specious.

    •  I have been fortunate to choose great workplaces (16+ / 0-)

      Not all my friends have been so lucky.

      The story that really curls my hair is from an Asian woman who is one of the smartest and most amazing people I have ever had the privilege to know. She was the only woman in the room at a company dinner when her boss started talking about his preferences in Asian prostitutes - which countries and cities had the best ones, and in some detail. She was sitting next to him.

      Needless to say, she started looking for a new job immediately and quit as soon as she could.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:16:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think what troubles me most (8+ / 0-)

      is that you'd have NSFW content at a professional conference, a conference where you had - quite wonderfully and appropriately - a 9 year old female presenter showing her impressive work.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:18:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm a techie, too... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55

      ...whose immediate teams have been roughly 60-40 in gender balance over the years.

      ...whose second- and third-line managment is female.

      ...whose employer is led by a female CEO.

      I agree we need to make a clear distinction between grunts and management; they are two separate worlds.

      The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

      by wesmorgan1 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:41:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55

      I worked in tech for a decade. Sure, we were a mostly male bunch of geeks and our language could be very filthy, but we never behaved in misogynistic ways. My team would have had serious trouble without the help and input of many women in the department. And some of those women could have kicked our asses if we had gotten out of line.

      I think this is more of an executive problem than a "Tech" problem.

      •  Used to get to work early in the morning (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        milkbone, JBL55

        just to exchange dirty jokes with one of the guys in my department before the "suits" came in. Nothing racist or misogynistic -- just dirty. (Still miss those mornings -- Mondays instead of telling jokes he'd talk about hitting the antique stores with his partner.) Got no objection to language as long as it's consensual.

        But there is an issue with some guys in tech -- there's still a lot of "No Girlz Alowed" on the clubhouse doors in some sectors. It's seen a lot in the video game community, where anyone who even suggests that we get away from the stereotypical hunky male/busty female tropes gets blasted in social media.

        There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

        by Cali Scribe on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:15:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  never worked in video games (0+ / 0-)

          I worked on Point of Sale systems. Maybe it is a different environment

        •  Well, hang on a second... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rick Aucoin, nathantyree
          But there is an issue with some guys in tech -- there's still a lot of "No Girlz Alowed" on the clubhouse doors in some sectors. It's seen a lot in the video game community, where anyone who even suggests that we get away from the stereotypical hunky male/busty female tropes gets blasted in social media.
          Let's not conflate the yahoos in the "video game community" at large (i.e. social media) with the developers behind the scenes.  You should also consider the sales/marketing aspect of it, which is most assuredly not a tech issue; sex sells, in most cases, regardless of the product.

          The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

          by wesmorgan1 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 10:36:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it's just him (11+ / 0-)

      Yeah, techie here, too. And a girl one, of course.

      Most of the time, there's no issues with the men I work with, but hostility in this field isn't just through "dirty" jokes, leering (which happens way more than I"d care to discuss) or the more overt touching and advances. For me and a lot of women I know in tech it's the condescension, cause how could a girl be a coder? I hate the don't worry about that, I'll handle it comments, as if asking for help or someone peer review your code means an inability to do anything at all. My favorite is always, well, it's just easier if I do it.

      I've heard all of this. I find the don't worry your pretty little head kind of comments the worst. And the ridiculous comments about how I'd be much more useful as a project manager, you know, because there's so much to keep up on in Tech. No, really?

      Problem is, I never hear a guy say this to another guy. I just don't hear it. I don't see guys treat other guys like they're incompetent or helpless, they're peers. At this point, I've proven myself time and time again as a developer, I don't think I should have to anymore, and yet, there it is. It's at work, it's at conferences, it's just there, and you don't have to look hard to find it, often, you just have to wait, and the patronizing just oozes out.

      I think it's better now, then it was just 5 years ago, but that just isn't good enough. And to be honest, I'm just tired of it.

      •  me too (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JBL55, a gilas girl

        only a generation older. It is a "guy" culture, which you should have noticed in your college/tech school classes. Think of yourself as an ethologist among the baboons; study their behaviour and social interactions. Then use it. Quick suggestions: Never show weakness. Never ask co-workers for help (develop your own outside resources.) Be dominant in discussions, talk over others if you are right. Have a very large male friend pick you up from work a few times a week (this stops the sexual stuff cold.) OK, you don't want to live like that? 2 choices: Fight your way up the chain and then hire a lot of other women or - give up and be a secretary. Hang in there. I did it when NO other women were around. You can do it.

        •  Perhaps this is good advice, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sngmama, Hastur, Bendygirl, kurt

          but I must confess to being greatly disheartened that we're still talking about this kind of crap well into the second decade of the 21st century.

          ::sigh::

          Not much more to say than that.

          ::sigh::

          Welcome from the DK Partners & Mentors Team. If you have any questions about how to participate here, you can learn more at the Knowledge Base or from the New Diarists Resources Diaries. Diaries labeled "Open Thread" are also great places to ask. We look forward to your contributions.

          Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

          by a gilas girl on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 01:34:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Aren't any secretaries any more. (0+ / 0-)

          Everything we do is really just a little marker on the long road to death -- Joss Whedon

          by OnePingOnly on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 03:48:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm open sourcey (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt

          so peer review is really important. But the attitude toward it just makes me feel like I'm some sort of helpless wilting flower. I'm not. But the attitude I get from the guys sure can make you feel that way. Happily, I haven't had to deal with any sexual advances. I hear the stories from other women. And probably 90% of the men I work with are fine, most of the time. And the women who came before me, who blazed the trail, I'm so grateful to all of them. Amazing women like Angie Byron, Addison Berry. Karen McGrane and thousands and thousands more, they make my life today, much much easier, and they're now peers of mine, too. I can't imagine what it was like 30 years ago.

      •  Yup (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JBL55, a gilas girl, sngmama, elfling, Hastur

        The men who constantly are replying to posts like this with 'it's no more of a problem in tech than it is anywhere else' are ... optimists. Let's just say. Who, because they work in tech and haven't really noticed anything, think that there isn't anything to notice.

        I wish the men who say stuff like that would actually, instead, go to a woman colleague and ask her if she has noticed them. Ask her if she thinks she's been discriminated against in hiring, pay, or otherwise because she's a woman. Ask her if she feels that the men in the group treat her differently because she's a woman. (Not just 'is it TERRIBLE!' but 'is it present at all?') Ask her if she feels that she feels constrained to behave/dress/perform in a particular way, when she sees few similar constraints on men.

        I've talked to women in the industry, and I haven't yet met one who lacked stories on this subject. And I've certainly seen some of that behavior myself (and have to keep a sharp eye on myself to make sure I'm not engaging in it, alas). Not a lot of it in my last couple of gigs, but that's partly because of the depressingly low number of women at either of those companies in technical roles, and partly because the ones that were there tended to be the type who didn't put up with that shit for very long. But one can't expect every woman in the world to be self-confident enough, and confident enough in their manager/employer backing them up, to call out bullshit, especially unconscious bullshit where the person in question doesn't even think they're doing anything sexist at all.

        •  managers (0+ / 0-)

          hit that one on the head. If not for my union, I don't know what I would have done. I have folks tell me all the time how amazing my resume is, for my dev skills, and then, they offer me jobs for writing. Not writing documentation for tech projects, but answering congressional letters or managing responses to requests. Are you kidding me? I've actually built sites, coded web pages and you only see me as useful in what was once a secretarial position? Seriously, the worst part for me of being a woman in tech is having to prove my self over and over and over and over again. I'm so tired of having to do this for every man I have to work with. Next hackathon I organize, sure would be nice if it was all women. But then again, we aren't even that nice to each other, either.

      •  I wish I could rec this 1000x. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jen Sorensen, Bendygirl

        Geek girl here too, and have had much the same experience over the last 30 years in the industry (as well as far more blatant and egregious sexism and harassment that I should have gone to the EEOC about).

        I even actually had a (male) co-worker once admit to me that if he got a new male subordinate, he assumed they were OK until they proved they were an idiot. And it that sub was a woman, why of course she was an idiot until she proved she wasn't.

        And then there was the prof in college who said outright that I was taking the space of a more deserving man.

        I think it's actually getting worse, because young women look at the toxic environment in the field and say, "Why would I want to subject myself to that?" Can't say I blame 'em, either.

        I’m tired of sacrificing lives on the altar of the Second Amendment. - Mark Damico

        by Hastur on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 04:41:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  lol (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55, sngmama, Hastur, Jen Sorensen

      As another "techie", I disagree completely.  

      Yes, people who can't "work in a team" are ousted -- but sometimes, "can't work in a team" is code for "didn't laugh at my sexist joke", or "didn't bring me coffee despite her job being to program".  Or even just "was too assertive in meetings" when the meetings were shouting free-for-alls because the entire team was full of people who liked to hear themselves talk.  Yet the only person whose behavior is reported as a problem is the one woman on the team...

      •  Oh, god, yes. (0+ / 0-)

        I once got reprimanded for saying "Shit."

        Did I mention I was working with a bunch of Navy and ex-Navy guys who swore like the sailors they were?

        But they were shocked, shocked I tell you to hear that word from a woman.

        I’m tired of sacrificing lives on the altar of the Second Amendment. - Mark Damico

        by Hastur on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 04:31:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Brogrammer (5+ / 0-)

    Learned a new word today:)

    But I feel like jerks like this guy are not necessarily the main thing keeping women out of the programming and tech world. It seems like the problem goes much deeper than that, and that on some level society still encourages women to go in one direction and men in another.

    Even within the tech industry, more of the women I meet are working as PR people or program managers, rather than designers or programmers.

    Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99 percent of the population exist. —George Orwell

    by ukit on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 07:41:10 AM PDT

    •  it's a cumulative effect (9+ / 0-)

      It isn't one cause but many that cause women to avoid or abandon STEM careers. From early anti-STEM expectations for girls from parents and society, to male dominated education environments, to sexist coworkers and bosses, and young-single-childless-male oriented work culture, to asshole executives like Dickenson - it all adds up.

      "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

      by quill on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:12:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a shame because (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jen Sorensen, rbird, Betty Pinson, JBL55, quill

        IMO the creative side of things is where people really get to contribute, although I may be biased in saying that. And it seems like the trend is moving in the wrong direction, based on this anyway:

        In the United States, the number of women represented in undergraduate computer science education and the white-collar information technology workforce peaked in the mid-1980s, and has declined ever since. In 1984, 37.1% of Computer Science degrees were awarded to women; the percentage dropped to 29.9% in 1989-1990, and 26.7% in 1997-1998. Figures from the Computing Research Association Taulbee Survey indicate that less than 12% of Computer Science bachelor's degrees were awarded to women at US PhD-granting institutions in 2010-11.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        Apparently nothing will ever teach these people that the other 99 percent of the population exist. —George Orwell

        by ukit on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:36:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Of course, a lot of people working in CS (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jessical, Betty Pinson, JBL55, quill

          don't actually have a degree in computer science. The field gets a lot of people from other STEM activities who left their own discipline. I've employed a few liberal arts graduates who were self-taught at programming and wicked good coders.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:38:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it is interesting (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ukit, kurt

            I've always thought that coding is a highly creative process, similar to writing, and that people who are good at writing will likely be good coders.

            "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

            by quill on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 01:40:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It requires attention to detail (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              raboof, quill, serendipityisabitch, kurt

              and a willingness to explore the whole space of possibility, rather like an otter.

              “I griped about it at lunch one day to Bill Weist and Dr. Leslie Squier, our visiting psychologists from Reed College. I'd been trying to train one otter to stand on a box, I told them. No problem getting the behavior; as soon as I put the box in the enclosure, the otter rushed over and climbed on top of it. She quickly understood that getting on the box earned her a bite of fish, But. As soon as she got the picture, she began testing the parameters. 'Would you like me lying down on the box? What if I just put three feet on the box? Suppose I hang upside down from the edge of the box? Suppose I stand on it and look under it at the same time? How about if I put my front paws on it and bark?' For twenty minutes she offered me everything imaginable except just getting on the box and standing there. It was infuriating, and strangely exhausting. The otter would eat her fish and then run back to the box and present some new, fantastic variation and look at me expectantly (spitefully, even, I thought) while I struggled once more to decide if what she was doing fit my criteria or not.

              My psychologist friends flatly refused to believe me; no animal acts like that. If you reinforce a response, you strengthen the chance that the animal will repeat what it was doing when it was reinforced; you don't precipitate some kind of guessing game.

              So I showed them. We all went down to the otter tank, and I took the other otter and attempted to get it to swim through a small hoop. I put the hoop in the water. The otter swam through it, twice. I reinforced it. Fine. The psychologists nodded. Then the otter did the following, looking up for a reward each time: swam through the hoop and stopped, leaving its tail on the other side. Swam through and caught the hoop with a back foot in passing, and carried it away. Lay in the hoop. Bit the hoop Backed through the hoop. 'See?' I said. 'Otters are natural experimenters.”

              ― Karen Pryor, Lads Before the Wind: Diary of a Dolphin Trainer

              A good programmer has to imagine that some user is going to put three feet on the box, or back through the hoop, and either prevent that behavior or respond to it appropriately. :-)

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 03:58:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I'd credit the feminist movement for that blip (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kurt

          I think it took a LOT of pressure to get those earlier stats, and then it slacked off, or more accurately the effort became institutionalized and less effective with a focus on "treat the symptoms" - type policies (affirmative action, etc), rather than the more difficult work of attacking the cause (discriminatory culture at home, academia, and workplace).

          "Tell the truth and run." -- Yugoslav proverb

          by quill on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 01:28:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  what quill said (11+ / 0-)

      ...it adds up.  Over and over and over.

      It isn't the one jerk.  It's the ten nice guys who just want to be the genius, and the woman on the team ends up doing the maint. programming, or the installer, or the pieces the every so brilliant boys can't be bothered with.  And then, when she steps into the main dev path, endless little tasks micromanaged by arrogant men who can't possibly see how nasty they are in selection of work for their non-maie colleagues, or how condescending in evaluation of the result.

      Over, and over, and over.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:18:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I thought this was an interesting article (6+ / 0-)

      suggesting that many women who could go into STEM fields are highly qualified for just about anything, and are making active choices to use their skills elsewhere.

      http://www.techpageone.com/...

      “When we looked at relative strengths between subjects rather than absolute levels of achievement, we noted that girls tended to outperform boys in English courses, for example, and to be the top scorers,” said Riegle-Crumb. “It’s not that they did poorly in high school math and science classes — it’s that they did even better in English and have a comparative advantage.”

      In fact, “girls in the U.S. have been out-performing boys in math and science classes for some time,” said Lisa Wade, associate professor and chairwoman of the sociology department at Occidental College in Los Angeles, who has addressed the issue on her blog.

      “Their performance in math and science classes, however, doesn’t predict whether they’ll go into related careers. Many high-performing girls choose not to, and many low-performing boys do. This is partly because women are pushed out of such careers because they are so strongly associated with men and masculinity or because they encounter hostility, but it’s also because they are pulled out: women strongly out-perform boys in skills related to other types of careers, so sometimes they choose those instead.”

      I would say that despite the marketing hype, and despite the fact that I love them and I chose the field for myself,  that science and math and tech fields are not necessarily the most secure fields. I had intended to get a PhD until I talked to several women and realized that in my case it would probably limit my career options.

      You look at the sequester this year, causing thousands, possibly tens of thousands of working scientists to lose their jobs, and to lose them in ways that will probably result in their leaving academia and research science forever. You have a field where it's common these days for jobs to be only a few years with each employer and where highly skilled technologists in their 50s may have trouble getting a new job. You have some fields, like astronomy, where there are so few positions that you are literally waiting for someone to die or retire so that you can compete with dozens of other applicants for it. So it might not be a surprise that kids with all their options open might choose a different direction.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:36:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should add that (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, rbird, Betty Pinson, JBL55, sngmama

        the sequester is getting a lot of press right now, and it is an unusually high number of science jobs, where whole labs will probably shut down with their work lost forever due to lack of funding.

        But the issue of oversupply of science PhDs and the uncertainty of research funding has been going on for decades. This article is from 2010:

        http://www.economist.com/...

        Indeed, the production of PhDs has far outstripped demand for university lecturers. In a recent book, Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus, an academic and a journalist, report that America produced more than 100,000 doctoral degrees between 2005 and 2009. In the same period there were just 16,000 new professorships. Using PhD students to do much of the undergraduate teaching cuts the number of full-time jobs. Even in Canada, where the output of PhD graduates has grown relatively modestly, universities conferred 4,800 doctorate degrees in 2007 but hired just 2,616 new full-time professors. Only a few fast-developing countries, such as Brazil and China, now seem short of PhDs.

        A short course in supply and demand

        In research the story is similar. PhD students and contract staff known as “postdocs”, described by one student as “the ugly underbelly of academia”, do much of the research these days. There is a glut of postdocs too. Dr Freeman concluded from pre-2000 data that if American faculty jobs in the life sciences were increasing at 5% a year, just 20% of students would land one. In Canada 80% of postdocs earn $38,600 or less per year before tax—the average salary of a construction worker. The rise of the postdoc has created another obstacle on the way to an academic post. In some areas five years as a postdoc is now a prerequisite for landing a secure full-time job.

        These armies of low-paid PhD researchers and postdocs boost universities', and therefore countries', research capacity. Yet that is not always a good thing. Brilliant, well-trained minds can go to waste when fashions change. The post-Sputnik era drove the rapid growth in PhD physicists that came to an abrupt halt as the Vietnam war drained the science budget. Brian Schwartz, a professor of physics at the City University of New York, says that in the 1970s as many as 5,000 physicists had to find jobs in other areas.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:51:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hmm (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JBL55
        I would say that despite the marketing hype, and despite the fact that I love them and I chose the field for myself,  that science and math and tech fields are not necessarily the most secure fields.
        On the one hand, they're not the most secure fields, sure. There are some that are more secure.

        But honestly, I'd have to say that they the tech field is well above average. Once you have a fair amount of experience in a tech-related field, you can generally find a job fairly easily, until you become old enough that age discrimination is a problem. Likewise with some of the math-related fields (statisticians and analysis people are pretty hot right now). I admit that that's not any kind of a guarantee, but compared with most other fields, it's actually really good.

        Science has always been a hit-or-miss field in a lot of ways... especially for women, who, let's face it, are mostly pretty fucked if they want to get a professorship in any of the hard sciences, which are so old-boys-network that it hurts. I recently had an argument with a science professor, who stated that anyone who whined about sexism or racism because they couldn't find a job at a university was just making excuses and should really be blaming themselves. I asked him, considering that his discipline was statistics-heavy, what he thought the chances of every single tenured professor in the physics AND chemistry departments at his school being male, but a sizable proportion of the instructors and grad students being female, were. His assertion was that it wasn't necessarily indicative of anything because maybe women weren't applying to the tenured professorships. Uh... huh.

    •  oh, certainly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JBL55

      But the only way to fix society is to fix each little bit that we can, and eventually things will change.

  •  It is not enough to support women (17+ / 0-)

    merely in principle. If you have anything to do with computing (which you do if you are reading this), you can support one or more of these initiatives, whether directly or by spreading the word. For example, how about Liking this Diary on Facebook and Tweeting it? I did.

    I work with a lot of women in Linux and other Free Software. Some parts of the ecosystem are more welcoming than others. Guys? If you have a problem with this, get over yourselves.

    First, some tips.

    HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux

    The most comprehensive program is One Laptop Per Child—education for all, everywhere in the world, with emphasis on girls. In the photo below, a girl in a refugee camp in Gaza using a computer for the first time.

    Nicholas Negroponte with refugee child at school in Gaza, as part of UNRWA education program providing One Laptop Per Child XOs to students.

    LinuxChix is a community for women who like Linux and Free Software, and for women and men who want to support women in computing. The membership ranges from novices to experienced users, and includes professional and amateur programmers, system administrators and technical writers.
    The Linux Foundation: Announcing Outreach Program for Women Internships for the Linux Kernel: Please Apply

    There are communities around specific distributions that explicitly support women, including Ubuntu women, Debian women, Red Hat Fedora women, and Arch Linux women. We could do with more.

    Geek Feminism Wiki

    This is an example from that Wiki of what we have historically been up against.

    Linux Journal blowjob ad

    In August 2007, Linux Journal ran an ad from QSol, a Linux server company, showing an attractive woman wearing red lipstick, and text saying, "Don't feel bad, our servers won't go down on you either."

    The ad had originally run in 2000 and, in response to complaints, QSol wrote:

        We sincerely apologize to all those who have expressed concern about our advertisement recently featured in Linux Journal (November 2000). It was certainly not our intention to be offensive and we wish to again express our regret to anyone who was displeased by the ad. We understand that this has angered some readers and have therefore reacted immediately by pulling this artwork from all future issues of the magazine. Again, we extend our sincerest apologies.

    Despite this promise not to run the ad in "future issues of the magazine", it ran again in 2007, to even greater response.

    As with everything worthwhile, it is a matter of eternal vigilance. There is no expiration date on cluelessness.

    Don't do a Google image search for

    linux woman
    if you have a blood pressure problem.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 07:42:11 AM PDT

    •  This would make a great diary (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, jessical, Betty Pinson, JBL55, sngmama

      for the War on Women group, maybe with more examples.

      While I always thought of words as my strong point, I ended up in A-lane (one step below Honors) math and science classes in junior high and high school...yet I stopped taking math because I bought into the lies from my "friends" that guys wouldn't be interested in girls who were smart in math, and my mom (who could do basic math but didn't go beyond) didn't tell me those girls were full of shit.

      Part of me is thinking of looking into a good math program for the computer, so I can play around with the stuff I skipped 35+ years ago.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:23:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You might try a MOOC at Coursera (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jessical, atana

        lots of great classes there, you'll get back what you put into them, and all free.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:40:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for that suggestion (0+ / 0-)

          I'll definitely need a brush up on Algebra I first, and probably Algebra II though I at least took that a little more recently (about 25 years ago; I was dating an engineer/math geek right before I hooked up with the future Mr. Scribe and I wanted to impress the dude -- don't ask).

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 12:25:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Didn't really have math (0+ / 0-)

          at the level I need -- but did sign up for an 8-week Introduction to Logic offered by Stanford that sounded interesting. :-)

          Looking at ALEKS perhaps, but not sure if I want to make the financial commitment at this time though getting ACE certified in Math is appealing if I ever go back to school.

          There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

          by Cali Scribe on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 12:43:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Pax is an ass (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe, jan4insight, JBL55

    I will say that when we advertise for lower-mid level technician positions in Chicago, I have a hard time finding female candidates.  Last time, I think we had two women apply (and maybe forty men) and the one who was qualified couldn't look people in the eye when she talked.

    We need to focus on initial training and education to get women involved and interested in tech.

    "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

    by nightsweat on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:02:33 AM PDT

    •  Ehh, I've had tech interviewers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, JBL55, Hastur

      interview some people and when a guy has social problems, that's just considered part of the male programmer package. The expectations are indeed different for women.

      I'm amazed by people's courage and kindness in the face of everything and life.

      by LaraJones on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:47:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not for our field techs (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling, JBL55

        I support communications people and marketers. I need people with both sides of the equation because the users won't talk to people who can't talk.

        When I say this person couldn't make eye contact, I mean not at all. She wouldn't look anywhere near your face when talking.

        I did once convert a marketer to tech. She'd been supporting an office that was closing as a side duty (changing tapes, keyboards, mice, installing vnc so I could help - that sort of stuff), and while she was a little light technically at that point, she knew the biz side and was picking up the tech quickly.

        Fash forward ten years and she's now handling NA IT operations. Tech skills are important, but business and comm skills are too.

        "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

        by nightsweat on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:57:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  that makes sense (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JBL55, nightsweat

          Yeah, for that position, someone who can't do eye contact isn't appropriate.  

          But tech careers are on-average pretty friendly to people who can't do eye contact (it's common for folks with Asperger's/Autism).  I've had several coworkers who couldn't, and it wasn't a problem, and it would never bother me in an interviewee.   Even if they're more likely to accept it in a dude, your interviewee is probably in the right field, just not the exact right job.  

  •  Two of the brightest women (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, jan4insight, JBL55, Hastur

    I know are now in their late sixties and were in the vanguard of British software development. One of their programs is still used by the NHS. According to my spouse, who works with quite a few, there are a greater proportion of code monkeys who are women over here.
    Why I don't know, not having grown up in their school system, and if Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear is any example, the Brits can certainly indulge in sexism too.

    “The universe implodes. No matter.” -Liam Williams

    by northsylvania on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:03:37 AM PDT

  •  Prediction (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jessical, Hastur

    The next "brogrammer" tactic: blame the damage being done to the tech sector by NSA snooping on teh chixx.

    On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

    by stevemb on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:05:53 AM PDT

  •  And coding derives from English, don't it? (0+ / 0-)

    Begin, End
    If, Then
    While

    Hahaha!

    Uhhh huh. Another place where white male supremacy has padded its cell.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:23:55 AM PDT

  •  Too Funny. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    This is going to be popular in our department particularly with the geekettes and Ms. Boss.

  •  The level of assholery (10+ / 0-)

    in programming seems to be getting worse, not better.

    I can't figure out where all these bros are coming from.  These are not the nerds I remember from twenty years ago.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 08:42:00 AM PDT

    •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt

      The quality of nerds has really gone down the tubes from where it was back in my day.

    •  the last backlash of a dying breed, I hope (0+ / 0-)

      I'm cautiously hopeful that this is because things have changed, and now they're actually feeling threatened -- because they see the change, too.  

      Honestly, I know where they were twenty years ago -- my father is a consulting embedded systems engineer, and if for some scheduling reason I was tagging along and sitting quietly somewhere while he was in a meeting, I would look around as much as I was allowed to.  Pinup calendars EVERYWHERE.   And a complete incomprehension as to why that would ever be inappropriate.  

  •  Part of the problem we face... (0+ / 0-)

    ...is the breadth of what we call the "tech industry."

    There are huge differences in corporate culture among the 20-person startup, the 1000-person "going concern", and the 30,000-person multinational, particularly where management is concerned.

    We like throw around lists like "Twitter, Business Insider, Yahoo, IBM, Roxio, Glimpse and Microsoft", but that can lead to comparisons that aren't necessarily valid when we're talking about cultural issues.

    I also disagree with this comment in the WaPo article:

    Similarly, if you think talented female engineers are the equivalent of unicorns, as Dickinson has said in a tweet, that says more about your biases than the actual talent pool. And when you think that and are the CTO of a company that counts major industry players such as Marc Andreessen, Jeff Bezos and Kevin Ryan among its investors, it says a lot about the tech industry.
    Actually, it says the same thing about "tech industry" venture capital as it does about any other source of funding in any other industry; their focus almost always prioritizes profit over all.  In other words, there's no tech-specific bias there.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:02:01 AM PDT

    •  It's hilarious to me that Marc Andreessen is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raboof

      considered some kind of genius.

      He's just the lucky kid who was handed the assignment at UIUC to write a web browser.

      Thousands and thousands of other people could have done it, and just as well.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:43:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Put two programs side by side (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight, JBL55

    and you can't tell which one was coded by a man and which one by a woman. (Contrary to opinion, you're not going to find little hearts dotting the "i=x*z;" in the program's equations.) And maybe that's what scares the brogrammers; it's the one place where they don't have an innate advantage due to size/strength.

    There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

    by Cali Scribe on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 09:07:59 AM PDT

  •  I've been in the tech industry for 30 years (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cycled

    I've been in Co.'s of 30 people, and 30,000, and generally, it's been a decent mix of male to female, except perhaps in the govt. sector.

    In the private telco/networking sector, it was easily 50/50 (this was systems, and programming). The level of mysogyny was extremely low in all the places I've worked. Yes, there can always be a jerk, but generally, I've not encountered them. I've had many female bosses, and to be honest, I've preferred them!

    I've been in a few companies where the level of "Diversity Sensitivity" was so high, that in one instance I was called into the mgr's office for having complemented a coworker on her dress, because it made her feel uncomfortable! I thought I was being nice, but to each their own. That never happened again.

    Unless this is taking place in sectors where I'm not working, like gaming, or internet apps, or some such, I'm not seeing it in my day to day!

    You have your right to your opinion, I will grant you that, but do not denigrate my right to mine!

    by MrQA on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 10:10:57 AM PDT

    •  Look, no offense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sngmama, elfling
      Unless this is taking place in sectors where I'm not working, like gaming, or internet apps, or some such, I'm not seeing it in my day to day!
      I just wish other men would go and ask women how much they see it before they post stuff like this.

      I know it's hard to accept, but there are less visible forms of discrimination that are more or less invisible to men, and in some cases even invisible to anyone but the person being discriminated against. It's really easy to say that you don't see any so it must not be there, but that doesn't mean it's accurate. Talk to people. I did. It opened my eyes to some stuff.

      •  Excuse me (0+ / 0-)

        The topic of this toon/diary was mysogyny, and boorish male behaviour toward females in the workplace. Perhaps individuals may feel "discriminated against", for one reason, or another, however that was not the point of my comment, or this diary.

        You have your right to your opinion, I will grant you that, but do not denigrate my right to mine!

        by MrQA on Tue Sep 17, 2013 at 02:24:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  How old is he, anyway? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55

    Like, 65?
    Or maybe he is younger with serious mommy problems.
    Tech guys have been welcoming to competent women for a couple of generations now.

  •  little boys (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JBL55, Hastur

    with hi-tech toys...

    "...someday humanity get it right - unfortunately, 'someday' isn't on the calendar..."
  •  to be fair (0+ / 0-)

    I have never hear of someone who is concerned with being PC ever inventing anything.

    The people who make the biggest discoveries tend to be complete psychopaths.

    The point at which you push out the psychopaths seems to be the point at which an industry stops being truly innovative.  

    The innovation comes when industries are hospitable  to no one.

  •  Which causes which? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kurt

    Does a hostile environment push women out of IT and Software Development or does a hostile environment exist because there are so few women there to be offended or discriminated against in the first place?

    Just as a man probably would not feel as comfortable being the only male in a work group, a woman probably does not want to be in a 90%+ male workplace.  

    Once the gender mix evens out a bit, it becomes normal. When it is all guys and one woman gets hired, it seems strange.

    I'm a network engineer and there are hardly any female network engineers. I went to Cisco Live a few years ago and it was something like 15000 men and 300 women.

  •  expect NASDAQ panel to show up on RWNJ sites (0+ / 0-)

    as a 'hidden feminist goal to destroy the economy'.  I hope I'm joking.

  •  Being smart doesn't equal maturity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, Jen Sorensen, kurt

    The argument that having to develop self control and respect for others will do anything but INCREASE creativity and productivity is purely idiotic.  

    I never tolerated sexism or ANY form of social immaturity as a software development director (video games).  

    People work better when everyone is respected.

    Nobody works better because of childish pervy behavior.

    That's my 2 cents.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site