[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Why the Widening Gender Gap in Computer Science?

2008/11/24 Brenda Wallace <brenda@wallace.net.nz>:
> On Sun, Nov 23, 2008 at 4:03 AM, Lesley Binks
> <lesley.binks@googlemail.com> wrote:
>> Society itself demands that men earn more than women and that women
>> shouldn't have high responsibility high earning positions in order to
>> uphold the status quo with respect to rearing families
>> i.e. with the mother at home or at least expected to assume most
>> child-based responsibility.
>> While it is entirely posible for a woman to delegate some of this
>> activity to nannies and other staff they have to have an expectation
>> of the relevant salary to be able to afford to employ staff to do such
>> work as well
>> as support from their partner and their employment if not their
>> immediate family and that package is, in my experience, very rare
>> indeed.
> or ... that task goes to the father...  (why is that option missing?
> it's far far more common than nannies, at least in my "society")
I didn't intend it to be missing and to top it all, iirc, my cousin
was a house-husband for a while some years ago.
Last time I spoke with him he was still at Intel.  I have no idea if
he was able to take a career break nor how he managed his career over
that break.
However, in some professional disciplines, the idea of a house husband
would simply not be on the radar.
I happen to occasionally do voluntary work for the Milne Collection -
part of Amberley Working Museum in Sussex, UK.
This happens to involve a number of power distribution engineers as
well as Tesla coils and various other electromagnetic games.
The power engineers to a man regard their work as totally unsuitable
for a woman and have said they would be unhappy to have a woman on
their team - not least because of the em radiation effects on embryos.
It is highly unlikely - when the managers and team leader are taken
from such a pool - that the view would change or there would be
effective support for a woman wishing to work in that field with such
a team.
I suspect that similar teams can be found in other areas including
realtime and more engineering style computer science disciplines.
These can be as multidisciplinary as any UI environment - including
mathematics, solid state physics as well as programming skills yet I
would still guess that these teams prefer to be all male.

I once attended a WISE event where one woman spoke of a project worked
on.  She managed a large scale operation building an airport in an
inappopriate site in the middle of the Atlantic with all its
concomittent terrain and supply problems.
When she fell pregnant she was sidelined out of her mainstream work
and effectively demoted to the extent that she chose to leave and
build an IT consultancy.  That was after successfully completing that
project.  She had hoped that, being involved in such challenging work,
she might have been perceived to have value but this was not the case.

Another world renowned engineering firm which only employed 1st class
honours students, had all its female intake doing project management
(basically paper chasing) and none actually doing the engineering
Again nothing to do with the abilities of the women - more the
perceived difficulties of managing contracts and personnel when the
woman gets pregnant.

Either starting or continuing on  in one's chosen or preferred
profession can be difficult for any of us, male or female.
However, I do believe there are still barriers to women progressing in
some areas and these barriers are nothing to do with female capability
and much more to do with attitudes and belief systems of incumbent
team members.

Still not figured out how one deals with that.



Reply to: