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Re: Why the Widening Gender Gap in Computer Science?



Brenda Wallace wrote:
> On Tue, Nov 25, 2008 at 12:42 PM, Helen Faulkner <helen@debian.org> wrote:
>> Out of interest, Brenda, are you in New Zealand, as your address suggests?
> 
> yes.
> 
>> I ask because I'm in Australia, and in most cases Australia and New Zealand are
>> extremely culturally similar.
> 
> We're similar, but i reckon on gender equality NZ is doing far better

Not the only thing, in my opinion (I have been known to tell all my friends here
that "we should all move to NZ where people are civilised").  All the same, I'm
surprised, in that disappointed way, to see Australia lagging NZ by so far in
this regard.  It's frustrating because as far as I can tell we are so similar
culturally that I think of NZ as how Australia could have been by now, but for
the government leadership we've had over the last 10 or so years.

> In true trans-Tasman rivalry - i have a URL to back this up:
> http://www.nzherald.co.nz/simon-collins/news/article.cfm?a_id=135&objectid=10543185
> 
> <quote>
> The commission's Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Judy
> McGregor, says New Zealand's performance in keeping fifth place behind
> only four Scandinavian countries in the latest Global Gender Gap
> Report is "remarkable".
> 
> By contrast, Australia dropped from 13th-equal in 2000 and 17th last
> year to 21st place this year, behind many poorer countries, such as
> the Philippines, Mozambique and Lesotho.
> </quote>

Yeah, what can I say...

> I make many visits to Australia each year. I've hung out with crowds
> who are awesome.. and some crowds who think i'm a freak because i
> drink beer and not sugary cocktails like women are supposed to.
> Australia waiters consistently get things reversed and deliver the
> midori to me and my beer to my husband. The steak to him, the salad to
> me. It's not an important issue but it's an example of "men do this,
> sheilas do that" attitude.

Depends on the crowd a lot, like anywhere.  We don't see that kind of thing
where we live, but then, as I sometimes realise, we socialise with a small
subset of Australian society, and hey, most of the country was happy to vote
Howard back in for all those additional terms...

> It only makes financial sense when you keep paying men more than women.
> Women do the child rearing, therefore they get less pay, therefore
> they do the child rearing?? What a circle. :-(

Yeah, I know.

Though actually there's always more to it than that.  In my family I am
currently the higher earner.  I'm also going to be the one who takes time off to
care for the baby we are expecting next year.  So our decisions in that regard
are much more based on the things we would both prefer to do than in the
finanical optimum.  And I reckon that more women are more likely to enjoy caring
for children than men, on average.  It figures that natural selection would have
selected for that trait.  The impact that taking this time off will have on my
career is pretty clear, but I'm still planning to do it anyway, because I
believe it will be best for my family if I do so.

> I'm loathe to judge - the feeling i get is Australia is along way from
> having a female prime minister. I hope to be proved wrong and things
> can change fast. 

Yeah, I hope things change fast too :)

On the bright side, we now have a female Governer General (Quentin Bryce) and a
female deputy prime minister (Julia Gillard).  This is a grand improvement on
previous governments.

Helen



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