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Re: Why the Widening Gender Gap in Computer Science?

Helen Faulkner wrote @ 25/11/08 11:09:
> Penny Leach wrote:
>> The idea totally freaks me out to be honest - I grew up with this idea
>> strongly entrenched that as a woman, the best way to work towards
>> feeling like I was living in an equal society was my ability to earn a
>> good income (sure, in NZ I think it's still only 80% of men's but at
>> least I'm self sufficient)... having a baby and putting my career on
>> hold and being completely reliant on someone else for food and shelter
>> is ... like, brain falls over and I go into shock :)
> You may find, if the occasional arises for you, that you feel differently about
> it then.  You might even realise that you want to do this thing of taking time
> off from your career, even to its detriment, in order to raise a family.
> [...]
> To get back on topic, does anyone think that CS-related careers are harder or
> easier, compared to other careers, to take a break from and actually get back
> into it?  As in: is it a career that fits well or badly with the types of
> disruption that parenthood often presents, for men or for women?  Maybe this is
> part of the reason why women are being turned off CS - the field changes so fast
> that you lose 6 months you might be in trouble...
> I'd be interested to learn from the experiences of people who have taken a break
> from a career in CS and gotten back into it, or into something related.  How did
> it work for you?

I guess getting back into a CS job is not only hard because you've been
off the job for a while and may not be familiar with the very latest
stuff, but also because some people tend to think that mothers
(especially of younger children) will not be as productive employees as
women without children.
Usually the interview will go somewhere along the lines that at some
point the talk turns to your kids and whatever cleverly composed
combination of day nursery, part time working husband, kindergarten and
what else you present, it will all be canceled out by the magic
question: "And who will stay home when it's ill?"

I am not a mother myself, so these are not personal but second hand
experiences but there seems to be a general assumption here in .de that
mothers will always have a slightly higher absence rate(?) than others
because one of the kids was ill, the kindergarden closed early, one of
the kids had to be taken to or picked up from a school trip, the kid's
guinea pig had to be taken to the vet, etc. etc. and if you complain
they'll "play the 'family hating misogynist' card and set the women's
representative on you".

But I guess all such speculations are in vain when on the other hand I
hear stories that women who do *not* have kids did not get jobs because
the assumption was that "With that age and no kinds this woman is just
looking for someone to pay her maternity leave". So I guess in the end
you are in a fix either way; so you can just as well do as you please ;)

Best regards,

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