WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND…

Where Are My Girls @ 2.0

smitchells Icon Posted by Shireen Mitchell

April 18th, 2008

A recent eWEEK article, “Where Did All The Girl Geeks Go?” has sparked a few questions about where the women are in IT. On the heels of the recent computer world report indicating that women in IT jobs are earning less, pay inequity could be one of the reasons. (Not that you have to be in the IT industry to be paid less just because you are a woman, as has been shown in the case of Lilly Ledbetter, a woman working for the Goodyear corporation.) In addition, one blogger recently posed a question about why there were so few web designers who are women.

I posted a question on Twitter asking followers why they thought the numbers of women in the computer science field has dropped from 36% to 21% between 1983 and 2006. I received responses ranging from the premise that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) are not taught to middle school girls as aggressively as to boys, to discussions of the “toxic environment” that the technology industry creates for women.

Lucy Sanders of NCWIT states:

“Efforts to make technology more appealing to women have often been slipshod, at least on the consumer side—making a phone pink or putting sparkles or flowers on a laptop is not likely to do much to make girls genuinely excited about working in technology.”

Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the web (don’t come posting to challenge me about the Internet vs. the Web. The military created the Internet and Berners-Lee created the web. The World Wide Web is the baby like it or not!) in “Berners-Lee challenges ’stupid’ male geek culture” stated:

“It’s a complex problem — we find bias against women by women. There are bits of male geek culture and engineer culture that are stupid. They should realize that they could be alienating people who are smarter and better engineers,” said Berners-Lee.

I have advocated and presented on this issue since 1997 and have compiled a list of converging issues in my presentation here.

The problem is both complicated and systemic, including legislation, images in media, and parental home behavior. There isn’t a “magic pill” that will “Turn the Corner for Tech.

For some, the notion that women aren’t out for technology careers could easily be solved by informing people that the first computer programmer happened to be a woman by the name of Ada Lovelace. The first “computers” were primarily women ( 6 of the 9 ENIAC “programmers.” “Computers” were the names given to the people, not the machines). And that the basis of the cell phone technology was created by an actress, Hedy Lamar, and her pianist. Some would be shocked to know that the early 1980’s PAC MAN game was designed to get more girls involved in gaming, as seen in this video:

I would have to agree with both Berners-Lee and fellow blogger Deanna Zandt, suggesting that the tech environment is male geek cultured and toxic for women. I don’t think it is completely intentional–however, it is cultural. I am used to having every young geek boy to adult male challenge me on my technical knowledge, including having them (both boys and men) bang on tables and yell at me. This won’t bode well for those that can just choose to go elsewhere. Standing my ground or being aggressive usually results in being called crazy or the b-word.

Even after Digital Sisters has worked with girls in our GirlTech learning environments and put our best girls out to work in teams with the boys, the boys still try hard to push them out. What would work is to change the culture from “competition” to “collaboration.” It will be a hard sell in the tech and gaming industry, but it would improve the percentage of women retained in the field, while also helping our economic downturn to start heading in the upwards direction.

18 Responses to “Where Are My Girls @ 2.0”

  1. Tcnico
    October 1st, 2015 12:19

    In the awesome pattern of things you’ll receive a B- with regard to hard work. Exactly where you actually misplaced me personally ended up being in all the facts. As they say, details make or break the argument.. And it could not be more true in this article. Having said that, let me tell you precisely what did deliver the results. Your authoring is actually rather engaging and this is probably why I am making the effort in order to comment. I do not really make it a regular habit of doing that. Second, whilst I can see the jumps in reason you come up with, I am definitely not sure of how you seem to connect the details which produce the actual final result. For right now I will, no doubt subscribe to your issue however hope in the near future you actually link the facts much better.

  2. Jasmine Witman
    October 2nd, 2015 21:58

    Wow, amazing weblog format! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The whole glance of your site is wonderful, let alone the content! angry birds 2 cheats tool

  3. vloerisolatie
    October 9th, 2015 01:23

    Considerably, the submit is really the finest on this worthy topic. I agree along together with your findings and in addition can thirstily look forward to Your personal long term updates. Basically just saying a lot of thanks will not merely you require to be enough, for that amazing clarity inside your writing. I will straight away grab your rss to remain up-to-date with any kind of improvements. Genuine perform and also a lot success inside your company dealings!

  4. what is a background check
    October 10th, 2015 20:03

    I visited lots of site but I conceive this one holds something extra in it in it

  5. broadband
    October 12th, 2015 09:51

    Greetings from Florida! I’m bored at work so I decided to check out your website on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, wonderful blog!|

  6. %26%231491%3B%26%231512%3B%26%231493%3B%26%231512%3B%26%2332%3B%26%231492%3B%26%231500%3B%26%231493%3B%26%231497%3B
    November 13th, 2015 10:08

    This site is genuinely a walk-through for all of the details you wanted about it and didn’t know who to question. Glimpse here, and you will definitely discover it.

  7. vaillance courtage
    November 14th, 2015 22:57

    For anyone who is interested within the environmental hardships, it could gift all of them are aware that to bring about merely one field hard more than just a little flowing shoots reasoning greater liters pertaining to oil and gas to bring about. dc free of charge mommy weblog giveaways family trip home gardening home power wash baby laundry detergent

  8. body building
    December 11th, 2015 12:19


  9. havehegn
    December 29th, 2015 06:08

    I do agree with all the concepts you have presented within your post. They may be actually convincing and will absolutely work. Nevertheless, the posts are really short for newbies. Could you please extend them somewhat from subsequent time? Thanks for the post.

  10. german art
    January 1st, 2016 03:52

    Would really like to constantly get updated wonderful weblog ! .

  11. Neuropathy
    January 3rd, 2016 05:54

    I’m impressed, I should say. Absolutely seldom do I encounter a weblog that’s the two educative and entertaining, and permit me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. Your believed is remarkable the situation is some thing that not adequate people are speaking intelligently about. I’m incredibly pleased that I stumbled across this in my search for anything relating to this.

  12. Dror Halevi
    January 28th, 2016 00:34

    Hoping to go into business venture world-wide-web Indicates revealing your products or services furthermore companies not only to ladies locally, but nevertheless , to several prospective clients in which are online in most cases. e-wallet

  13. j webb design
    January 30th, 2016 14:49

    It is essential to have having access to the information posted here

  14. miracle book
    February 3rd, 2016 00:45

    Great post, and great website. Thanks for the information!

  15. Apprehended violence order
    June 4th, 2016 03:17

    Thanks for finally writing about > blog_title

  16. http://proteinovetablety.top
    June 4th, 2016 08:57

    I wanted to put you the little observation to finally thank you yet again about the remarkable suggestions you’ve featured above. It’s certainly tremendously open-handed with you to give unhampered precisely what many of us could have advertised as an e book in making some money for themselves, particularly considering the fact that you might well have done it in case you desired. These secrets in addition acted to be a fantastic way to know that other people online have a similar eagerness just as mine to grasp much more when considering this issue. Certainly there are millions of more enjoyable moments ahead for many who look over your website.

  17. Joellen Corbitt
    July 31st, 2017 04:43

    Together with everything which seems to be building within this specific area, many of your viewpoints are actually quite exciting. Having said that, I beg your pardon, but I do not give credence to your entire theory, all be it stimulating none the less. It appears to everyone that your comments are generally not totally validated and in reality you are generally yourself not thoroughly certain of your argument. In any event I did appreciate looking at it.

  18. Cassy Mithcell
    February 12th, 2018 00:43

    Very informative article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

Leave a Reply