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Education

Women CS Majors Declining 446

/ writes, "According to a Wired interview with Dr. Anita Borg (her real name) of the Center for Women and Technology, the number of women majoring in CS has dropped considerably of late, as those in the field likely already know. She gives her thoughts on the causes and entertains some solutions."
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Women CS Majors Declining

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  • Not to be completely off topic, but where I work at (large software company) there are more women than men in managment positions, and more men than women in the technical positions.

    I may be wrong of course, because I haven't done a statistical enumeration of this or anything.

    Aaron
  • That really seems to be the way it's always been though. In high school, my AP computer science class had exactly 0 women in it. When I got to college, there was once again, 0 women in my first year of CS classes. In my classes now, there's 2, maybe 3 in a class of 25-30 people.

    I don't know how representative that is of the world at large, but it's something that I've always seemed to run into.
  • I'd be interested in hearing what majors, if any, are being boosted by the drop in the CS major.. or, more simply... where are the women going?

    This isn't necessarily a problem with the CS field itself, it could be that opportunities in other fields are starting to become more inviting to women. When looked at compared to some fields, like Business, CS hasn't exactly been extremely hostile to females in the past. Maybe less hostile environments in other areas are emerging, and that is causing a levelling-off of female CS majors?

  • by chrisd ( 1457 ) <chrisd@dibona.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @04:35PM (#1266920) Homepage
    Actually, a better statistic is whether Women CS majors are declining at the same rates as Men. I mean, most of the schools I talk to are losing attendees to the industry faster than they can enroll.

    This is a bigger problem, for the schools anyhow, than only one group reducing. If , however, the attendance of women is becoming smaller at a different proportion than Men or other groups, then there is a problem.

    Chris DiBona
    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • Why do these studies always measure the number of women going into computer science? Why don't they also look at related fields such as electrical and computer engineering?
    Also there are more women in English majors than men why don't they consider this a bad thing and start recruiting men to do more of the things that are traditionally female dominated?
  • I need a borg, too. ;)


    Bad Mojo
  • by Anonymous Shepherd ( 17338 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @04:41PM (#1266924) Homepage
    Off topic question; do people leave the subject lines to be filled last, after they finish writing their post?

    Anyway, several thoughts do occur on this topic:

    By the time you focus/target 'women', it may already be too late. They will have been left behind and ignored for too many years, I suspect. In which case any change you effect now, won't be visible for at least a handful of years.

    What can be done? The problem is so complex, I don't know that it can be characterized. We're trying to change the social structure in very many places if we want more women in technology and the sciences; we either grow girls more like men(which I suspect men don't want, otherwise selective pressure would have already done this), we change the social model in which women can contribute(a top down approach? Grassroots? I dunno), or we change the way girls see and interact with technology and science. The problem with the third option is that there is no visible path, just a visible endpoint. More women in the field.

    How do we deal with the fact that girls get different treatment? Can family support overcome that? How about the way we raise our girls? Can we modify it so that they remain uniquely female but still fit into the current structure of society, at least until social changes force society to adapt? Or do we create an role for the females that they currently do not occupy, but can fit in very easily with very little change, again until society adapts to allow more opportunities for girls?

    Am I being to shortsighted here? Or perhaps my view is to narrow? Are there other options and paths we can look at and pursue?

    -AS
  • by jfwcc ( 152546 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @04:47PM (#1266927) Homepage
    -
    It's horrible to see what macho shit geeks posted.

    Psychologist know that the biggest difference between Men and Women IS THE *** BRAIN ***.

    Women can see more details, remember them, don't overlook things.

    Men can think abstract, ie. have a better orientation sense.

    When driving, a WOMEN should DRIVE,
    while the MAN reads the map.

    Women see streetsigns - men don't.
    Men know they must turn left somewhere - women don't.

    Women remember that Jack had a red tie on the last party, whilst her buddy doesn't even remember that Jack was there.

    Just check these few examples and you'll see why it's harder for women to code,
    and harder for men to see their own typing errors.

    GOSH !! george./

  • by TheDullBlade ( 28998 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @04:47PM (#1266928)
    That fewer women go into CS than men is not a problem to be dealt with, just a fact to be recognized.

    Individual human beings should not be manipulated to shift demographic trends; it is immoral to do so. Incentives and media campaigns are as wrong as quotas.

    So long as individual women are given the respect due their actual talent, without consideration of gender, there is nothing wrong with the fact that fewer of them choose to pursue education or work in any particular field.

    As well complain that too few men are training for jobs as kindergarten teachers.

    There are natural trends in any distinct human group. Fighting these trends is as unjust and damaging to individual persons as pigeonholing exceptional individuals into stereotypical roles.
  • At my college, Illinois Tech, there's a bunch. My TAs were female, my core has an ok number (maybe 10%, though), and in every CS class I've taken I always see a few. Not that its 50-50 or anything, but they are there. Actually, a requirement for any major is to take a CS class. Most take the standard first year basics, but in some departments they take fortran (ie chem) or basic (architecture), though not from the CS department.

    On a core project I'm doing, there are two females in the 6 member group. Ok, to be quite honest they've been a pain to work with because they just don't care, but they'll have to as they are CS majors. But, the other guys haven't lifted a finger either (I've started programming as designing), though they're quite happy to think and ponder over the project with me. The two TAs though were sharp and extremely useful. I was actually thinking the mixture would go up, but maybe there's just to many guys jumping in. After all, CS is starting to look like a libral arts major...
  • If you're a major Computer geek like myself, you probably found those CS classes pretty darn boring. I'd like to think anybody who is really a serious computer geek to choose a major which is challenging and new.

    So, maybe you'd find a lot of highly technical women taking other courses. Just because you're not a CS major doesn't mean you're going to be a programmer/sys admin.
  • My Uni's computer science department had a homepage for "women in computing" as part of the student computing society - so i thought i'd head over and see what they're up to - only to get a 404 document not found! Looks like things really are desperate.

    Isn't the problem getting women (and men for that matter) to choose computer science while they are in high school. I think that the problem is that there isn't enough computer science in high school - so the only people who are going to be interested are the nerdy boys (hi guys!). If cs was studied more at high school it would legitimise it for the girls.

  • So low numbers of tehnical women = male institution insensitivity? No, I doubt it. I think the girls briefly look at each major open to them, they see me and my friends in class and say "geez what a bunch of dorks. I don't want to work with those losers," and they move on to the next table. Low self esteem goes hand-in-hand with difficult majors, and girls these days are above that.
  • by MaxVlast ( 103795 ) <maxim@sla.RASPto minus berry> on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @04:59PM (#1266935) Homepage
    I am a CMU student, and the School of Computer Science has made an effort to admit more female CS students (beginning last year). The result is a lot of unqualified female CS students. My roommate's girlfriend is one.

    Many of them know nothing about computers--there is a new intro course that teaches the most basic of basics (things that no other respectable CS school would find necessary to teach). It's only open to CS students, and the class is filled almost entirely with female students.

    Just my observation--I have no problem with female students in CS or otherwise. I do have a problem with underqualified students. It might turn out that the decision was a correct one. The women might be better than the men when they graduate, and simply have to overcome the lack of CS interest in high school.

    I suppose it remains to be seen.

    --
    Max V.
  • Or looking for attention?

    But you do have a decent point in your post. Where are the women going to, instead? I have an idea that, in such a hot employment market, women actually may just be opting out of work(is this a possibility, or totally wack?) and college entirely and going into marriage!

    It's known that as the economy gets good or bad that students either tend to go to school or go to work. At least, it's a common meme, if not a fact. I would wonder if women followed a similar pattern.

    And about recruiting men into those majors, the society we live in would laugh at the guys who go into those fields(not manly or macho or whatever). Just like women are made fun of as being stupid or not capable, when trying to enter some male dominated professions.

    -AS
  • I agree that there is no "problem" per se if women are choosing to not major in CS due to personal preferences, enticements of other markets, or a lack of interest.

    There is a problem, however, if women are choosing not to go into CS for reasons besides these. These include being discouraged due to knowledge of discrimination, training earlier in life that is not comprable to that that men receive, or psychological reasons (e.g., being apprehensive about investing one's time in a field where one feels there are societal forces working against one). If there indeed are societal forces which are causing women of equal ability as men to join the CS field, then these are issues which need to be addressed. While a woman may tell you she is "not interested" in CS and because of this is not majoring in it, there may be things to blame other than personal preferences.

  • The women I know all think I use the computer too much. They also have absolutely no interest in knowing any more than they have to in order use them. Sure that's practical and all, but that's no way to become a skillful hacker.

    You might as well be asking why there aren't more female mechanics or inventors. Most women don't seem to have that weird, driven curiosity that we here all understand far too well.

    At some point women are going to have to take responsibility for their lack of curiosity. Especially if we have to take responsibility for fear of commitment! =)

  • This troll would have been a lot more amusing if it had had a punchline.

  • IMHO you're both exaggerating and overgeneralizing, but I'm not a sociologist. At any rate, if everything you say is absolutely accurate, why then I'd say that it's no wonder so much software is so damn buggy. Tour description of women sounds like somebody who'd really kick ass at debugging, but programming is a predominantly male profession (or schtick, or racket, or whatever you want to call it :)

    Just a thought. I don't take it very seriously, but you asked us all to check your examples, and I did.

  • by Abigail-II ( 20195 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @05:08PM (#1266947) Homepage
    Actually, a better statistic is whether Women CS majors are declining at the same rates as Men. I mean, most of the schools I talk to are losing attendees to the industry faster than they can enroll.

    Anita Borg was talking about a decline in percentage, not in absolute numbers.

    -- Abigail

  • Boys are wilder and more aggressive. So when there is computer time available, they will push the girls off. If teachers and parents don't do something about that, the girls won't fight back.

    I don't know what to say....does this sound really ridiculous to anyone else?

    The other piece is the image of people who go into this field. The image is "geeks, gadgets, and greed." It's people who you don't want to be like.

    I don't see how this is a gender-specific problem. Guys don't really like being social outcasts either.

    I'm all for anyone pursuing the fields and dreams they wish without any barriers, but I have a feeling there is some genetic disposition that makes males and females sway towards certain fields. Most Nursing, Psycology, Elementary Education, and Physician Assistant students at my University are women. Most CS and Engineering students are men. I think it has more to do with natural intrests and abilities and less to do with environmental factors (although that may play a small part).
  • - Why do we need more girls for computing ? Is there a plan to kill all male Earthlings here ? WE HAVE BIGGER PROBLEMS: We need more heavy weight female boxers. We need more gays on the catwalk. We need more men who get their dress-color scheme right. We need more girls who start smoking. _ Take a reality check before you post here ! george./
  • Women are minority in computer-related jobs here in Brazil, too. They're simply dont'feel atracted to coding and other geek jobs.

    But the trend is changing. People are hiring more women. Why? Internet.

    Lots of girls are finding jobs as webmasters (ok, webmistress) and designers at companies. But they're far away from the average geek girl like Nitrozac.

    Maybe I can make some money out of it. What about a "PHP for Chicks" seminary?


  • Could the reason for the low numbers of women in tech fields have to do with the differences in the way the sexes think?

    Women tend to look at things subjectively. They empathize and get hands on. Men tend to judge thinks objectively. They step back and try to get the big picture. Most tech fields reward objective analysis and design, but don't really like subjectivity. In engineering things are fundamentally judged on metrics not mushy feelings. In CS programs need to flow analytically and logically, again objectively.

    I could be completely wrong of course. The real reason could be something like negative social pressure on adolescent girls, too.

  • The assumption in these articles is that the reason that women don't enter technical fields as much is because they are discouraged. I don't think that is really very common. I know one of my friends that both of her parents are computer programmers but she doesn't really have an interest in working with computers. Her approach is more "What is the easiest way to do what I want?" where what she wants to do is communicate with her friends.
    Incidentally all my English teachers since High School have been men, and I didn't really think of them as being not manly at all. They were all heterosexual guys.
  • If I believe most of the pop-psych theories about how how men and women operate, women are more oriented toward communication and cooperation.

    How about the theory that people tend to go with those skills that give them the most personal payoff?

    The original geeks were those of us who lacked the smooth social graces that led to stellar careers in finance and insurance sales. The ability to think in binary wasn't highly prized.

    At the same time, the ability to communicate and motivate isn't a lot of help in technical fields (leaving out 'managment') - unless you become an expert in getting grants.

    Possibly all that's needed is a little pre-orientation for potential CS students, explaining that the computer doesn't care if you have a pleasant manner and a winning smile.

    You can't negotiate with a computer. You can't motivate it. You can't get it to join your team. All you can do is write code the way the system wants it - and that's the only way it will work.

    Oh well, I wasn't using those karma points anyway.

  • Well, I'm not sure of large-scale numbers, but as a junior in college right now, and taking the intro comp sci class that all CS majors have to take, I overheard my TAs talking to a female freshman in the class about how 80% of the CS majors at my school (Rice University) are male. At the same time, there are more female premeds here at Rice. I don't know if that tells you exactly where they are, but that's the way it is here. And, at least here at Rice, I have noticed that there are more women in the liberal arts. I'm also taking a sociology class (Medical Sociology - required for my 2nd major), and in a class of ~80, there are about 12 males. FYI, I'm a biochemistry/policy studies (focus in health and medical policy) double major, and the CS class I'm taking is a requirement in my major, but I'm not majoring in CS. just some observations.
  • -
    That's what I posted.

    I don't understand the score(1) I got for my post, but the entire discussion here goes awry.

    Read it again, it's known psychology, it's true,
    and you see the proof EVERY SINGLE DAY.

    george./

  • by mindstrm ( 20013 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @05:19PM (#1266965)
    I'm not saying women have no place in the CS world, or in any way saying they should avoid it, and I definately encourage anyone, regardless of sex, to persue what interests them.

    on that note..

    our society seems to be blind to the fact that, men & women are DIFFERENT. Statistically, we *DO* think differently. The generalization about women being more for details, men being more for abstract thinking is true as a STATISTIC, not a rule.

    Am I saying women can't handle CS? No.. I'm saying that statistically, it doesn't interest them.

    Do I think women shoudl be paid less than men for doing the same job? No. Do I think a CS position should be filled or not based on sex? Absolutely not....
    but our society doesn't have to keep obsessing over why EVERY DAMN OCCUPATION isn't 50% male, 50% female. it will *NEVER* be that way.
  • More and more women are becoming successful in various businesses as executives, lawyers, etc. and depending upon which source you quote (extreme liberal, moderate, or far right), they are getting equal pay. If women aren't signing up for CS classes, why do people like Borg insist that we must "care" and force people to do things that maybe they decided they're not interested. If a woman is interested in computers or engineering, there is nothing hindering her in the U.S. from joining. The absolute smartest engineer I ever met was one of the few women in my engineering class in college. She had the aptitude and the interest to take engineering, many other women I meet just aren't interested, or don't think in the way that CS or engineering people do. There is nothing wrong with that! This nonsense that something is wrong with "the system" is specious babble used by everyone from Jesse Jackson defending violent thugs to criminals blaming society on death row and it is getting very tiring. If women want to study CS, they will. Furthermore, if she can generalize boys by saying "boys are wilder than girls", therefore they get more time on the computer, why is it that the statement "Maybe girls just aren't interested" valid? In general, perhaps boys are wilder and girls just aren't interested in computers.
  • unless you happen to be a female or are of the homosexual persuasion, then having more women in CS is a good thing.
  • I go to a University for CS, and frankly there are hardly any women in the courses, and fewer as you get later in the years. I have to think this causes pressure for them along with the problems of the courses themselves.

    Also with the culture of it all, how many girls do you know that spend their high school life hanging out on irc playing with eggdrop bots and the latest cvs trees of anything, if you know of some I'm pretty shocked but they're probably real good lookers :P

    Oh well just my thoughts and my firstish post!
  • Here at Carnegie Mellon [cmu.edu], the number of female CS majors has actually been increasing in recent years. As mentioned in a related Slashdot article [slashdot.org] from last August, this year's freshman class is about 37% women, up from 8% in 1995. However, Carnegie Mellon's increasing numbers may be due to more aggressive recruiting.
  • Your title just seemed to invite people to attack you =)

    How can an individual with only individual experiences determine that what they see is common or uncommon?

    Of course it's a pretty common meme/concept that women are discouraged subtly, implicitly, and explicitly from technical fields. I can't say that it is the truth, just a prevailing idea. So I can't discredit your opinion, and I will admit I am being influenced by this meme.

    Disclaimers aside, then, I will claim a very practical and pragmatic argument. If women weren't being discouraged in some way, shouldn't they be entering these fields on parity with men? It can be said another way; that we are encouraging men to enter these fields, and not women.

    It doesn't mean that it is explicit or by design, that men are encouraged. Maybe there's too much baggage with the word, encouraged. Perhaps if we just said that the system favors males. What can we do then, to increase the focus on women?

    Which has nothing at all to do with your point on your friend. There are guys like her too, at HP. It didn't stop them from going into a technical field. So a better question for your friend then is why does going into a technical field interfere with her desire to communiate with her friends?

    -AS
  • by Nightlily ( 140378 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @05:27PM (#1266983) Homepage Journal
    Throughout most of the posts there are so many stereotypes about women just being assumed as fact. There are lots of women out there with previous computer experience before even walking in a cs classroom. Before I took the *wonderful* required Introduction to CS at my college, I already had experience in web authoring, building computers and programming. And the reason I'm into computers other than something like English is because I enjoy working on new problems and am techinal minded.

    For example, my fiance and I are working on a mail client. Who's doing 90% of the coding? I am. Why? I can program better than him. Gender has nothing to do with that. He's just into different aspects of computers.

    As far as the enviroment of computer science being hostile to women. I've personally experienced out right hostility (like some of the posts), but also I've met a lot of people who don't care what race or gender you are, just that you can do the job.

    Also women aren't going into computer science because they see a table of geeks and run the other way. The only person I've ever met that chose a major based on if his or her friends were in that one, was a man. Does that mean now that men just briefly think about their majors and don't give it any thought?

    Comments like "women don't know anything about computers" or "women are genetically incapable of working in techinal fields" just show to me that some people out there just don't get it. Women weren't originally allowed to go to college because our brains were too "small." Yet Albert Einstein had one of the smallest, compact brains ever recorded.

    One of the apparently rare women in computers.

  • That there are not enough people in technical fields. Women, which make up 50% of the population, are therefore an untapped resource. As are minorities, who also don't get into the technical fields(as compared to Caucasian or Asian)

    I ask why it is immoral to manipulate people to shift demographic trends? If a person has an infinite number of options open to them; even if it is a finite number of options, for the example, why is it wrong to try to get them to chose a particular option?

    And what does this have to do with 'trend'? It's just a job, a career, work, and nothing to do with life, or personality, or behavior!

    -AS
  • I took Computer Science at a University because at the time it was considered the only "calling card" worthy of getting a job in the computer industry, among the programs offered where I was able to attend. Sure, I could have taken MIS, but I'm sure people here are aware of the horrible associations made with the worst of the MIS folks. (I didn't say they were _all_ bad, just that those that really don't know what they're doing seem to have greater influence on perception than their proportion.)

    Fact is, I have used very little of a computer science education, since nobody really told me that computer _science_ is really a preparation for further academic work in the field--experimentation, research, invention--rather than business use of computer skills. MIS wasn't technical enough, didn't give enough programming experience. CS was way over my head in terms of the required mathematics classes and the general political structure.

    I would have been better off with some tech school programs, along with some specific training courses in commercial UNIX systems, routing/switching, and other useful things. So are about 75% of the people who go into a Computer Science program--it just isn't an optimal way to enter the workforce as an administrator or programmer.

    Now, I appreciate the academic angle I learned through completing my degree, once I realized my half-error. I _did_ learn many useful skills, but most have had to be twisted and modified in order to really apply.

    Perhaps this is one reason attendance is dropping, among women or any other group? We're so bent on college educations, because the employers are as well. Employers ask for things like Bachelor's degree (Master's preferred) in CS plus 15 years of experience in Windows 2000 and 30 years of experience in PC hardware. This game really needs to stop somewhere, it's an endless triangle--businesses, educators, students--but any one party that stops playing the game stands the risk of being unemployable while everyone else continues to play.

  • by FreshView ( 139455 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @05:33PM (#1266992) Homepage
    I could probably name 10 women supermodels without even THINKING about it, and I'm sure women could too (ruling out the sex appeal argument), so why is it that I cannot name eve ONE male supermodel? I think this is an important issue that needs to be addressed immediately, I think men should be able to be supermodels, too, and I don't think they're being encouraged enough at a young age. If more boys were taught by their parents that they could be beautiful too, maybe we'd see a bit more equality in the supermodelling field.

  • Go look at the student pictures for the University of Washington school of library and information science here [washington.edu], then take a look at the list of grad students [washington.edu] in the computer science and engineering department. From the first 30 students listed, it looks like the ischool has 23 women and 7 men. The CSE department has 25 men and 5 women. Why is the first nothing unusual but the second a terrible problem that needs to be corrected?

    I suppose the true reason there are more men and women is some fields is that the ratio of men to women in the general population is close to 50/50. Since some fields have more women than men, other fields must have more men and women for it to average out. What the center for women and technology (I hate hypocritical organizations like this who preach about equlaity but have sexist name like center for women and the implied and not men) needs to do is convince women that computer science is better than information science, or actively discourage women from entering fields like education or psychology where they are a majority. Or they could try to get more men to enter fields that have more women in them.

  • My Bad, Thanks for pointing that out. Well, perhaps that doesn't invalidate what I said though, maybe women are just jumping ship to industry faster :-)

    Chris
    --
    Grant Chair, Linux Int.
    Pres, SVLUG

  • by cabbey ( 8697 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @05:45PM (#1267016) Homepage
    When I was in college, and again latter in uni there were *very few* women in any of the three majors (CS, CIS, MIS) in the department so if the numbers are going down then there must be none at all left now. Fortunately that isn't the case... I was talking to someone on campus at uni last week and he mentioned there were about thirty women in the program now; that kinda matches what little I remember of the incoming class of frosh the summer after my "last" year ;} there were a LOT of young ladies in those tour groups and early summer classes.

    I have to agree with a lot of what Dr. Borg is saying here, and it's really pathetic that this is the case. I can't think of a single women in my graduating class that wasn't in the top handfull of students, ditto the class before me. I generally found that the women in my classes and the ones I work with now are the better engineers, certainly on several occasions I can look at a project group that had maybe four people and say that the women on the group did more than their 25% of the share. It was always interesting to watch the group when it was say four guys and see how things got done, then watch those same four guys on the next project when one of the ladies in the area got added to their group... there was a very subtle change in the group dynamics and a very severe change in the quality of the work. Now I know in a couple cases it was because the guys were ashamed that a "girl" did better work than they did... but then I had also worked with that young lady before, they didn't have a chance - she out-classed them.

    I wish there was a more natural balance of men:women in hard core computer science - and not because they're a welcome sight after staring at code for hours on end or sitting in design meetings that just won't stop - it's because their very presence in the group alters the balance and their different perspective and methodology is always beneficial.
  • Just my observation--I have no problem with female students in CS or otherwise. I do have a problem with underqualified students.

    umm, you need to regress for a moment. More girls==good.

    Judging students as Freshman is no-way to judge their eventual worth as computer scientists. Especially if they haven't been given, through social/family pressures/biases, the chance to really work with machines. Once you get a basic understanding of how things work, its all details. Women are good with details.

    Look, if there is one thing nearly every Linux program(mer) could use, it's a woman's touch. Women and men think differently, it would follow that they code differently. Perhaps with a bit more empathy. At the very least, more girl geeks now, more baby geeks later. We are going for world domination, right? ;)

    (and remember they like compliments before you post (-;)

    --
  • Since I'm an Asian(Chinese) and where I went to school(Caltech) we weren't a minority(in technical and scientific fields)

    If you were to count us in, perhaps, the cinema majors of other schools, we would count as a minority. And perhaps even if you were to do a general population count in the US. But not in engineering/science fields =)

    -AS
  • So much for that Katie Holmes Linux chick fantasy I've been having. In the 80's when I was in high school this problem was due in large part to the cultural stereotypes inherent in our school system. Are girls today given the same encouragement in math and sciences as boys?

    Perhaps if we offer females more scholarships for science we can help reverse this trend. I sure hope so...


  • In 22 years I saw 98% of female programmers quitting, because they just couldn't do it. They TRIED HARDER THAN EVERY OTHER MAN, but they still couldn't do it.

    You may have seen that, though people usually see what they want to. In any case, it's not relevant. I wasn't claiming to have "proven" that women can code (though I've known a few women programmers, and they succeeded at about the same rate as men). That wasn't my point at all. My point was that you were telling us all about how women's minds work, and what you were describing is somebody who'd be good at debugging. Well, then, either women are good at debugging (which is only one part of programming, by the way), or else your description is not as accurate as you think. Hey, it might even be both.

    In any case, I didn't have an "argument". I just looked at what you'd posted, drew a conclusion that seemed obvious to me (obvious enough that it really jumped out), and threw it out for discussion. Focussing too narrowly can make it very damn hard to find bugs. In my experience, the bug is not often where I think it is, and I'm very often led to it by noticing some small thing that I missed the first few times I stepped through. On the other hand, there's more to programming than finding bugs. Hell, there's more to human beings than a few oversimplified orthodoxies. I'm not claiming to have any answers, nor am I trying to start a flame war. If I created that impression, I apologize.


  • Um, if she's interested in chemistry, she's already taken the bait and is entering a scientific(if not technical) field...

    So she's actually not that great a counterexample, except in the specific field of computers, for example.

    The general meme is that women are discouraged from science and technology; your friend, if she wants to go into chemistry, is not one of these women...

    And it's difficult to base our perception of potential on a set of the population that has already determined, through past actions, their future potential. Can you say, boldly, that a large percentage of women 5 years from now won't be talented in that way, because of your personal experience with the people you knew who made their decisions 5 years ago?

    -AS
  • in the sense of the word where it's about smart people excelling at higly technical fields.

    I believe it was a compliment. Same could be said for those wacky Indians, smart fsckers.

    (if anybody doesn't know I'm joking, let this be a hint)

    --
  • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 ) <maxomai@nospAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @05:57PM (#1267041) Homepage
    I am a CMU student, and the School of Computer Science has made an effort to admit more female CS students (beginning last year). The result is a lot of unqualified female CS students. My roommate's girlfriend is one. Many of them know nothing about computers--there is a new intro course that teaches the most basic of basics (things that no other respectable CS school would find necessary to teach). It's only open to CS students, and the class is filled almost entirely with female students.

    I would agree with you...if there were stronger CS programs in high schools, to expose computer science to people who don't necessarily have a "natural interest" (quotes for a reason) in programming, Linux configuration, &c. For some people, especially women, their first exposure to computer programming comes in college. And, in Freshman computer science courses, they don't necesarily pick up such wonderful hints as:

    • When writing in declarative languages (C, Pascal, FORTRAN), put your commands in sequential order
    • How some basic logic functions (such as "or") work
    • Characters have numerical values, too, and can be compared against each other.

    I picked these these things up when I was 8, because I actively sought them out when I was 8. I was never taught any of this in HS, nor was I expected to learn any of this in HS. None of them were taught in freshman CS either, at least where I went to school; instead, they were pretty much assumed.

    With this in mind, I'm quite glad that CMU has a structure whereby persons with little prior exposure to computer science, but demonstrated relevant ability (i.e., mathematical), can get a jump-start.

    Fun fact: Georgia Tech's manditory Freshman computer science course teaches how to think about programming, including writing pseudocode, but the students don't do any programming. Learning how to actually program comes later; but by that time, they can concentrate on the specifics of the language rather than on the basics. I'm not sure if this is a better approach, but it seems to work pretty well.

  • In every industry where one person was capable of supporting the needs of two, throughout all history, the women have dropped out and the men have been expected to win the bread. It's mathematically undefeatable. No-one knows why. It's just a law of nature we have to get used to.

    The idea that there would be fewer job opportunities if women tackled the same roles as men is debatable. In fact there would be twice as many consumer expendatures than there are now since most women currently depend on men as a primary breadwinner.
  • I don't fully agree with you. I do think that woman either are discouraged from the technical field or just generally are not interested.
    At, my high school there are very few girls, if any, who are interested in computers. There are,however quite a few interested in Math and Science.
  • by cabbey ( 8697 )
    to your first point: my mother is an elementary school teacher. I volunteered at her site all through jr/sr highschool and into college doing computer type work, and was in the classroom every now and again - I always saw this. It wasn't just on the computers. One day after I was in her room for a while I asked her about one particular incident, and asked "well, when you make the groups that go to computer time, why don't you put all girls or all boys in a group, except maybe the girls like Jane (made up) that don't seem to have any problem defending themselves and will actually push back to get their share?" Her response was basically "don't suggest that while on school grounds... you'll get us sued."

    a friend of mine in uni was an elementary ed major and summed it up best over supper in the caf one night after his first phase of student teaching: "yeah, little girls can be pr***y bi****s every now and again, but little boys tend to be ba*****s day in and day out."

    your second point: you're right on the money... I had to go back and re-read that line a few times to make sure I understood what she was saying, then passed it off as bs and moved on.
  • Once again it needs pointed out that this statistic is COMPLETELY BOGUS. The number of MALES receiving bachelor degrees in computer science is decreasing as well.

    Why? because men are mentally inferior? Because we need to "show that we care" like the lady begs in the article? No. It's because computer science is the most complicated profession in the history of mankind (you name a more complicated invention than a piece of software that manipulates billions of microscopic switches billions of times per second). Colleges are closing down their departments of computer science (Marshall University closed theirs a couple years ago because no one was graduating). Entry classes into computer science is schrinking, the number getting past year 1 is shrinking even faster.

    For one reason. It takes passion. You can be a doctor without passion.. maybe not a good one, but if you screw up a stich by a tenth of an inch, the patient doesn't die, no one even notices. You miss a semicolon or a comma, your software just does not work. It takes an obsessive passion to get into computers and not many people have that.

    Another reason is the huge technology job boom where there are too many jobs for too many people (and this will not reverse for a long time because of the passion issue). Why get a degree when you can get hired without one, get every type of job benefit you can imagine, etc? I'm getting a degree because I just might go on to become a professor so I can work in theory stuff, but i don't see the point of anyone else doing it.

    Esperandi
  • In which case, perhaps it can be stated that there's a cultural imperative preventing thewe girls from doing the full leap from M&S to CS?

    I mean, if they are talented enough and interested enough in M&S, it's not skill or ability that keeps them out of CS!

    -AS
  • >Boys are wilder and more aggressive. So when there is computer time available, they will push the girls off. If teachers and parents don't do something about that, the girls won't fight back.

    I remember reading something about that. I believe some teacher was watching her third grade students and saw this.

    This would be a good reason why there aren't many girls in the 3rd grade who are using computers. That's about it.

    Because the computer field is constantly changing and mentally intensive, you have to LIKE computers just to stay competent. Reading about current issues, trying new tech, bugging someone who knows more than you do. If you love computers you'll do even better.

    ErikZ
  • as another of the apparently few females in computers, i'd like to second that...

    yes there are a lot of females who just dont have the experience and need intro courses and then will be good. i've seen it happen in my C++ class [high school]. there are also a *lot* of females who hae no basis and will never be terribly good. that's fine. there are a lot of guys like that too.

    as for women having no previous konwledge of computers... im' a high school senior, have been a "true" geek for like a year anda half; in that time i've done lots of web design, some programming, taught myself how to use about 5 million different programs, am learning Linux currently, etc. I've built two comptuers from teh ground up, repaired/replaced parts in many many more. ANy time there's a computer problem at school, the teachers and some students come to *me* not the guys. just dont forget that there are *some* of us who know what we're doing...

  • What about the fact that there isn't a problem and that the lady in this interview is skewing statistics and basically lying about the state of women in computers?

    Both men AND women are declining in the percentage that graduate from computer science programs in relation to the number of students which enroll in computer science programs. Is this the statistic that she is picking apart and highlighting the women part? Is she saying that the percentage of computer science graduates that get degrees are less and less women? Read the article again, I bet you assumed the latter, but she didn't specify and it could easily be the former.

    I say, let people get what they go after. If people want it bad enough, they're going to go get it no matter if people call them lesbians, fags, geeks, nerds, losers, or any enless slew of names that get thrown at female AND male computer science people.

    Making the environment easier to get into will not work in computer science - you can't scale a flopping fish.

    Esperandi

  • I NEVER said anything about "debugging".
    Re-read what I've written.


    I don't have to re-read it; I believe you. You were speaking only about programming in general. Debugging is, however, part of programming, and it's an important skill. I'd give a lot to be better at it.


    I completely agree with you on your debugging-story, but that's offtopic. I never used that word.

    I don't personally see debugging as being very far off-topic in a discussion of programming.

    All I said was that you said something along the lines of "think about it", and I did, and that's what came out. I'm not seeing an argument here at all.

  • All I have is my own personal experience, which may not be representative;

    Caltech. 1:3 ratio of women to men, in science in technology.

    1:30 ratio of women to men, in CS
    1:10 ration of women to men, in EE

    So there is some selective pressure at Caltech at least, and at Caltech people are trying to do something about it.

    I interpreted this interview's comments in this light. I don't know what it is like for the rest of the Universities; do you have statistics? I know in my workplace, it's a 1:13 ratio of women to men, and this is HP in the bay area.

    And I don't understand why making the environment easier won't work in computer science. CS doesn't particularly seem like a flopping fish, to me.

    -AS
  • our society seems to be blind to the fact that, men & women are DIFFERENT. Statistically, we *DO* think differently. The generalization about women being more for details, men being more for abstract thinking is true as a STATISTIC, not a rule.

    Am I saying women can't handle CS? No.. I'm saying that statistically, it doesn't interest them.


    You're not demonstrating much capability for abstract thinking yourself here.

    1. Statistically there are fewer women in CS.
    2. So generally, women aren't interested in CS and will never be interested in CS.

    The first statement is a fact, the second statement is merely your hypothesis, your attempt at assigning a cause to an observed phenomena.
  • Every time there's one of these why-aren't-there-more-women-in-CS topics, there's a sizeable smattering of "women's place is in the kitchen barefoot and pregnant" posts. Where are all these people coming from? And more importantly, are they for real?

    If they are, I'm beginning to suspect that the fact that these people even exist, even in the small proportion that they (hopefully) represent in the general population, may well have something to do with the very problem we're discussing. As Dr. Borg points out, outright sexism is on the decline. But it's clearly not gone. And the fact that we still are seeing outright sexism tends to support the thesis that there's still a considerable amount of subtle and latent sexism in the society still.

    I guess the main problem I had with the Dr. Borg interview is the complaint about being inadequately funded. The "Give us more money!" card always raises suspicions in my mind when it's played. Also, the article's awfully short on suggestions as to what we, the individual CS geeks of the world, can do about it -- those of us who really would like to see more women in the field (and NOT just so we can get a date!)

  • Fine. Men and women are different. Fine, statistically it didn't interest them.

    Why does this make any difference over the fact that I, and other people, want more women in the field?

    Just on a purely selfish goal, a building with women in it smell better than if there are only men. Maybe it's that perfume smells better than cologne. Or that there are pheremones involved. Or that my preference is towards women.

    Another goal, then, would to have more women around. I just enjoy the company more, no matter how nice a guy is. Again, it could be any of the above reasons(smell better, pheremones, or hormones).

    There aren't enough technical workers. Women are an untapped field. Solution, perhaps? It could concievable double the number of technical workers!

    So there :P

    -AS
  • by bridgette ( 35800 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @06:46PM (#1267106)
    Prior experience in computer science is not and has never been an entrance requiement at CMU SCS. It may seem that way because it has gotten increasingly competitive over the years and the incomming freshmen know more every year (and think they know even more than that - incuding the ability to jude the qualifications of their peers - without the benifit of any of the information in thier applications ;) But the intention has always been that a smart, creative person should be able to do well in the program - even if they weren't hacking 8086 in the womb. How do I know this? Because I've discussed this very topic with the undergraduate dean!

    But ask yourself, honestly, if this percieved injustice doesn't affect your treatment of female classmates. As a woman who was admitted to CMU SCS on *excellent* qualifications, I had no time for those boys in my class who had snotty shitty attitudes for no good reason. However, some of the egos one encounters can be a blow to the self-esteem, and it can take some time and support to realize that it's all just hot air.

    Sorry if this is a bit harsh, I'm in a hurry, no time to "nice it up"

  • I hope I'm not breaking some unwritten rule by actually providing data, but here goes...

    Based on the information in Tables 3.2 [nsf.gov] and 3.3 [nsf.gov] in NSF Report Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering (1998) [nsf.gov] covering the years 1967-1995, the percentage of bachelor's degrees in "mathematical/computer sciences" going to women peaked at 39.5% in 1985. In nine of the next ten years, the percentage of such degrees going to women decreased slightly, with 35.1% going to women in 1995.

    Anybody have any data for outside of the U.S.?

  • In many research labs and beyond, the accepted model for deciding whether someone has a good idea is their ability to do battle and defend it. The way you play with an idea is to attack, attack, attack. And if the person is left standing at the end if it, then their idea must have been good. Now I think that's simply a bad filter.

    Using one's willingness and ability to do intellectual battle to decide whether you're smart, or whether your idea is good is completely analogous. It works really well for people who like to fight and it tells you absolutely nothing about anybody else.

    I'm not arguing any biological determinism, but women are socialized not to engage in battle. Now we all learn how. What it means is that anybody who didn't rise to learning how to fight, even if she didn't like it, even if it didn't feel natural may well just [opt out]. We're losing the brilliance and creativity of people who like to interact in a different way. We're missing a bunch of men, too.

    I almost agreed with this article, until I came to this bit. Basically, what I read from this is that she doesn't like the idea of peer review. She doesn't like the idea that an idea is thrown out if it can't stand up to testing. Never mind that this is is the basis of all modern science (and most other academic pursuits), and with good reason. Basically, she's throwing out the whole idea that ideas should be accepted on merit. Even worse is that she has no suggestions for how to replace such a system. You can't very well get rid of one system until you have something to replace it, but she still advocates throwing out the basis of human knowledge anyway.

    Of course, this may be because of this whole "battle" thing she's talking about. It's a load of crap, but it fits very with the "all men like to do is fight" stereotype. Either way, she misses the point of peer review entirely.

    She also dismisses the argument about the number of women CS majors declining because women aren't as interested. The fact is, that one's obvious. The numbers speak for themselves; if more women were interested in CS, more would be applying. The point is that if we're going to do something about that, we need to find out why women aren't interested. That is the problem; the decline in women CS majors is merely a symptom thereof. If you want to fix a problem, first you have to figure out why the problem exists. So why does it exist? I don't claim to know. That's the problem; say all you want but no one really knows for sure. Otherwise we'd be well on our way to actually fixing the problem (no, I don't think we'd have it fixed yet; these sorts of things take at least a generation to really have an effect).

    But I do know that we're not going to solve any problems by throwing away the peer review system. That would be outright suicidal for civilization as we know it. It's possible that I'm misinterpreting what she was saying, but it doesn't look that way.
  • Can family support overcome that? HA! Not in a million years. Recent article I read in Family PC
    talked all about how many parents restrict their kids computer time to purely homework related use.
    I really want to know how much those kids are learning regurgitating Encarta.

    I was fucking 8 when I got my computer. I learned the English language on it (Born in Romania). I'm able to participate in everything from f-cpu.tux.org to dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu (run by openlaw.org) at the age of 23 with only an Associates degree. I never took high level computer science and engineering classes yet I'm able to keep up with all but the VHDL/PCB layout in a mailing list for a group that's going to build a microprocessor. I'm not a law student yet I can follow every argument made on the dvd-discuss list which is the research list for the NY court case. All because I was exposed to technology. How fucking Myopic can people get? Horatio Algier can kiss my ass.

    Family PC assholes touted it as an article on raising geniuses, actually it's as useless as that story about kids making cartoons about guns and violence -- how about having them discuss it instead for Christ's sake. How cute? They're learning human beings, not dumb pets.

    What an absolute disappointment.
  • ...I can see why:

    a) women are avoiding CS like the plague.
    b) the posts came in fast and furious in that "how to meet women" discussion a few months back.

  • The connections made inside the brain. Einstein's brain size was irrelevant, he did not have complete seperation of the hemispheres and did have an exceptionally large portion of his pre-frontal lobe, the part thought to control mathematical reasoning.

    I know that's not what you meant when you said that :) So many stupid stereotypes.

    It's sad that schools like CMU or any other school takes people not based on merit but rather by a statistic. When CMU takes more women just because they're women they've pushed out men who want to go to CMU and had higher scores on SATs/GPAs or whatever and more deserved to get in.

    I'm a straight white male, I face this kind of opposition all the time. Drives me nuts.

    When the women around here stop teasing me cause I'm a geek (the men don't do this, at least nowhere near as many) I'll recognise women are ready to equalize the computer job market. But if they do, it should be because they want to, as far as I can tell from the people I've met, women do not want to.
  • I've been to a very conservative religious college in a very conservative state south of Idaho where the undergrad math majors were primarily women. For them math is a lucrative teaching field, without getting them too involved in the role of providing for the family that comes with a EE degree. Maybe your girlfriend's words were really "I hate the damn breadwinning!!!!#@!@#"
  • by Cowardly Anonym ( 30327 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @07:50PM (#1267151)

    Actually, a better statistic is whether Women CS majors are declining at the same rates as Men...

    ...If , however, the attendance of women is becoming smaller at a different proportion than Men or other groups, then there is a problem.

    There was a story [slashdot.org] about that very subject here last August. Unfortunately, the link to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch [postnet.com] story it referred to no longer works, and I don't have the patience to wait for the archive search page to load. As far as I can remember, the premise was that the percentage of women in CS programs was declining. The evidence seemed to be more factual and less anecdotal than the Anita Borg interview we're discussing now.

    If the percentage of female CS majors is what's declining, this might be the reason:

    1) The people(of both sexes) who are computer-crazy are going into CS at the same rate as always. No problem here.
    2) However, any decline in the percentage of women could be due to a huge increase in the number of men who have gone into CS in recent years, many of whom might not really be all that talented, but who want to go "where the money is" (in their perception).

    To wit: 15 years ago, you might have a class of size X, with M males and F females. Now, you see classes of size X + (3 * M), with (4 * M) males and F females. The women are still there, in the same numbers, and they're just as interested as they always were. The extra (3 * M) men, on the other hand, are studying CS because they want the prestige and (they hope) the money that goes with earning the hot-degree-of-the-moment.

    Remember a few years back, when MBA enrolment ballooned because it was the hot degree to have? When students viewed it as a ticket to prestigious management jobs and ridulously inflated salaries? Remember a few years further back, when the same thing happened with law degrees? Computer Science has been the "degree-in-demand" for a while now, and as soon as the next big degree appears on the radar, things will settle back down.

    Maybe men are more likely to study a field that isn't really well matched to their interests, provided that the potential payoff (in terms of money and prestige) is high enough. Even if other people say to these guys "Hey, what are you studying CS for? You're much better at English...", maybe they aren't as likely to listen.

    And just because no post would be complete without anecdotal evidence... :)

    I am a female CS major at the University of Toronto [utoronto.ca]. Despite the fact that my favourite (and best) subject was math right up until grade 12, I decided to enroll in a humanities BA. I couldn't figure out why I hated school so much all of a sudden, and eventually dropped out. 4 years later, I returned, switched to CS, and have been insanely happy ever since. The gender balance here seems to be pretty good (at least for the 1st and 2nd year courses), but I've overheard enough conversations between male students in the computer lab to conclude that many of them are in CS for reasons other than aptitude or interest. Personally, I wouldn't mind making tons of money, but my main motivation is that if I'm going to be in the working for 30-40 years, then I want to be doing something I enjoy.

  • I'll be the first to tell you that women ARE plenty capable. I know this from first hand experience, as my mom is a Phd. in EE (top in her class) with several highly successfull startup companies and patents. She is honestly the all-round smartest person I've ever known...not "genius"...but I think most "genius" isn't really genius at all. (On somewhat of a side note, she put herself through all of this literally alone as a women, far worse than most of today's women have to contend with. e.g. Professors telling her in the beginning of the semester that they didn't believe her (women) capable of doing the work...only later to eat crow and then some)

    I'm not going to tell you that there aren't some unfair social expectations out there--there are. However, it is equally naive to say that men and women are wired the same. I think there are also certain maternal obligation and desires that can't be ignored--men don't really face it. This is not to say that women should be home and barefoot (or any similar bullshit), but rather that many professional women start out in demanding fields, discover later in life, after graduating from grad school, law school, or what have you, that they want to raise children. This frequently requires a change of priorities...atleast for awhile...which means their ULTIMATE career paths are going to be altered.

    I do believe there are fundamental genetic (nature, not nuture) differences between men and women. While I can't pinpoint them all...as that tends to be a rather risky proposition. I've seen plenty enough evidence of it, to say that the differences between men and women in the sciences is more than just social and upbringing. When is the last time you've seen a women lock themselves up in a room, and obsess about something to the exclusion of all else (e.g., body odor, hair, social life, etc) until they solve it, or come up empty handed? We see plenty of male geeks/techies do this in large numbers. Yet, I'm hardpressed, despite my experience, to think of a single women like this in anything (not just computers...)

    Though just a single observation (not necessarily true across the board, although I intuit it to be so), the differences between my mother and father typify the differences between the two highly skilled respective element of the sexes. My father, too, was an engineer. Though not as degree'd, he was, by all accounts, the best in his field. As an engineer, he was better than even my mom...atleast in several important areas. One major difference I noticed about my father was that he was very much of the nerd or geek that I mentioned before (who will focus on something with such determination, that the rest of the world is just irrelevant). He loved his technology for the sake of technology. I can't say this about my mom. She loved technology for the sake of delivering a product...of helping people...or some greater end, other than her immediate edification. While my mom also has the ability to see any problem through, it just aint the same. There isn't that one track mind....the kind of mind which I've seen amongst many of the top scientists of today and the past.

    I'm also equally sure that there are certain qualities that women have that in a long-term career can prove to be equally valuable in certain fields. I also believe women are fundamentally more social creatures than men...which may explain my mom's success in some ways. Very few people have the ability to manage and understand all types of people (particularly geeks and nerds) and also fully comprehend (as opposed to superficially) the underlying technical problem(s).

    More observations...look at girls and boys sports between at a very young age. Across many different cultures, the boys and girls start to differentiate themselves significantly, in terms of aggresion, and the like.... In any case, I can only scratch the surface here, but the mere fact that I lack official stats and figures does not mean that men and women are exactly the same mentally.
  • look, I've seen these same sorts of statistics before that say:

    the percentage of women in cs programs is declining

    this has been happening for quite a while. and I seriously doubt that Anita Borg would stoop to playing with figures like that. if she had to, she wouldn't be concerned about it any more. capiche?

    Lea

  • by chialea ( 8009 ) <chialea AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @09:07PM (#1267188) Homepage
    I would hardly describe Anita Borg as a "man hating feminist". nor would I describe her as wanting to bend the world to her will.

    I am not denying in the least people's right to choose their profession, but I see nothing wrong to removing barriers that have nothing to do with ability that are placed in the way of certain students. these do exist, mistake me not. of course, letting in a "disadvantaged" student with lower qualifications is never the way to go...

    Lea

  • I wonder if this decline is in any way related to American feminism.

    I'm serious. As a child/teenager I was deeply into science. Went to summer schools, won high scool maths competitions. Yet was told by teachers, peers, comedy shows, news, books, etc (aka "society") that real women didn't do maths and science. It was unladylike, women weren't logical etc. It was cute not to be able to balance your checkbook.

    So basically I thought "fuck you" and got my physics degree (1st class homours in nuclear physics; minors in pure & applied maths, with logic and stats in there too.) And also got involved in some minor ways with the feminist movement which was at the time busy with equal pay, equal rights, anti-discrimination etc.

    Excellent stuff. All humans are worthy of equal dignity. And I got to be a brave and noble pioneer. (Yes I know Ada beat me to it by a long way, but nobody told you about that back then. That sort of rediscovery was part of what the feminist movement was doing back then.)

    It took about 10 years before the feminist movement seemed to be taken over by ratbags talking about how "patriarchal" logic and maths and reason were, and that women were somehow morally superior beings who didn't need that dull linear masculine style of thought.

    I cannot express how utterly pissed off that makes me. And how depressing for girls now to be called unfeminine and unwomanly by so-called feminists.

    It's just like prohibition - after women got the vote, the suffragists drifted off elsewhere leaving only the crackpots behind. That time it turned into the temperance movement. This time it seems to be censorship. Fuck fuck fuck.

  • and I don't give a damn about you. now we're even :)

    look, in my school, CS is in the college of engineering. it is an engineering major. you have to take a lot of engineering courses. and, oddly enough, many of these courses are very well taught.

    oddly enough, I am a female comp sci major. I like the major. I'm banging my head on spanning-tree optimization proofs right now, but it's a good major. I also like robotics. even control theory.
    I also know many other people who like the major, at many different schools.

    so just becasue the program at YOUR school doesn't fit YOUR needs and may be too difficult for YOU, that doesn't mean that even one other person shares that opinion. I think it goes both ways.

    and btw, enrollment isn't down anywhere. there are more applicants than ever. there are just fewer of those of us of the female persuasion.

    Lea

  • well, if those are all that are qualified and interested, you're right in your opinion. however, I have observed barriers to entry that have nothing to do with skill in many technical majors. there's nothing to lose and so much to gain by taking these down.

    yes, I see semi-qualified female EECS/CS majors at berkeley. I see a LOT more unqualified guys. the girls stick out, whether good or bad, and there's a lot of attention paid to their performance because (get this) people have different expectations for them. personally I think that's a load of crap.

    Lea

  • Yea, you're right, it has mostly to do with how they handle things here, and what my preferences are. To be perfectly honest, I don't HATE what I'm doing, but I just would rather be doing other things. It is a good major though.

    I wish it was engineering here though. At least we'd get that kind of credit for it, instead of getting a B.S. from an Arts & Science college. And there's always things I wish they'd do and things I wish they'd not do, but that's besides the point.

    BTW I do care about you! {group hug} Sorry if I'm bitter, anxious, and bored tonight. I'm usually not, but just the large amount of "CMU this, CMU that" set me off because it's starting to look like no one else goes anywhere else for CS. It's a stupid and poinless thing to be annoyed at though.

    And, coincedentally, I need an apartment for next year. (in Delaware)

  • by BOredAtWork ( 36 ) on Wednesday February 16, 2000 @09:51PM (#1267204)
    Well, here I am, 20 years old, up at 1:30am doing electronics homework (I'm a computer engineering major). I've had job offers that would let me start TOMORROW at $38,000/yr and allow me to finish my degree part time. You know, the only thing that really keeps me here is the fact that I'm around 25,000 people my own age to have fun with. It's sure not the sleepless nights, exam stress or lame labs and projects that keep me here. Let alone the HUGE expense of out-of-state tuition. The degree is nice to have, but really not necessary. The simple fact is, there's an awful lot of good reasons to move to industry rather than stay in school. And there's an awful lack of good reasons to stay in school rather than go to work. So, what HAS to happen in order to keep more people in school, and taking these masochistic degree programs is that it has to be made worth their while. Quite simply, it has to be made either more financially beneficial or more fufilling than an entry level job. I'm here because I find it more fufilling than work. But I'm the notable exception; I'm very social, and that's not the case with a lot of CS/CpE majors out there. To them, the social scene is one more BAD thing about college.

    Entry level jobs are less stressful than college. More profitable. Leave one with lots of free time (compared to someone taking 18 credit hours, anyways). And don't involve keeping crazy hours. Lots of people just don't wanna bother, because they don't need to. So... if you really want more people majoring in CS or CpE rather than going to work early, you have to make it more appealing.

    As in, damn near FREE.

    How about VA using some of it's newfound wealth to set up a scholarship program? IBM gives loads of money to higher education. So does DELL, and even Microsoft. For VA, setting up 10 $2,500/yr scholarships is pennies in a very big bucket. It looks great to the press, and even better to the recipients. You can pick people on whatever criteria you chose; grades, free software experience, advocacy, or most-shameless-grub-for-money (me! me!).

    The simple fact is, a non-graduate can be rich by 25 if they're any good and end up getting stock options before their company IPO's. Your best and brightest KNOW this, and it draws a great number of them away from universities, because they COST money, and only reward you with stress, debt, and lost sleep. If you want more people to graduate, make school the better option; one of the easiest ways to do that is to make it cheap. A VA Linux Systems Scholarship Program would certainly help.

    --

  • well, I'd rather be hacking robots than working on spanning-tree proofs (as interesting as I find it, there is a point where return on investment is extremely low -- that point being where the question makes bad assumptions) :)

    and I wouldn't be able to live with you anyways, because I'm guessing you're a guy... that's one of the problems with not having many girls in CS -- I don't know anyone who wants an apartment (besides guys)!

    and you just wait. finish up, and you can do whatever you damn well please...

    Lea

  • The "problem" is that many women simply don't find computer programming to be interesting. Is that bad? Of course not! At the very least it means that those who do will be sought after by colleges.

    There are some damn fine female programmers out there (just as there are some really bad ones on both sides of the gender fence), but that doesn't mean that half of the programmers need to be women. If, on average, more men are inclined to be programmers, why not accept the ratios and go on with your life?
  • Did you, yourself, have to go through many psychological and social trials and tribulations before achieving your competence in computers? Did people point and laugh at you, call you names? Did people of the opposite sex consiously avoid you, showed no interest in you, because they knew that hanging out with you would mean ostracising themselves from their own social circle? As a matter of fact yes that happened to me and I have an X and Y chromosome, funny how geeks all share common social status whether they're male or female. When you were in college did you avoid discussing politics or technology with women? Did you talk to them at all other than when trying to come on to them? Actually I prefer talking about politics and technology with women because they're much more up for a conversation than the typical guy. I've never come onto a girl I'd just been talking to about random politics or some such. You're not helping break stereotypes dude.
  • by gargle ( 97883 )
    There're few things sicker than trying to get people to go into a field in which they genuinely have no interest in, just to satisfy economic pressures or whatever. My government back home does that - they're trying to get more women into engineering because there's a need for engineers.

    You don't know what you're asking for. A warning for you, these things come in packages: a society which does what you're suggesting is a very dictatorial, authoritarian society with limited respect for individual dreams and desires - it is in such a society which I lived for most of my life, and it is not good.

  • ... yes, there really is a connection between this topic and the distributed DoS attacks that made the news last week.

    As David Dittrich pointed out in his interview answers, attacks such as these are possible primarily because so many machines on the Internet are poorly secured. And that is mainly because there just aren't enough skilled sysadmins out there with the ability to do it right.

    Part of the problem, to be sure, are the suits who don't put enough attention and resources into hiring and training good sysadmins. But part of the problem is that there just aren't enough qualified people to start with. And there's the connection, because as Dr. Borg (what a name!) pointed out in the article, if women had been getting involved in technology as much as men have over the past decade or so, today's labor shortage certainly wouldn't be so bad (and might not have existed at all).

    Frankly, I think that a lot of the guys (I repeat: guys) in the thread so far who have been downplaying this problem are asinine in principle. The present inequality in a branch of the economy that's become so important should concern everyone; and it's easy for you to ignore it if you're in the majority.

    But even if you look at it on purely pragmatic grounds, the dearth of women in technology is still a problem crying out for a solution, because the workforce shortage is a problem, and we're leaving about 50% of the population essentially out of the picture. The labor shortage may be getting us a lot of job security and good pay, but we're also getting exceedingly long work weeks, and worst of all, too many critical tasks are being assigned to too few people. The result is that computer security, among other things, falls by the wayside.

    We have to have more skilled people in technology, and that won't happen without more gender equality.
  • Why do we need CS grads anyway ? IT (the stuff we actually get paid real money to do) is quite a different field from the somewhat theoretical nature of academic CS. Personally I'm a laser physicist by training, and my most highly regarded coworkers are a mix of other numerate disciplines, but far from being CS biased. If I was 17-18 these days, I hope someone would advise me to go and study almost anything other than pure CS.

    Lately I have mainly been working in a web design house. The place is full of young women; all moving into this lively, exciting and commercially hot field. Some are more techy, some less so, but none need a specific CS degree to do what they do.

    PS - If your name was "Borg", would you want to go anywhere near a CS geekpit ? How many Trek jokes do you think she still hasn't heard, and how many do the saddo fratboys keep thinking are new ?

  • The only "male supermodel" I could name is Fabio, and that's solely because he was hit on the nose by a low-flying goose during a rollercoaster ride (any surrealist would be jealous of an accident like that).

    He's probably also the only model who will have a weapon named after him in the next edition of "Worms". 8-)

  • Its always amusing to see the boys sitting at the round table discussing why or why not women do or do not do a particular thing. Can you say clueless? I knew you could.

    Other than the high pay and job availability at the present time I can't figure out why any of you think the computer field is enticing for anyone -- be they male or female. I am both female and a sys admin and if it were not for the pay and the job availability I'd leave this field in a New York minute.

    Unexpected problems pop up at the worst times. If there are problems the entire non-computer population of your particular company thinks its your own personal fault. If things go well you am rarely thanked -- even if you just worked an 80 hour week to ensure that things go smoothly. You are on call 24-7. You are expected keep up with current technology and to know every thing about every operating system ever written.... I could go on for hours.

    To top it all off we all seem to belong to this realm of arrogant geekdom -- its not really a friendly, fuzzy and warm inviting atmostphere. And you wonder why women aren't attracted to it?

    A better question would be, why are men SO attracted to it? If you could get anyone to answer truthfully I'd be willing to bet you could find its the money, the job availability, and power issues.
  • I would not consider Fabio a supermodel.

    The only true male supermodel that I can think of is Tyson (no, not the boxer). But ask a girl, and she would be able to name a few.

    For the most part, females look to movies, music and TV for their "super models".

    Ask anyone under 18:
    Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, (Something) Degrees

    18 - 30:
    Tom Cruise, Ricky Martin, Brad Pitt

    30 and over:
    Mel Gibson, George Clooney

    40 and over:
    Rober Redford

    So there you have it.
  • attempt to be honest. I mean, gasp, the horror of it all. As I said before, I know full well that women have the ability to focus. My mom is extremely extremely successful, much of this success is derived from her ability to focus and see things through. However, it IS a fundamentally different kind of focus. She is not by any means a nerd. She is able to at one moment, solve significant problems that her engineers at her company can't solve, while simultaneously dealing with other problems (e.g., tiffs between engineering and sales, personal problems, financial, etc.)

    In short, my mom is, in my opinion, at the top of her game as an engineer and entrepreneur. She is what many women aren't, because of a great deal of SOCIAL (read: nuture) problems. I fully recognize that UNNECESSARY social problems play a large role in keeping women out of certain fields (though many women PLAY THEMSELVES into that roll, to the constant annoyance of successful women such as my mother). None of this is to say, however, that men and women are created exactly equal, except for physical attributes.

    While it is true that the priorities of men also change after having a child, there is a world of difference. Men, for whatever reason, don't assume the same roles in bringing up a child as a women does. Very few men feel compelled to quit their jobs, or substancially reduce their hours for a couple year--that is a fact. You might argue much of it is social (although I think there are some chemical differences there), but that does not mean it does not play a key role on career paths. I know of a number of law firms, for instance, that have trouble retaining women--they just can't put in the kind of hours that is demanded of them, and do, what they could regard, as a proper parenting job. In talking to some of these female lawyers, I discovered that they were quite happy at the firm, they just wanted something else. Many were soon snatched up by corporations to act as corporate counsil, a job that requires fewer insane hours. I, too, know a few of these corporations, they consider themselves all too lucky to be able to hire a person that is much more qualified than any male in a similar role.

    Did I say I have "proof"? Did I say that I expect everyone to swallow it whole? No. Nor can you claim that your social influences are proof either. I think that both social and chemical differences play a role, social more than chemical (atleast in non-nerdy fields, e.g., law, medicine (although many med schools have more women enrolled than men), business, etc.

    Am I saying that women shouldn't enroll in programs such as engineering? No, not by a long shot. If they are happy with it, more power too them. In fact, that's exactly what my sisters are studying in college, and I support them entirely. The fact of the matter is that my mother outperformed nearly every man in her field, if my mother can do it, my sisters can do it. I think a better balance of men and women in engineering could even improve the field in general (although the means to achieve this I question sometimes) But that does not mean that I ever expect my sisters to behave the same way that thousands of young men have, through different cultures, through the decades. I don't confuse the ability to get things done, with the ability to lose sight of everything but ONE thing--in my experience, that is very much of a male attribute. Put simply, women are capable of doing the same job in engineering; it is the underlying motivations and approach that I question.
  • The only thing that this constant "where are the women"-type discussions on slashdot is doing is trivializing the women who ARE here. Sometimes I get so annoyed when everytime a story that asks "where are all the female geeks?" gets dozens of women essentially responding 'I'm here! I'm here!'.. only to be ignored.. and then ignored again the next week when a similar conversation comes about.. and again.. and again.. I've almost given up on posting my opinion on stories like this because I'm always ignored.

    On an entirely different note.. I honestly don't think we need to push women into computer science who don't want to be there. Many men LIKE spending all their time geeking in front of a computer, but unlike myself, most women DON'T.. and if forced into a career that they really don't want to do means they will be just unhappy in the future. (or will end up quitting their job to raise their snot nosed rugrats) I believe if you poll a group of computer science majors, many of the men will get into computer science because they like computer, or they're really geeks at heart, whereas most women will get into it to make money or for some other trivial reason.. but obviously NOT because they like computers. (Take the girl in front of me in Linear Algebra.. she spends all her time dressing slutty and acting stupid.. why the heck is she in Computer Science?)

    Another incredibly annoying result of trying to push more women into computer science is that the general opinion of male geeks about female computer science students goes right down the tube. More and more women are seen as "just not geeky enough", which really pisses at least this geeky person off. I've read several statements so far saying that women in CS don't know computers.. or have to take "beginners" courses, or need constant help from the teacher.. and I have to agree.. it's true. Call me selfish, or whatnot, but if I wanted to take classes with 95% women I'd major in business or marketing. I knew what I was getting into when I decided to major in computer science.. and I like it that way.
  • This is a favorite topic on Slashdot. Women in Comp Sci, female-related games, and percentage of female presence online - they're all related. It stems from the fundamental social issue that women have always been socialized AWAY from technology (for some reason). It has gotten steadily better, but it is still a big problem. Quotas and lower standards aren't the panacea...women aren't entering because they don't WANT to or aren't interested. They aren't interested because for 18 years they have been implanted with the idea that math, science and technology is not "for them". When we stop socializing females away from science/technology and towards other fields we will start seeing them entering science and technology more qualified and in higher numbers. It doesn't help us one bit to admit a whole bunch of female that are unqualified and uninterested in Comp Sci. They have to /want/ to, and instilling that want, or more accurately, simply refraining from inhibiting it, is a societal issue.

    Jazilla.org - the Java Mozilla [sourceforge.net]
  • Boys are wilder and more aggressive. So when there is computer time available, they will push
    the girls off. If teachers and parents don't do something about that, the girls won't fight back.


    I don't know what to say....does this sound really ridiculous to anyone else?


    I agree.. it's ridiculous. I can't recall a single time throughout my school career where I was "pushed" off the computer by a boy, or someone even attempted to. In grade school when there wasn't enough computers, the teachers had us team up with a friend to work on the computers (so it ended up being fairly equal boy/boy combos and girl/girl combos). In Jr. High and highschool when there were a lot of computers but nobody was using them me and my female friends were all *encouraged* to hang out in the computer lab and play educational games.

    And today schools are getting more and more computers, so I'd find it hard to believe that there would be such a dearth of computers that an elementary school class that boys and girls had to fight it out to be able to use them at all, and the teachers would stand for that kind of thing. (even if they had to split the class in half and even then have the students share computers like in my elementary school.. there still isn't a problem)
  • I wasn't consideirng unqualified women. My bad.

    But then there are also the unqualified men that we have to work with, too.

    But I am of the opinion that not all women are unqualified, and that any effort to bring more women into the field won't and shouldn't bring in unqualified workers. The issue is how to attract women into the right fields and disciplines, and work their way through(no more, no less than a male) etc.

    -AS
  • Why is it sexist?

    Of course the only trait isn't gender. Are we assuming, or not, that women are just as qualified as men to be engineers, scientists, and technical workers?

    If we are assuming this, then there is no conflict. They will rise and fall according to their ability, just like men. The only sexist thing is the belief that I value women higher than I value men. That's a selfish thing, though, in that I'm a man. That value, however, has nothing to do with skill or ability, and I would not judge the skill of a man or woman based on my preference for males or females. Thats an independent category, and one in which the women would be selected against, no different than men.

    -AS
  • Ahead of myself? Perhaps.

    But I don't see why there is any biological influence at all in working with computers. Or physics. Or English. Or arts.

    Maybe girls don't get different treatment. Is this what you imply? That girls get the same treatement as guys?

    Lets assume there is no gender bias in our culture. Is that too extreme? That girls and boys don't get treated differently, and that the only difference is biological. In which case, why should there be any difference then in job skills? Since when has computers been a part of our biological makeup? Or cooking? All these skills are learned and taught and passed on through tutelage, not genetics.

    I never made the assumption that men are women are biologically identical. Why is that necessary for women to go into technical fields? A difference in treatment is certainly a viable reason for a difference in behavior; it is certainly not the only reason, but I don't think I see why behavior is connected to being skilled in computing!

    -AS
  • W.R.T. women in the CS/IT field, I'm all for it. Working with women makes for a much more interesting environment.

    My concern with studies like this one is that the 'wrong' people will get fired-up, and over-zealously try to correct the situation the WRONG way. Quotas come to mind.

    The RIGHT way is to make the field appealing to women, and provide them with means to develop technical competency. An unfortunate fact is that the sciences are not as accessible to girls as they are to boys, during the early years of education.

    After the sour experience of grade-school, most girls avoid science in HS, and tend to avoid it in college, or they get brave and go into those sciences labeled as 'soft' (psych, socio).

    Hard science is fun, and it needs to be advocated better. Not only for the benefit of young girls but all children. The U.S. in particular is shooting itself in the foot by making science and math HARD to learn and HARD to like.

    There's a big issue hidden in here I think. I'm a CS grad student, and easily a third of my classmates are oriental, and another quarter is eastern European (Russian and thereabout). Maybe a quarter of the students are female. Now, I have no problem with race, but I find this disproportionate number of foreigners (I'm Polish BTW). There is much prejudice in the working world directed against non-male non-whites, yet few of them seek higher degrees.

    These white males are the ones who scream loudest about work-visa restrictions and foreigners taking away 'American' jobs. As if these guys wanted to pick lettuce for 12 hours a day, or hack code for $10/hr...

    Bothers me to think about it, so I don't. ;)
  • I would argue that modern feminism is based on the idea that one should not be utterly DEPENDANT. there is a difference between not dependant and independant, I hope you realize. and in this sense, yes, careers are financial freedom in the same sense that not living with your parents is financial freedom.

    I don't hate men, not do I distrust them. I am a feminist. perhaps in your world these things don't match up. perhaps you think of feminism through the filter of "feminazi". perhaps you should take another look.

    When I have talked with Ms. Borg, she has never suggested that the technologial fields are unfair to women becasue there are fewer of them than men. I've never heard her even suggest that every profession should be 52/48 female/male. however, I have heard her advocate the removal of barriers to women (and anyone else) that have nothing to do with skill.

    what could you possibly have against that? these barriers do exist. I personally can't see any reason for them.

    I have trouble believing that you believe that capable women should be ENCOURAGED not to work -- that they should only reproduce. perhaps I have misunderstood you? I hope so.

    suggesting that the most capable/smart/talented people should be reproduced is one thing (it's called eugenics), but suggesting that for one second that I, or any other woman, should be trapped by what I can do is utterly sexist and demeaning.

    I'm hoping I've misunderstood you, but I'm afraid I haven't.

    Lea

  • Since you love to generalize, why must liberals, such as yourself, put words in everyone's mouth, and generally overstate your case. That way no one can have any meaningfull discussion about anything.

    I never ONCE said that women are incapable of doing engineering. Nor did I say they're just capable of attaining "decent" skills, or that consequently, they're only cut out for middle management. My mom is no middle manager. She holds multiple key patents, started up multiple multi-million dollar companies, made some excellent products, created hundreds of skilled jobs, and made a hell of a lot of money in the process. She is no light weight by any stetch of the imagination. I don't think you understand, if I could have anyone's capabilities and intelligence, it would be hers. You either don't understand this, or YOU are trying to double talk.

    All I did was point to a few observations, that, I believe, are more than just social. I never said that any of these differences amount of incapability of performing the job. In fact, it would be ludicrous to believe that, given what I've told you about my mother.

    You might not think my experience is sufficient, but that does not mean that I must ignore it. There is something called intuition, that any business person or scientist must rely on. You can't do a great deal in this world, if all your actions must first be based on concrete proof. You seem to realize this on some level, as you're proceeding on many similar unproven claims (e.g., social over genetic)

  • My initial statement(s), boiled down, was this: Although, I agree that 99% of the problems that women face are social, there are some genetic differences. To automatically blame all disproportions of men to women in any field on social causes is a bit naive. One such attribute I've noticed is the lack of female geeks. When I say geeks, I don't just mean a social outcast or a person who can "focus". I mean a person who is so utterly involved in his work that he loses sight of all else, to a fault. The kind of personality, that from 3rd grade on, they would lock themselves up in a room and lose themselves to some project, just "because".

    Then you go and jump on my back, and say that this then must mean that I must think that women are lesser engineers than men. I simply never said anything to that effect--you put those words in my mouth. Then you start with your "read" games, which directly contradict many statements I've made to the contrary. For example, I said something to the effect that my mom is at the top of her game as an engineer. What part of that don't you understand? It is certainly not compatible with your "read": That women can't peform "...as capably as men". No, my mom outperformed men in virtually everything she's ever done, including engineering. The only exception to this is my father, who was unparalleled in his field. So if I had to quantify it, my dad would be #1, while my mom would be #2 in that particular field (while my mom would be #1 in many others combined), and thats out of however many thousands in the field. Traslation: Any EE school would be insane not to put her at the top of the list.

    The lack of the ability to be the kind of nerd I was referring, is not equivelent to not being able to perform every bit as well as that nerd. PERIOD.

    Rather than waste a great deal more time and energy on your petty "reads" and argue the obvious, I've come to the conclusion that you're just a meddlesome 3rd party. You are here to argue (rather then attempt understand, or reach a conclusion) above all else. I'd bet dollars to pesos that you're not a women, that you're white, and that you're middle class college aged (including grad school) kid...all this tends to breed a certain kind of liberalism that i've seen all too often (there's something to get your panties in an uproar)

    Good bye
  • Don't confuse the lack of willingess to engage in pointless discussions (and "arguments") with the lack of ability to argue. The fact of the matter is that you will (and have) arbitrarily "read", then criticise me for that interpretation ad nauseam. None the less, i'll repeat myself for the LAST time. My statements were quite clear and concise from the very beginning. The only thing that contradicts itself is your absurd interpretations of my comments ("read") with my other comments (which I intentionally made knowing people, such as yourself, would jump at the opportunity to call me a sexist). Thus I condensed and rendered my comments, in an attempt to get you to actually prove that I either: a) contradicted myself or b) outright said that women are not capable engineers. Instead, YOU, the great hypocrite, can do nothing other than say that you can't be bothered to "repeat" what i've ACTUALLY said.
    Well, I'm glad I've helped show you that you painted yourself into a corner, because your above statement makes no sense. "All I've said about women's personality absolutely makes NO difference in their ability". Well then, it seems everything you've attempted to extrapolate means nothing. Women's inability to focus, or give up being mom, or whatever else are apparently absolutely trivial (how? Got me - sounded originally like you had something to say).
    I said women are not nerds. But I never once said that all good engineers are nerds. It does NOT logically follow in any of my statements that ALL good engineers must be nerds, and therefore men. One would have to question your bias even more when considering that I repeatedly stated that my mom is one of the best in her field (as an engineer). You must either think that I'm incapable of even the most basic of logic (which is highly improbable), or you must think that all good engineers are nerds. What I did was mention an area in which women are different from men in. The fact that so many people, particularly liberals, insist that men and women are the exact same (ignoring strength, build, and the like) makes it relevant. It is simply bullshit. Differences have been shown time and time again, to varying degrees, by psychologists, sociologists, statisticians, and many other respect groups. There is also a strong evolutionary argument in support of that. (Despite your previous feeble argument comparing race to sex). However, I didn't wish to get entrenched in all of that (nor do I wish to at this time either), so I presented my own PERSONAL EXPERIENCE (ring a bell?)
    Uh, right. Meddlesome third party. In the context of slashdot posting this means what? Nothing? Of course.
    The dictionary defines "third party" as: "someone other than the principals who are involved in a transaction". Thus, given the fact that you lack certain organs, and the fact that you're not me, you are a third party. You do not have a direct interest in this (and please don't quote MLK Jr. or Buber, as it isn't terribly relevant). My experience is that most women, baring a few femi-nazis, are much cooler about my statements. In addition, this has been repeated by many women succesful women (in fields such as business, law, medicine, engineering, etc.)...women have have pushed through A LOT of bullshit, including my mother. However, they, like myself, do not have the same messed up thinking you do (e.g., difference == lesser). Likewise, many of them will even readily admit that women are not cut out for most military rolls (and others yet think, as such, should not even have some rolls which they could technically perform)...it goes beyond just the physical as well.
    The sure sign you've won a debate is when the person you're arguing with gets personally hostile, attempts to provoke you, and resorts to attempting to personally attack an anonymous person. Funny, really.
    You are obviously repeating this without thinking. You, from the very beginning, boxed me in, and called me, in so many words, a sexist, a moron, you name it. Those are offensive in and of themselves. Therefore, it does automatically follow that your superior intellect won the argument. The only time your opponent's anger is relevant is when you are having a purely intellectual discussion, free from name calling and the like. Only after you got "personal", by calling me a sexist, putting words in my mouth, etc, did I give you some of your own medicine.
    Ahh yes, you the "wise old man" dismissing my arguments as that of an uh, crazy upstart middle class grad student. Unfortunately you're wrong, but we'll skip my biography as you'll realize it's not relevant (And by the way, who are you, great wisened one? I would bet the clippings from my left toe you are a white, suburban high school or very early college kid). It's unfortunate that you're so unable to defend your posistion the best you can do is attempt" (there's something to get your panties in an uproar)"
    I am currently in business school full time and working part time, amongst other things; I am not some little frat boy despite your assertions to the contrary. I have made a couple moves, been to a few different schools, and seen and helped a few companies grow, and been through a suprising amount of shit. Although I do currently live in the suburbs, I lived in the city (various cities at that) extensively. As the result of my experiences, I can speak of the "real" world quite well. I know what it takes to startup a significant company, and I know what it takes to develop a usefull product. [You likely have no experience with either, and as such have little to no respect for either, as you seem to believe the highest calling must can't be to actually CREATE anything, such as a company. Although, this was not what I was arguing. Even if I asserted that women are lesser engineers than men (which I did not), or are only capable as highly technical managers/entreprenuers, that is no small task in and of itself...which I have TREMENDOUS respect for. Witness my career of choice.] With you, I evidently hit the nail right on the the head. The fact that you are a grad student, and likely leaning towards academia speaks volumes. That is...as long as you wish to play the name calling game. Anyhow, I have to go...bye
  • I think that's been made blatantly obvious.
    Yet again, you dodge the bullet. Try PROVING it. The only thing you've got are your bullshit interpretations, which conflict with everything I've said.
    You've made many statements as to what women are worse at, and why they are "not as able" to do certain things. Many of these things are related to CS/Engineering jobs.
    I never said women are "worse" at anything. I said they're not nerds, and you carry this out to a point where it does not logically follow.
    Once again, you run into your strange dichotomy. Women aren't nerds. Nerdy qualities are required for many, many aspects of the CS/Engineering world. Yet once again there's no correlation! Amazing.
    Who said, that, "nerdy qualities are required"? Certainly not I. Nor do I believe this to be true. I, in fact, have experienced otherwise many times, my mom being a prime example. But I guess YOUR experience is the only thing that counts for anything, eh? Did it ever occur to you that I might know a hell of a lot more about the field than you? Did it ever occur to you that "nerd" carries much more of a specific definition for me? Of course not. You then follow YOUR OWN ASSUMPTIONS and purport them to be gospel, using this as the basis to call me a sexist (or to say that I think women engineers are necessarily lesser, which is the same damn thing). Furthermore, "nerdy qualities" do not necessarily make a nerd. Logic....anyone? What you are implying is that all good engineers/CS people must be nerds. In order to be consistent with my original quick definition of nerd (to maintain your accusation), you must also hold the opinion that all good engineers lack social skills and the like.
    You heavily qualified what your mother's type of engineering was. Non-nerdy, not nuts and bolts, but some sort of more abstracted womanly sort of thing
    I did? Where? Show me the proof. I, effectively, stated that my mom is president/CEO. No where do I say my mom is limited to this. I told you, in so many words, that she graduated TOP OF HER CLASS at one of the best EE schools in the country. I told you that she is able to solve problems that none of her engineering team is able to solve. I told you that she personally holds many patents. I told you that she has the ability to "see ANY problem through". I told you that she's "at the top of her game as an engineer and entreprenuer". Yet you manage to assume that all this mean's she's only capable of "soft" stuff. I simply never said anything to that effect. If anyone's bias is showing through here, it is yours. You, apparently, think that being a good president/CEO and being a good engineer are mutually exclusive. I, in fact, have MORE respect for my mom than any engineer. Not only is she an extremely talented engineer, but she also is an excellent entreprenuer. In my opinion, this is the highest calling...instead of building someone else's crap, you create something of use to the world, and MAKE it a reality through sheer force of will (not the only necessary quality, but it is what seperates the "men from the boys", so to speak).
    Eh? We're having a two-way conversation here. I suppose you prefer to talk without listening or having to defend your points, but hey, that's not the way these boards work. You of course are not forced to debate (or reply to) anything. In fact I'd recommend against it in your case - you're better at eroding your own case than making it.
    My comment about "third parties", is not that you don't have the right to speak or debate. Rather, that most people who are motivated to argue out of direct self-interest IN THE PROBLEM (not the argument itself) are, in my experience, far more pragmatic. They are interested in the solution or the conclusion, instead of arguing for the sake of arguing, or for the sake of effectively calling me a sexist. Although you can argue that these women are all just sexist (not that I could give a damn), it does not make my statement any less true.
    Hahah - oh my. The more you talk, the more grave digging you do. Certainly you're not sexist now? Or pehaps you are, but you're acceptibly sexist (because you have women who agree with your viewpoint, and thus it must be correct/okay)? Women can't handle military roles. Is this the same "male only focus thing"? Or perhaps because women lack aggressive tendencies? Perhaps women just lack the balls to kill (HAR HAR HAR). What stereotype will we identify and rest assured from your personal experience it's biological? Apparently your amount of bigotry/stereotyping is not sexist. How much further would we need to go before you considered it bigoted/sexist?
    First off, I never ACTUALLY said that women are not cut out for the military, that is yet another assumption of yours. I said, that, some women hold that to be true. I do happen to agree though, that women generally should not have a place in the military. The fact of the matter is that, in most every military context, men are vastly physically superior (a known and undebatable fact). Even if you hold that women are mentally and socially the same, this is a very significant fact. The military has always been about numbers, it is not supposed to be a place for social experiments. The costs of engaging in the training and screening necessary for women, exceed the benefits. Additionally, it has been shown many times that women do not have the same propensity for violence that men do. Whether, or not, you believe these causes to be social or biological is irrelevant. There are additional costs incurred here.
    I think my cousin, a 2nd lieutenant graduated from the Air Force Academy would probably take exception to your assertion.
    Since you seem to think that women who think otherwise are essentially irrelevant, you should also hold the view that your cousin's point of view and experience is just as questionable. Though I would disagree, you seem to think that we should just surrender all conclusions drawn from hard earned experience to the powers that be.
    Actually no, you didn't hit the nail on the head. I'm not a grad student, I'm not leaning toward academia. I've never said that, you just flat made it all up.
    I misread ONE of your comments, you never actually said you are a grad student. Although, I suspect you are something in that region...your general attititude is not afforded by people with things to accomplish. I am judging you based on your nickname, your words, and other such associations. Deal with it.
    However if you'll read my first posts, you'll notice I never attack YOU, I attack your statements or ideas. Calling your point stupid is a fundamentally different thing from calling YOU stupid. This is called mature debating, I'm sorry you couldn't make the distinction and handle it.
    You CLAIMED, that, I said things that I did not; that alone is sufficiently offensive. There is nothing mature about your style of "debating". Particularly, when you feel the need to fall back on your supposed "friends" as your rallying point.... The End.
  • The problem is that girls who otherwise might be interested in CS are unable to even consider it as a possibility, due to such statements as "girls just aren't interested in CS."

    Many girls get pushed out of science and math when they are in high school, thus limiting their possibilities simply due to lack of proper education.

    The "system" isn't always to blame, but the problem with generalizing behavior is that when that generalization becomes a cultural norm. Thus it is a self-fulfilling prophesy: girls aren't interested because in this society we have decided that girls aren't interested.

    Doug

"It doesn't much signify whom one marries for one is sure to find out next morning it was someone else." -- Rogers

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