Fog Creek Software
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Men

I know how much you all love it when I complain about sexism, so...
We have meetings every week at work to exchange information, and this week it was about ANT. The guy presenting (Ralph) started out assuming everyone was already familiar with ANT, since his group all uses Java. However I and one of the guys in my group have used mostly Perl. Our manager said "Wait a minute, Little Lady and Jimmy don't know anything about ANT. You have to start at a more introductory level." Ralph said he had not expected to talk about that level, and anyway everyone should have read the ANT page before the meeting. I said to my manager "I am familiar with ANT, I have used it" and I assumed he, and everyone, heard me (but I don't speak very loud, being a mouse).
Then my manager proceeded to explain ANT at the baby-beginner level, looking at me the whole time. He did not address it to Jimmy, who had freely admitted to not knowing anything about ANT.
I felt singled out in front of the whole meeting as the novice who would not even have thought to read the ANT page before the meeting.
Does it sound like this has something to do with my belonging to the weaker-brained sex? Should I have said something, or should I say something if this keeps on happening? Should I just practice having a louder more authoritative voice?

Little Lady
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

It sounds more like the usual bullsnot that everyone (male or female) experiences in the typical corporate environment.  In case you haven't noticed, companies are filled with abrasive jerks who never pass-up the opportunity to belittle a cow-orker.

If that was the worst thing that happened to you that day, consider yourself lucky.

Where's my stapler?
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

You are too self-observant.  And apparently you equate your small stature with the lack of power you present.  But in reality, you were in a situation where you let people misunderstand things, just because you did not want to make your voice heard.

People are not concentrating on you as much as you are.

Now, if you were talking about lewd comments, or if you presented yourself as a confident and competent person but "sense" that men were getting more responsibilities, that would be a different matter.

anon
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

By the way, it seems your manager is a bit dense.

anon
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Yes, he must be dense. He knows I knew Java before starting the job, and that I did a small JSP project last summer. Could it be amnesia?

Little Lady
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Well, even if he had amnesia, other people must have remembered the project.  You now look like an idiot who couldn't even speak up to say that you knew ANT.

Take a self-assertiveness class, or an acting class.  Something where you have to speak in front of others.

Get over yourself and work on some people skills.

Contrary Mary
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

I have some interpersonal skills, and have public speaking experience, actually. I think maybe I was kind of startled while he was looking at me and making everyone wait while he explained it just for me. I was in a rage inside, but stayed perfectly calm on the outside. If I said anything my real feelings might have come out and it would have been a disaster. I've had many other experiences with him that make me wonder what he thinks of me.
I have considered speaking to him about it privately, maybe trying to find out if he really thinks I'm dumb. I admit I'm a little afraid of him because he gets angry very easily.
I'm not sure what if anything to do about this, so that's why I'm asking you all.

Little Lady
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

If it makes you feel any better, I found that when doing technical training with a small group I usually focused on the person/people that I thought were "getting it".  Maybe your body language simply demonstrated this (head nods and so forth) and it created a connection.

I used to give stand-up technical discussions about once a month to new hires and I found that the people who demonstrated a greater measure of attention or understanding were the people I was really talking to.  Sex had little to do with it.  I just didn't like the feeling that I was talking to a post or that I couldn't move on because nobody "got it".

Torment
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

Maybe that's all it was. I pay attention to people when they talk and make eye contact, and try to make them feel that I'm interested. I probably was doing that at the meeting, so he looked at me more than at the other guy.

Little Lady
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

...Or maybe your manager finds you more attractive than Jimmy :)
People doing presentations unconsciously concentrate on nice faces.

raindog
Wednesday, January 08, 2003

On the feelings thingy, as a woman this is something I think about a lot. I am nervous of showing any emotion because I think it reduces my power in the workplace. But I read recently that because women don't express feelings properly in the workplace, they are actually giving up power! Apparently women are much less likely than men to stand up and say, "When you did this the other day, it make me angry. Don't do it again". I am working on trying to express my feelings in a non-threating way, without giving up personal power. I'd try and say something like the following one-on-one to my boss:

"Boss, some confusion arose in the meeting the other day and you got the impression somehow that I don't understand ANT. I just wanted to clarify that I did use ANT as part of the work I did at Acme before I joined the company. I thouht the rest of the presentation was really useful, though, because it reminded me that we can use the dongle-dodad in the flarble library to create a whole new dingbat for the florble project".

Astarte
Thursday, January 09, 2003

Little lady,

The reason the manager looked at you more than Jimmy probably has nothing to do with your perceived competence.

Given the choice between looking at a man and looking at a women, most hetrosexual men will choose the latter. 

Was he making eye contact, or was he focusing on your face, or elsewhere?

Male Chauvenist Pig
Thursday, January 09, 2003

How much daily contact do you have with the manager?

In my experience, after I've been working with somebody regularly for some time, I forget about their gender, race, etc.

Doesn't work for everyone, though. A few years ago, I had a nasty run in with a female developer who immediately assumed I thought she was intellectually inferior to me and acted appropriately, which annoyed the hell out of me. I wasn't interested in whether or not she was a woman, I was interested in whether or not she could fix bugs!

Anon
Thursday, January 09, 2003

I think you're thinking about it too much.  "Women" tend to over analyze things :)  The reason he was looking at you could be any combination of what previous posters have said, or it could be anything else also.  Life is full of inequities and you have to move on or else you'll be stuck in rut wasting time worrying about every little nagging thing that happens which may or may not be perceived as sexist behavior.

If I were you, if I still felt the need to address this issue and take action somehow to "get over it", then I would go with Contrary Mary's suggestion about being more self-assertive.

Sorry about sounding too brash, but IMHO there's bigger life issues to worry about in the world than what one person thinks about you -- unless that one person is you're boyfriend, husband, or some other type of significant other :)

Cheers, and hope everything works out!

HeyMacarana
Thursday, January 09, 2003

Guys, this is not for your ears to hear or eyes to read, just women's talk ;-)

Little Lady,

men just love to explain things to women. I guess it is as simple as that. It makes them feel superior.

Have fun,

Jutta Jordans
Thursday, January 09, 2003

[there's bigger life issues to worry about in the world than what one person thinks about you --
unless that one person is you're boyfriend, husband, or some other type of significant other]

I would say my boss is a significant other!
I think worrying what he thinks of me is pretty rational.

Little Lady
Thursday, January 09, 2003

------------------------------------------------------------
I would say my boss is a significant other!
I think worrying what he thinks of me is pretty rational.
----------------------------------------------- Little Lady

After all, your career is in his hands.

Ged Byrne
Thursday, January 09, 2003

Do you really call yourself "Little Lady" in meetings?

Uh-huh
Thursday, January 09, 2003

A few days ago I was in meeting with about 20 people.  As the meeting was breaking up I saw someone I needed to talk to.  He was still sitting at a table going over some papers he had, so I walked up  beside him and spoke to him.  He didn't even notice I was there.

Why?  I can't blame it on being female.  It wasn't terribly unusual; that sort of thing happens to me all the time.  I don't have a very loud voice and in this instance with a crowd of people around I underestimated how much volume I needed to get through to someone who was concentrating on something else.  Maybe your manager just didn't hear you.

It is hard to tell from your short description whether your manager is sexist.  There is a certain amount of randomness to the way people act and to life in general.  If you want to be paranoid and assume that whatever happens to you is the result of a vast conspiracy, then you can find adequate evidence if you are careful to select out the events that support such a view.

This is not to say that there aren't people in software development who are sexist, racist, ageist, whatever-ist.  But the ones I've seen were fairly blatant about it.  You didn't have to dig for evidence by being concerned about whether someone misestimated your current level of knowledge when explaining something to you.

I know that when I ask for an explanation of something and then get a dissertation about stuff I already know it is annoying and I want to tell the person to skip all that, but usually I just let them go through it.  Determing someone's current level of knowledge when you are explaining something to them can be rather difficult.

mackinac
Thursday, January 09, 2003

As the previous post mentioned it is indeed hard to tell from your post wether your boss is sexist.
Without wanting to be rude, they do however seem to be signalling that you yourself stand a serious chance of being a sexist.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, January 09, 2003

I am a sexist. I think that women are inferior in terms of accomplishments, independence, confidence, etc. We can't blame men for that; it's nature and nurture and whatever.
Women like me who want to have a career and be successful in some way have to overcome both social prejudices (which are often justified) and our own lack of confidence.
I am not angry at men for under-estimating me. I'm just trying to learn how to have it happen less often, looking for new ideas.

Little Lady
Thursday, January 09, 2003

"I am a sexist. I think that women are inferior in terms of accomplishments, independence, confidence, etc."

Have you ever thought that this might be a self-fulfilling prophecy? Why should women be inferior in any of these areas? As for accomplishments, just look at Grace Hopper - few men or women can claim to have accomplished that much for computer science.


"We can't blame men for that; it's nature and nurture and whatever."

I'm familiar with the idea, but I find it repulsive. Everybody is responsible for what he or she is making out of his or her life. Blaming it on other factors is just that - shifting blame.

"Women like me who want to have a career and be successful in some way have to overcome both social prejudices (which are often justified) and our own lack of confidence."

That seems to be the problem - you are not confident that you are on par with your colleagues. Everything right to your nick says "Do I really belong to this group?".  I don't think that's a question anybody on this board can answer.

"I am not angry at men for under-estimating me. I'm just trying to learn how to have it happen less often, looking for new ideas. "

Try not underestimating yourself. Realistically asses what you can do, and what your colleagues can do, then play to your strengths. If you find that difficult to do, here's a little trick I've been using for some time: Collect everything that somehow demonstrates an achievement of yours. A letter of congratulation, an article about your work, a code snippet you consider brilliant. Put them all in a binder and keep it close by. Thumb through it from time to time - it works wonders for my confidence.

Good luck!

Groby
Thursday, January 09, 2003

One of my teachers in high school described how they played with the psych prof.

They split the class in half based on position in the lecture hall.  One size of the room stared off to space, didn't take notes, etc.  The other half of the class raptly paid attention, took notes, etc.  Within 5-10 minutes, the prof was just lecturing to the class that was paying attention and ignoring the ones that wasn't.

w.h.
Thursday, January 09, 2003

What they're saying: Be strong, be yourself.  If you believe you belong, and are willing to learn and work at improving yourself, you do.  Ignore people who are trying to stroke their own egos by making up reasons why they are better than you are.  They will always do that, and some of them will always succeed.  It's amazing how many ex coworkers of mine are better at assembly programming than I am, got into the field earlier / at a younger age, etc.  Focus on the things you do well, get better and better at them, and you will earn intelligent people's respect.

I know my way of dealing with sexism -- I don't want to put down men and glorify women, or make excuses for the failings of the women I know just so I can make them a group I can be proud to belong to.  So I ignore gender as best I can, and figure that if others are actually being sexist toward me either A) they'll be convinced by my ability or B) having determined they aren't convinced of my ability I'll quit (even if I don't know why they aren't convinced).

Still, it disappoints me that I don't know any strong-minded, talented technical women, who love their jobs, who like to talk geek stuff, who I can respect and look up to.  Not personally, not through my several jobs, not from my school career.  We have to go back to Grace Hopper and Ada Lovelace for role models.  I guess that's another small thing I like about this board: Most everyone here is intelligent, well spoken, technical, with diverse backgrounds and interests, AND it just so happens some of these people I think highly of are female.

Mikayla
Thursday, January 09, 2003

[it disappoints me that I don't know any strong-minded,talented technical women]

That's right. There were 2 women and how many hundreds or thousands of men who contributied to this field.
No one knows why, but it is a fact.

Little Lady
Thursday, January 09, 2003

"I would say my boss is a significant other!
I think worrying what he thinks of me is pretty rational."

Okay, point taken, but I still think you think too much and about what other people think about you.  It's not like it's a sign that he's going to give you a bad review at the next performance evaluation or dock your paycheck soon.

Just do the best darn job that you can and eventually you'll succeed at disarming any stereotypes associating you with your gender.  If men were to always view women in a condescending manner then there wouldn't be any female CEOs (like Carly Fiorina of HP, Meg Whitman of eBay, and a host of others like them).

I'm sure Fiorina, Whitman, and other C-level executive women faced the same social pressures and "glass ceilings" at the workplace as you just did.  However, I think they overcame those obstacles by not wasting time worrying too much about other people's misconceptions, since they know they can do the job and do it well, and after they're done all people CAN say is how great they are at doing their jobs.

If you really, really, really are interested to know what you're boss thinks of you then just go ahead and confront him -- in a very tactful manner -- since you said he was prone to get angry easily.  Otherwise, you'll just do yourself in with this type of thinking and become depressed.  That's definately not going to help you on the job and most likely will do harm to your career.

Strive for greatness and you'll succeed!  Good luck.

HeyMacarana
Thursday, January 09, 2003

The problem is of course that as a woman you are not really capable of thinking through this a logically as a man might.
I suggest that you take a deep breath and count to 10.  Then remind yourself that its not important what others think of you, its only important that you follow the guidance and leadership of the more experienced and more capable men around you.
As a woman you are labouring under a distinct disadvantage as a programmer, the ability to place yourself within a paradigm and write that to code is something that requires a mans thought processes...similar to the way that men tend to be better placing themselves spacially...

If I was your boss I would also take extra care in explaining such things to you, rather than feeling hurt or threatened you should be grateful for the time he is spending bringing you up to the level of understanding that someone like Jimmy would no doubt get at once.

Hasan Basri
Thursday, January 09, 2003

Someone should hit you with a clue stick.
You did not speak up during the incident. It upset you but you said nothing! You say you were in a rage, but said nothing!
It is your own damn fault.
Speak. Your job requires you do more than type things into a computer. Put your hand in the bosses face and tell him to stop! Yes, he does think you are an idiot. Why? Because, you wasted the time of everyone in the room while he explained ANT to you. You could have said “Stop, I know ANT, maybe you need to explain this to Jimmy.”
It is your responsibility to inform your boss about what you know. To be so arrogant as to believe your boss has the time to memorize your resume is ridiculous. He does not remember what you did on your last job.
So this meeting happens and you feel upset, then you analyze all your feelings and start to feel bad. Do you go and tell your boss this is wrong, this is sexist. No! You come here and ask complete strangers to validate your self-pity.
Humbug.

Doug Withau
Thursday, January 09, 2003

Management ranks are often made up of low achievers who play golf with or otherwise click on an interpersonal level with the ownership and executives of their employe's companies. Think "Peter Principle" - this is reality at more places than either of us would care to admit.

The glad handing and shallow personality characteristics required to impress higher-ups also make people like your manager believe that appearance and perception *ARE REALITY*. Basically, dumb shallow people who believe that their personal prejudices are reality, tend to be most promotable because they make their own managers feel good and not inadequate. And "feel good" is the antithesis of critical thought and genuine insight... because all that critical thought and insight "drags everyone down".

Basically, it sounds like you've been pigeonholed by a turd whose agenda is to indulge his own sense of order and equity. Dunno what to do about it except work to build your stock up with those around you at a peer level that you also respect.

Hostile Curmudgeon
Thursday, January 09, 2003

I don't think she needed to be confrontational.  I imagined how one even-tempered person I know would handle this, and he'd smile wide-eyed, interrupt, and say something like, "Wait a second, you're looking at me as if I don't know this."

Tj
Thursday, January 09, 2003

[the ability to place yourself within a paradigm and write that to code is something that requires a mans thought processes.]

Yes, I think you're right. I'm going back into the kitchen now where I belong (but following a recipe might be too much of a strain on my tiny brain).

Little Lady
Thursday, January 09, 2003

I think I can answer my own question (thanks to those of you who at least tried to make sense).
The secret is to have realistic confidence. My boss (who is a great programmer, by the way) seems to respect me when I'm feeling realistically confident. By that I mean: aware of what I know and what I don't know; having a balanced view of my abilities which is not inflated or self-effacing; concentrating and paying attention to the problem being discussed; not letting my mind wander. For example, if I'm thinking "Oh I wonder if he thinks I'm dumb because I'm a woman," I am not thinking about the problem that we're trying to solve at that moment, or the thing I'm supposed to be remembering.
I guess what I'm trying to say is there is a zen of being a confident person at work, which is probably more common among men since they are more "at home" in a work context than women are. If I temporarily forget what sex I am and remember that in the work context I am a person with the ability to solve certain kinds of problems and to have certain kinds of knowledge -- when I can manage that others will see me as a person, not just as a woman.
I will never be as loud and confident as some of the guys there. However, lots of guys are quiet and modest and have a balanced view of themselves.

Little Lady
Thursday, January 09, 2003

I did speak thusly:
[the ability to place yourself within a paradigm and write that to code is something that requires a mans thought processes.]

Little Lady intelligently replied:
[Yes, I think you're right. I'm going back into the kitchen now where I belong (but following a recipe might be too much of a strain on my tiny brain). ]


It is a possibility...the secret to avoiding overheating your brain in this fashion is to remove your shoes (and socks). this allows a greater rate of air circulation and ensures that your blood (and therefore your brain) remains cool, reducing the strain.
If you find that you still suffer from brain strain whilst reading, something else you can try is to increase the surface area of your body in some way, thus speeding up the cooling process.  The most common method of doing this is enlarging the stomach area, this area being the most elastic.

HTH

Hasan Basri
Thursday, January 09, 2003

Good idea. Barefoot and pregnant keeps the brain from overheating.

Little Lady
Thursday, January 09, 2003

Perhaps your boss directed his hand-holding explanation at you because of Jimmy, not you.  Perhaps Jimmy has a fragile ego (or you boss assumed he does because he's male), and decided that you as a woman would be the least likely to take offense, even if he was explaining largely for Jimmy's sake.  Or you may have been the sacrificial "village idiot" for the sake of your boss's team's prestige in the eyes of the Java team.

ODN
Friday, January 10, 2003

"I am a sexist. I think that women are inferior in terms of accomplishments, independence, confidence, etc."

When I started reading the thread I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

But by the time I got to this post it was clear to me that you are projecting your own inferiority complex onto the rest of us. I don't know if your coworkers are sexist or not, but I don't think that you can assess the situation realistically in this state of mind.

Leaving aside the obvious untenability of statements like the one above - if you believe it, I'm not sure what behaviour from others would satisfy you.

If you truly believe yourself (leave the rest of us out of it, please) to be inferior, then why object when others treat you as inferior?

And if your alleged superiors were to treat you as an equal, would you not see this as special treatment to cushion your alleged weaknesses and be offended by it? Or, conversely, feel pressured by expectations you felt unable to meet?

The level of confusion you display will probably not be assuaged by discussing it with us. I think professional counselling would be more appropriate.

I wish you the best of luck.

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, January 10, 2003

If you could bring yourself to look objectively at the statistics you would see that women, as a whole, have not accomplished nearly as much in technology, and in science in general, as men have.
In previous ages this was because women were usually prevented from being educated. Now maybe it's because they have to balance family and career. I am not judging anyone, and the last thing I meant to say was that I am inferior because I'm a woman.
But you're more interested in believing what you want to believe than in looking at the statistical facts.

Little Lady
Friday, January 10, 2003

Little Lady,

You are only inferior because you measure by criteria that support this inferiority.

In general, no one is inferior to anyone, unless you start looking at specifics. Meaning, humans are not inferior to gorilla's, unless of course you look at sheer body strength.

But there is a more subtle effect that you seem to be missing. It is in the point of view. Consider the following:

- Humans are inferior to machines because humans are easily distractable.

Is that true? Yes, because humans are indeed distractable. Make a loud noise in a room of people and look how many will look up. Probably all of them, at least most of them.

It seems that humans are indeed inferior to machines...
...if you need dedicated attention and unrelentless devotion to a task.

So lets go with machines instead, right? But wait, now there is a small fire. Look at the dedication of that machine. Still going strong while the fire grows.
All humans have left the building and have started to fight the fire, but that machine has just perished. Too bad.

So what's the deal? If you measure a human by machine criteria, it will surely look bad. Likewise the other way around. Now look at the human from a human perspective.

- A human is attentive to its environment, which allows it to survive under the most difficult and unpredictable of circumstances.

That's not a defect, that's an asset. A human asset perfectly fit for our environment.

So what does this have to do with you? Well, you appear to measure yourself by foreign standards. No wonder you look bad. Are you bad at logic? So what, logic is a human invention and probably a male invention. Are you bad at showing off? So what, isn't that a male trait too? And males haven't had a real (natural) need for it for ages either.

Of course you could still be inferior to others anyway, but go shame yourself for thinking it could be because your a female, unless you have good reason to measure by male criteria.
I don't feel inferior either just because I do not have breasts and can not feed my newborn.

Practical Geezer
Friday, January 10, 2003

"[...] the last thing I meant to say was that I am inferior because I'm a woman."

Well, in that case, I can see only one thing left that you could have meant to say: Women in general are inferior, but you're not, and you're afraid that your male colleagues will look at you and see a Woman derived from the class Inferior, instead of seeing you as the competent, experienced special case that you are.

Do I understand you correctly now?

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, January 10, 2003

Fernanda,
Can you explain to me, in a logical way, why you think women are not inferior, from the perspective of modern science and technology.
Based on the number of important inventions and discoveries, how can you claim that women have accomplished the equivalent of men?
I am not talking about the reasons. And I am not talking about anything besides science and technology right now. Women might be better at nurturing, applying lipstick, and whatever else.
If you deny that women as a group are inferior in this respect, then explain your reasons. Don't just get mad because you don't like reality.

Little Lady
Friday, January 10, 2003

White Americans have 'accomplished' far more than Black Americans in the areas of science and technology (even allowing for relative population sizes) over the last 200 years. Does this mean that blacks are 'inferior'? Or does that mean that there are complex socio-economic issues surrounding the issue of 'accomplishment' and that it may be a poor measure of ability, especially when generalized to large groups?

I've just re-read this entire thread and if the logic you have displayed here is any indication of your analytical abilty in general then maybe the problem is that you truly are inferior in ability, not because you are a woman, but just because it is not a talent that you happen to have in great measure.

SM
Friday, January 10, 2003

There is a difference between describing the statistical characteristics of a group as a whole, and talking about individual members of the group. If you have no knowledge of statistics (and you apparently don't) you will not be able to grasp this.

Little Lady
Friday, January 10, 2003

Another example:  Our company does a lot of technical support and the support staff is about 50/50 men and women.  The female support staff often have trouble getting callers to trust their recommendations.  When this is the case, they simply transfer the call to a male rep, who makes an identical recommendation.  Problem solved.

Attitudes are moving in the right direction.  Maybe in a few decades...

Bill Carlson
Friday, January 10, 2003

I apologize for thinking that you were confused. I thought you were saying several things at once:

a) that you were afraid you were being perceived as inferior
b) that you thought the perception of inferiority was a result of your womanhood
c) that you were afraid that you *were* inferior because of your womanhood
d) that you wanted to stop this treatment of you as inferior

However, reading all of your posts, I now get a clearer picture, and obviously point c) does not apply. You are not afraid that *you* are inferior because of your womanhood.

Instead, you seem to be saying that women are demonstrably inferior as a group, and should be perceived as such. You are also, however, indignant at any assumption that you, personally, are inferior,  because that would be treating you as a group member and not as an individual.

In other words, you think that sexism is rational unless it's done to you. Women are group members, but you are not. You're special, and should be treated as special. A statistical weighing of your probable abilities based on your membership of an inferior group is not what you think people should be using to make decisions about how to treat you. Instead, they should memorize your résumé and keep the details of your achievements uppermost in their minds whenever they have dealings with you.

And once we get down to axiomatic stuff like 'I don't believe that large sections of society are as good as other sections' or 'I don't believe that anybody else in the world is conscious except me' you get into the realm of the unarguable. It all boils down to values. I don't agree with yours.

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, January 10, 2003

Little Lady - I apologize for implying, however obliquely, that you might not be very bright. I don't know you and what little I do know has been gleaned from a few anonymous posts. Even if I find your arguments strikingly lacking it doesn't excuse the rather snide comment I made about your abilities.

On the other hand you don't help yourself very much by responding with a non sequitur about individual vs group characterisitics when we were both, obviously, talking about the differences in characteristics between groups. And then topping it off with an attack on my knowledge of elementary statistics based on your own non sequitur.

SM
Friday, January 10, 2003

"Can you explain to me, in a logical way, why you think women are not inferior, from the perspective of modern science and technology.
Based on the number of important inventions and discoveries, how can you claim that women have accomplished the equivalent of men?"

You are using the word "inferior" in a different sense from what I would if you use it to refer to the historical accomplishments of an arbitrarily defined segment of the population rather than as a description of the innate or potential ability of members of that group.  Many more men than women have worked in the programming & computer science fields.  Therefore more innovations in those areas have come from males.  However, if you take a male and a female with the same amount of background in the field, and give them each the same amount of training, there's no reason to expect one to do better than the other.  (Or if you want an actual statistically valid study - pick a number of randomly seleted male-female pairs, controlling for previous background, until you have a significant sample size.  You probably won't find a noticeable correlation between ability and gender.)  When you use words like "inferior," you imply that the actual ability of an average female with x amount of training is less than that of an average male with the same amount of training, and I haven't seen any evidence of that.  My workgroup has 8 male programmers & 2 female programmers, but the females we have are just as good as the males.  All I see is a culture that encourages one gender more than the other to enter the field in the first place.

Tony Dismukes
Friday, January 10, 2003

Little Lady said "If you deny that women as a group are inferior ..."

I RESENT THIS COMMENT... as well as others you have made. Historically, women have been forced into inferior roles, but we've taken huge strides over the past few decades. It's general knowledge that there simply are more men who are interested in this field than there are women. That doesn't mean that women are less intelligent or inferior in any way.

I'm a programmer, I'm a woman, I'm intelligent, I stand up for myself, and I communicate well with others.

If you see yourself as inferior, how can you expect others to view you as anything else?

GiveMeABreak
Friday, January 10, 2003

I do not think I am inferior.
I do not think women are genetically inferior.
I do expect to be perceived differently because I'm female, because people expect women to be different from men.
These expectations are rational, based on statistical observations.
At times it bothers me to be seen as inferior (in terms of technology and intelligence only). It bothers me even though I know it's rational for them to stereotype me. It bothers me because I try so hard and because I know I'm very intelligent. I like to feel appreciated once in a while.
On the other hand I realize that ultimately people are seen as individuals and that if I believe in myself others will believe in me also. It just is not as easy as it would be if I were male. But I'm not and that's ok, because it makes life more challenging and I suppose more interesting.
People misunderstood a lot of what I said and got very angry. But I can understand that since stereotyping and prejudice are dangerous subjects.

Little Lady
Friday, January 10, 2003

Masterfull trolling, Little Lady. Masterful!

Groby
Saturday, January 11, 2003

Little lady:

Unfortunately, it's  men's world and you can't do nothing about it. So stay afloat. All the shows about women and men are equal is just nothing but hypocricy and we all know that. The fact of the matter is there's no such a thing as men and women being equal in any sense of the word.

a guy who tried to understand
Sunday, January 12, 2003

"It just is not as easy as it would be if I were male."

Then again, maybe if you were male (are you?) you would find other excuses, like being black, white, skinny, fat alergic, from the east, from the west, a non native speaker, a monolingual, wearing glasses, suffering from syndrom X, an early bird, a late riser, a piler, a sorter a dumper, a smoker, a bignose, a baldy, a flatface, a hippy, a skinhead, a republican, a democrat, a pear, an apple, a father, single, married ...

If you are looking for excuses, there is an infinite amount in all shapes and sizes.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, January 13, 2003

It was my own decision to work in a mostly male field. If I have a hard time it's my fault.
Women are more likely to feel appreciated if they work in a mostly female field, like nursing, counseling, teaching, computer help desk, various helpful kinds of nurturing type jobs. People like to see a woman doing that kind of work.
I have done some of those, and I did feel appreciated at times. I sort of rebelled against the social pressure to be nice but not too smart. I really love programming, which I consider much harder than helpful support and hand-holding stuff (which I had done for a while).
I am gradually learning not to let my feelings get hurt so easily. I'm not giving up work that I love just because it's emotionally challenging.

Little Lady
Monday, January 13, 2003

"Little Lady" wrote, "Women are more likely to feel appreciated if they work in a mostly female field, like nursing, counseling, teaching, computer help desk, various helpful kinds of nurturing type jobs."

This is a very wide-ranging blanket statement about all women.  Sure, women may receive more appreciation if they work in a mostly female field, but how can we know if they personally feel more appreciation there?

My aunt's a nurse, and she sure doesn't feel very appreciated.

"I'm not giving up work that I love just because it's emotionally challenging."

Amen.

Brent P. Newhall
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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