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November 22, 2003

One small step

I helped my husband with a presentation at a local library last night. The schmoozing afterwards proved quite lively.

One woman came by with her son (maybe ten) and daughter (about fourteen). When she asked my profession, I told her that I was working on a library-science degree in hopes of working with electronic-text technologies. Apparently I look superannuated to be entering a high-tech field, because she immediately started assuring me that anyone, age no object, could do it.

She then told me proudly that her daughter had won a scholarship to college in information technology, while the daughter looked faintly embarrassed.

I looked the daughter straight in the eye and said, “That’s excellent. Really fantastic. Congratulations.”

And what do you know, she held my gaze and actually smiled as she thanked me politely.

I do hope I get to say “Ah, yes, the eminent Ms. X. I met her when she was fourteen...” someday. In the meantime, I’m satisfied with my one small step toward inviting another woman into the profession.

Posted by Dorothea Salo at 01:33 PM in General | Permalink

Comments

"I'll bet you any monetary amount that a boy with the exact same credentials as that girl would not have qualified for such a scholarship."

Believe it or not, there are actually girls out there qualified to receive scholarships on their own merits. Everytime a girl (or woman) is recognized for her work relating to computer science, IT, math, science, etc., it's not just because of her gender. And I think it's great that another girl will consider entering the technology field because of this scholarship.

Although ideally affirmative action will result in higher success rates, ingrained attitudes like yours, that women/minorities only get somewhere because of affirmative action, just make the field more hostile to members of those underrepresented groups.

Posted by: denise at Nov 25, 2003 1:52:31 AM

Sure, there's an infinitesimal but non-zero chance of this happening

Which IT industry do you work in?

I've been working in various disciplines, including tech support, network administration, telecommunications and web development for just under 10 years now and there's not a single woman I've encountered in all of those disciplines that wasn't just as, if not moreso capable than me.

In fact, the many, many people I worked with who should not have been allowed within 10 feet of a compiler were all men. The women at least were smart enough and humble enough to get off their high horses occasionally and admit that they didn't have all the answers immediately at their fingertips, whereas many of the men I worked with were too embarassed by their incompentance to admit to not actually knowing everything and ultimately messing things up.

Aside from your innacurate view of Affirmative Action (the idea behind it is that all other things being equal, the minority gets priority over the middle class white male who has nearly unlimited opportunities elsewhere. The idea behind it is not lower requirements for said minorities) your seeming belief that women aren't capable of possessing the brainpower or intelligence of a man is pretty sad and evidence that, despite your belief to the contrary, men aren't always especially intelligent either.

Women have always had a strong place in Information Technology, but you're probably to busy hiding from them to realize that. Ada Lovelace has long been considered the first computer scientist, applying logic and scientific method to her work with Babbage.

Throughout the second world war the vast majority of computer operators and technicians were women. Sure, they were rarely given the opportunity to develop the technology, but anyone who has had to support any computer (let alone a room-sized vacuum tube monstrosity) knows that you become intimately familiar with.
the technology and workings; those women assuredly knew more about how those machines actually worked then the men who conceived of them.

Through the second half of this century women have fought to earn the respect of their peers, to be accepted as equals and to feel comfortable in technology, and asshole fuckwits like you inclined to pat them on the head and say "gee, you're pretty smart for a girl" infuriate the fuck out of me. Take your archaic, nonsensical useless ignorant fear of intelligent women somewhere the fuck out of my industry outside of my peer group and preferably outside of my solar system.

Useless wastes of flesh like you only serve to delay advancements in technology, in social freedoms and in countless other aspects of our lives, because useless wastes of flesh like you want to ignore over 50% of the populace because they scare you for some reason. Get over your goddamn fear and hatred.

I will happily take your bet if you can find me a 14-year old boy with identical skills and history to compare against. A 14-year old boy with the same grades as this girl throughout her school history. A 14-year old boy with the same ability to look into a strangers eye and thank them. A 14-year old boy who has been told throughout his life "sweetheart, you're a cutie, don't worry about math or computers, just learn to bake a pie." A 14-year old boy who grew up with toys that tell him "Math is hard." A 14-year old boy who grew up seeing role models in media get ahead by selling their sexuality and not their intelligence. A 14-year old boy whose relatives and family friends of the same gender have been stymied at every turn by a glass ceiling.

Posted by: Rob Drimmie at Nov 26, 2003 7:54:09 AM

i'm with Rob. and i have to say the sooner people like Julius stop whining about "sexual reverse discrimination" - what the hell is that anyway? - the better. i wonder if he would make such bold-ass statements if he were referring to a racial minority?

e.g. - "I have no idea what great good will come from lowering standards selectively in order to maintain an illusion of nonexistent {racial} equality."

?

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