TheManWhoWas
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:16 pm

I realise that everyone on this forum is a 17 year old nympette masquerading as a middle aged Linux geek, and I'm almost certain that 'liz' is in fact a 45 year old bearded scouser, but then again I might be wrong.

So is it possible to get the fairer sex more interested in programming, or is the Raspberry Pi purely a "boys toy" which will have the girls clock watching during the ICT 2.0 lessons?

Prometheus
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:20 pm

Hey, not all of us girls have no interest in technology.

Not everyone is going to find every topic as interesting as others, and I'm pretty sure that that's a gender-neutral thing. I"m sure that good, engaging teaching plays a more important part than gender, myself.

fotrox
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:29 pm

Someone was faster, thanks Prometheus ;D

There's no such thing as "boys toy". If you or others like experementing, programming or just playing with a cool piece of electronics than everybody is welcome. I don't know where this gender stuff comes from? Oh and by the way, I'm just a male 26 year old self teaching programmer.

spamel
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:43 pm

I'm glad there are women involved, their meticulous nature and different thought processes can bring a lot to the table and it is good to see them getting involved.

Plus, they smell and look great!

Lynbarn
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:51 pm

Prometheus said:


Hey, not all of us girls have no interest in technology.

Not everyone is going to find every topic as interesting as others, and I'm pretty sure that that's a gender-neutral thing. I"m sure that good, engaging teaching plays a more important part than gender, myself.



I have been professionally involved in computing for over 30 years, and some of the best programmers, analysts and project managers I have worked with have been women. The worst in all those categories (and others), have all been men. It is important within this project to encourage as wide a participation/enthusiasm as possible, by making it attractive to different groups, ages and cultures.

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Jongoleur
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:52 pm

I gave up worrying about gender on the Internet a long time ago.  We're all Discworld dwarfs, delicately trying to find out whats underneath the verbiage.....  As for girls and computers, the trick is to nobble the peer pressure that says understanding the insides of computers is a boy thing.   Girls don't mind using computers, especially social/interactive stuff that doesn't involve killing people you've just "met" online.  Sorry if that sounds like a typical stereotype, but its something I've personally observed amongst young teen computer club attendees.

Perhaps the Pi will break the mould and allow all children to scratch their programming itch.  I just hope there won't be boy/girl coloured cases come mid-2012, I shudder at the thought of a pink Raspberry Pi, with additional floral stickers to customise it.......
I'm just a bouncer, splatterers do it with more force.....

Andre_P
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:08 pm

I echo a lot of the sentiments here, I have had the pleasure of working with Lady Software Engineers, Lady Hardware Engineers, Lady ASIC Designers and Lady Project Managers.

It has been a pleasure to work with them and it's been interesting to have 'different' perspectives put into the mix.

Boredom is indeed an equal opportunities employer howevever so is inspiration, curiosity, stoiscm, sheer bloody mindedness and gumption. The last two you have buckets of if you want to be an Engineer.

It may be of interest but the first use of the term 'Computer' was in fact applied to a Lady. Edwin Hubble needed a lot of computations done and so he gathered a group of ladies together who then a large parallel method produced the results based on various observations. He used them as they were meticulous and worked together as team rather than having some kind of rivalry.

ReCreate
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Re: Girls

Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:18 pm

Sexist bastard! Jongoleur said:


I gave up worrying about gender on the Internet a long time ago.  We're all Discworld dwarfs, delicately trying to find out whats underneath the verbiage.....  As for girls and computers, the trick is to nobble the peer pressure that says understanding the insides of computers is a boy thing.   Girls don't mind using computers, especially social/interactive stuff that doesn't involve killing people you've just "met" online.  Sorry if that sounds like a typical stereotype, but its something I've personally observed amongst young teen computer club attendees.

Perhaps the Pi will break the mould and allow all children to scratch their programming itch.  I just hope there won't be boy/girl coloured cases come mid-2012, I shudder at the thought of a pink Raspberry Pi, with additional floral stickers to customise it.......


Speaking of casings.. You know what colour they should be? Raspberry colour.

NucWin
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:52 am

Just make the case the shape of a shoe

Prometheus
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:00 am

Shoes are for wearing, silly boy. (And you don't need five-hundred-and-fifty-gazillion pairs of them, either.)

TheEponymousBob
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:07 am

Drink?

Feck.

oninoshiko
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:00 am

It's worth noting, that there are some fairly famous women in computing.


Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (wrote the first computer program)
Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (found the first (literal) bug in a computer, Wrote the A compiler (one of the first compilers) in 1952, worked on the design team for COBOL, worked on standardization of COBOL and FORTRAN)
Roberta Williams  (Video game desinger for Online Systems (AKA Sierra Online and Sierra Entertainment), best known for writing most of the "Kings Quest" series, "Phantasmagoria," and "Mystery House" (which was the first graphical adventure game))
Sally Floyd (best known for her work on TCP/IP, notably Random Early Detection, Selective Acknowledgement, and Explicit Congestion Notification)

Women have made some seriously large contributions to computing, so I can only conclude that women are more then capible in this field, ergo the lack of women in computing must be socital pressures which discurage female involvement.

From everything I can see mysoginistic attitudes (some of which are present in this thread) seem to be a considerable problem. If you have a duragitory comment about women in computing, do us all a favor, keep it to yourself.

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cnxsoft
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:04 am

Sadly I've never worked with female software engineers (and that's after 10 years).

dh04000
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:17 am

My fiancee is very interested in the Rpi, only the end product, after I'm done making it do what I want it to do.

SeanD
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:47 am

I have worked in technology for over 25 years and without doubt some of my best co-workers and employes have been women and given that they have been in the minority I suspect that means on average they have been much better.  There are global regional differences, here in the US you will find more, as you will in China or Russia (especially in maths related disciplines such as crypto).

I actually get a bit riled by parents who you see directing their daughters away from technology as if it is an unsuitable area for them to be interested in or ultimately work in.  Having challenged a few of them it appears that there is a view that the average computer nerd is socially withdrawn and that is not something parents want for their girls.  Yet it is ok for boys ?!?!?

TheEponymousBob
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:43 am

A while back, I came across one of those unofficial psych questionnaires that purported to estimate one"s position on an "Asperger"s spectrum". While it went to great lengths to stress that it is was not a substitute for a formal diagnosis, I"ve since found out that it was identical to one of the tests that make up such a diagnosis. What was interesting is that reading up the results scale that came with it, positions were marked off: e.g. (in ascending order) "average female", "average male" and (some way above) "average comp-sci student".

I take this to suggest that there is more than just social attitudes at work in the gender bias, but would stress that the ladies I"ve worked with have—with one or two exceptions—been among the best developers I"ve met. Perhaps this is in part a product of the aforementioned social attitudes, in that those who do stick with it, despite the misogyny that still pervades in some corners, bring a greater than average determination. Hard to say, but I do hope the incredible expansion of computers into everyday life can help eliminate that misogyny.

JakeGrey
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:27 am

This thread is based on a pretty fundamental misunderstanding of the problem the R-Pi was designed to solve. Right now, it doesn't matter a tinker's damn if there's a gender imbalance in IT classes, because both genders are getting equally short-changed by what's on offer.

You see, the ICT curriculum in the Foundation's home country consists entirely of teaching pupils how to use Microsoft Office. Nothing on programming, nothing on maintaining the hardware (when I took IT around the turn of the millenium we didn't even get to look inside a computer!), just MS Office. Great if your ultimate career ambition is to be a secretary or junior office clerk, but worth Sweet Fanny Adams if you have any aptitude or enthusiasm for working with computers.

The British IT industry -or what's left of it- is screaming blue bloody murder because the handful of kids who don't give up on the whole idea of a career in web or software development don't get any exposure to programming until they hit university age. They're having to hire people in from overseas for entry-level work while unemployment in this country goes through the roof because hardly anyone makes it as far as typing print("Hello, World!") for the first time, and have just two or three years to learn the habits of highly effective coders before they're thrust into the world of work.

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. Rant over.

Prometheus
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:03 am

SeanD said:


I actually get a bit riled by parents who you see directing their daughters away from technology as if it is an unsuitable area for them to be interested in or ultimately work in.  Having challenged a few of them it appears that there is a view that the average computer nerd is socially withdrawn and that is not something parents want for their girls.  Yet it is ok for boys ?!?!?


Oh, it"s worse than that. Whilst I will stress that not all of them were like this, I had *teachers* that did that. (I always had an interest in both video games and in technology, and whilst I could never get my head around coding, it was at times a bit of a pain to have to fight to keep my interests alive against meddling teachers who even went so far as advising my parents, and the parents of others I knew, against these things, too!)

I found it offensive as a child, and I still find it offensive now, and I sincerely hope that the Raspberry Pi Foundation can in some small way contribute to putting a stop to the damage that those sorts of teachers do – I have absolutely no doubt that there were and are plenty more where those came from, and I"m quite sure that a number of them, both old and new, are still in teaching, too.

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liz
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:47 pm

It's not statistically significant (and it happened twenty years ago), but I had teachers who did that too.

I've a female friend who is a civil engineer, doing interesting things with concrete; whenever what she does comes up in new company, people (of both genders) express amazed horror that a woman should be doing such a job. Something is horribly wrong socially here; as I've said before, I do not think that Raspberry Pi itself will make the needed change, but I do think we can provide a catalyst for change.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

spurious
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:53 pm

I have worked with several female programmers, but none match up to Games Mistress:





Women can be just as geeky as men, so I'm not sure why it is thought otherwise. Maybe the guys that think women are not into geeky thinks just don't get out enough?!

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rurwin
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 4:38 pm

In my current company of around 30 people, 20 of whom are developers, there are 3 women. One is the accountant and another is a tester. That ratio has held over my entire career from university on.

On the other hand, when I was doing my A-levels over thirty years ago there were too few of us. So we joined with the local girls school; in the first year they came to us in a taxi, and in the second we went to them. We were four boys (no girls, even though our school was mixed), and they were three girls.

All of which points to something in the mixed education environment pushing girls away from computers in a major way, and it hasn't changed noticeably in all that time.

TheManWhoWas
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:28 pm

rurwin said:


In my current company of around 30 people, 20 of whom are developers, there are 3 women. One is the accountant and another is a tester. That ratio has held over my entire career from university on.


At last! When I started this thread I assumed the fact that there are much fewer female programmers compared to men was a given, but about 20 blokes (which itself says it all) seem to think they need to post to defend the handful woman they have worked with over the years.

There was never any suggestion that women are no good at programming, just a question of whether a programming career / IT course can be made more appealing as there is obviously something about the whole thing that isn't attracting many of them.

For example, rurwin has mentioned the Alice programming environment several times on other threads. Having looked at it I was struck by the fact that Carnegie Mellon seem to have tried to make it more appealing to girls - it is called Alice, with Alice in Wonderland as a mascot, the first tutorial involves a dancing ice skater, the second was an angry bunny. I guess it goes on like this. Is this the kind of thing that would help keep girls more engaged i.e. choosing problem spaces that are more appealing to their tastes?

khulat
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:05 pm

I don't think that would be helpful, for reference i would like to point you to this letter by a 14 year old girl about the new Lego for girls.

She says it much better than i could do it. The change that would need to happen would be that girls and boys aren't raised differently anymore. The problem is that society still believes that girls really shouldn't do some things, and this is why they are discouraged if they want to try them.

I don't think there is an easy way to get society to change, only the painful way that consists of a large amount of talking and patience.

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Burngate
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:05 pm

It's not, of course, just computing and Lego. It's the whole hard science / maths / engineering thing. And it's not just now – it's been going on for centuries.

When I was a lad, in primary school, we boys had "games": the girls had "music and movement". They had "needlework" while we had "art" – I failed at making something out of cardboard and wallpaper, and the teacher managed to ridicule me in front of the class because of it. Later, we boys had "woodwork" (I was useless): the girls had "cookery" otherwise known as "domestic science".

So I was never taught to sew on a button or cook a bolognese – I assume I was supposed to find a wife to do that, while putting a shelf up was my job.

So things are improving. My daughter took physics at A level and university (though if she needs a button sewn on I do it)

adlambert

Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:47 pm

My feeling is that it has more to do with the social stigma attached to computing. As reinforced by so many Hollywood movies, the image of the computer geek is an ugly male with poor social skills. Poor social skills are much more associated with males than females. But it doesn't just deter females, the image works against many males too who would rather tell you that they are in the media business, which if you look at web design as a profession, the proportion of females is much better.


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