TheManWhoWas
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:59 pm

khulat said:


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.


Sure, my 9 year old was outraged when her Lego Club magazine turned up and turned out to be a special "girls version" advertising this new range. But she's a self-professed tomboy.

But I can see why Lego introduced the range to try and attract her friends (and their parents) who think of Lego as a "boys toy". And I can see providing similar alternatives in the computer programming world could help too (sort of what Apple have done for years with their hardware).

Bottom line is that I think it is important to consider what might be engaging for girls and encourage them into programming rather than just adopting a "there *should* be no difference, so we will pretend there *is* no difference" stance. You don't change the world by waiting for it to change.

Oh, and I think providing a range of "girly" cases for the Pi could be a big part of that. My daughter might choose one with a roaring dragon on it, but let her friends choose a pink fluffy one if they want if it makes them want a Pi of their own and stops them thinking of it as "a boys toy".

khulat
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:49 pm

I'm not saying to wait it out. I am saying to change it. Talking about it helps. Being an example for other people helps.

Girly Lego specifically hurts. Because it puts the girls back in their place, playing with (Lego) Barbies. It reinforces the problematic worldview that is the core of the problem.

Even if they play with the girly Lego (or girly Programming Environment) as soon as they try to us normal Lego (learn C) they will be ridiculed. Maybe not right at the start but it will happen. The problem is not that they need to be tricked into being interested in this stuff. The real problem is that we need to teach the boys, and men (the grown men are the bigger problem) that they shouldn't be harassing the girls that really do want to do this stuff. And yes, that means that we should learn that sexist jokes aren't that funny.

Sorry I'm ranting. It's just really annoying that progress with almost all societal problems is really slow. Especially since I am too aware that I made all of the mistakes that I criticize, and probably still do, because as i said it's not easy.

nichobb
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Re: Girls

Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:06 pm

Working in FE, I've worked with a higher proportion of female developers than others that have posted here. In my last place it was 1 girl out of 6 people that could be called developers, in my current place both my developers are female (I'm a boy but don't get much development time).

Education does play a (bad) part in this. At a young age there are about 45% of girls doing SMT (Science Maths and Technology) subjects, this participation drops steadily through A-Levels, Degrees and still further into business. What is really needed are some big name women who have done well in the industry (Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Google, Facebook founder types). However, if women aren't in industry in the first place to be promoted it's a little chicken and egg, when trying to inspire others to start their own companies.

Some of the comments were saying that girls are better developers/project leaders/etc. I think in general this is true but it's not that girls are better technically, where they have the significant advantage is from a social and communication point of view.

A significant minority of male developers attitudes suck. More would go further if they stopped the “Not my job” attitude, thoughts that daily showers are optional, decided that techno babble is better than “I don't know but I'll find out” and understanding that development is actually quite easy.

This is very generalistic, there will be awful female and great male developers.

mccp
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:35 am

liz said:


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.


I've been a professional computer programmer since 1984 - if I tell people what I do for a living, it usually kills the conversation stone dead. I've never really worked out why.

My 2p on girls: since about 1987 I've been responsible for making employment decisions and I have employed around 30 people, mostly in technical roles. I have interviewed all four female applicants I have ever seen and offered a job to each of them (only because they were the best of the bunch). Three accepted and I still employ two of them. None of them have been nerdy and the current two are more geeky about football than technology.

I can't believe that my company is more attractive to males than females, so I extrapolate my experience to the wider world and conclude that girls avoid computer programming. I don't think that this is an education problem - I agree with Liz - it's more of a social or societal problem. More power to Raspberry Pi's elbow if you can start to change this!

SeanD
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 9:36 am

TheEponymousBob said:


Drink?

Feck.


Today at the zoo my wife and I broke into "small and far away" much to the bemusement of our children.  Thankfully Youtube was able to explain to them that their parents were not crazy. Unfortunately some further explanation (via more watching of Youtube) meant that this evening whenever one of them was asked a question the response was "that will be an ecumenical matter".

dognosh
Posts: 27
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 10:36 am

lol @seand  I do love the department store episode that was acted in the genre of the great escape !

Back on topic , never worked with female Software Engineers , the male ones I have worked with were mostly(80% of them) sarcastic , smarty pants , hate explaining things twice, but also very clever !!!

I am a male Software Engineer

arwen
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:48 pm

TheManWhoWas said:

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.


No no no no no!! Please do not "make things attractive" to females just to get them to take a course.

It is a social problem that more females do not take up courses and careers in technology/science/maths/construction. The females that do take the course are the ones that will stick with it to get a job from it. And should be able to handle the job in the long run.

If you pretty a course up just to attract females to it. Then yes you might get an influx of women doing the course, but many of them probably wont be able to handle the job after it. As it will still be male dominated.

I was in football teams since I was 5, played computer games since as far back as I can remember, was part of the Beavers Cubs and Scouts (and was the only girls in the troop for nearly 2 years) and read all the "gory and geeky" boys books in the library.

The fact I was given the freedom to explore my own interests growing up has enabled me to work in a male dominated environment more than any "flowered up" IT course ever could.

And yes, Raspberry Pi cases should be Raspberry coloured, with possibly some beige and white trim ;-)


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liz
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:16 pm

Plus, plenty of us, adults and kids alike, feel totally patronised by the girlification of things that were perfectly gender neutral to start with. The new girly Lego, as discussed above, is a really, really insulting case in point.
Director of Communications, Raspberry Pi

laszlo
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:10 pm

I think kids will naturally do whatever they're interested in, regardless of what adults try to get them to do.  If you think that it's a problem that girls aren't doing computer stuff then likewise it is a problem that all of the boys aren't knitting and embroidering.  It's just how society and tradition are, it's not a problem any more than, say, wearing pants is a problem.  Probably most of us didn't have some tailor made learning system - we just sought out what we wanted to learn.  If there are girls who are more interested in playing with an embedded computer than going to the mall to socialize or whatever, then the Raspberry Pi is a great way for them to get into it.  Why do people want to try manipulating girls' interests toward computer stuff?

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grumpyoldgit
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 5:03 pm

It's all a matter of how Children are brought up. Both my daughters like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Santana and Jimi Hendrix for some reason. I wonder why? One spends a lot of time on World of Warcraft and Skyrim; the other has a job doing web design. I've always let them get on with whatever they wanted to do and would never have suggested to them that something was or was not suitable for a girl.

One story from their school days though. Boys are generally crap at maths and girls consistently get better marks at GCSE, as they pay attention and do the homework. At one point the course was changed to make it appeal more to boys. The whole class spent an entire term messing about with football scores so that the gnat like attention of the boys could be maintained. All the girls were livid as it was clear to them that the boys were being given extra attention and they had no interest in the football side of it.

zerth
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Re: Girls

Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:26 pm

A few changes from the 50s(when the majority of programmers were women) to the 80s(when the majority of programmers were men) are:

A) rising wages and social mobility for women either(depending on your POV) decreased their relative advantage to men as programmers or allowed women to "escape" to other endeavors.

B) the shift from viewing programming as a menial task(compared to system design) to an intellectual profession that required a university degree(at a time when men earned degrees 3:1 or 2:1 over women)

C) aptitude based hiring using studies(e.g. Perry&Cannon) of "ideal" programmers that showed they were "disinterested in people, prefer to work with things".  Despite that the studies were based on the best women programmers, the perception that men were more likely to possess this trait caused more men to be hired.

Since A isn't nearly as relevant(offshoring is cheaper than either gender locally) and B is now skewed towards women, the primary change needed is the idea that women don't like to "work with things instead of people" and that this trait is synonymous with "antisocial jerk".

dwizzy
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Re: Girls

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:25 am

I found something that might help some of you on a date – this [[mod removed spam link, and also duplicate post below]]

But I suggest that you start on the version of software, so not to scare anyone for a start

dwizzy
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Re: Girls

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:27 am

Something I added a lot of posts - sorry

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liz
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Re: Girls

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:32 am

You're banned for spamming, dwizzy.
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SN
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Re: Girls

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:34 am

just beat me to the Report Post button, darn!
Steve N – binatone mk4->intellivision->zx81->spectrum->cbm64->cpc6128->520stfm->pc->raspi ?

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WorldOfPi
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Re: Girls

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:48 am

Damn! I'm confused now. I was in the middle of writing a python application, designed to run on Raspberry Pi, that uses a robot arm wrapped in a pink boa to apply make-up.

I don't know if I should be writing it or not now.

(Only joking btw! Don't hurt me please Liz!!)

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