Saturday, December 13, 2008

Women Are Out of The IT Compartment

Why do we create stupid compartments for everything? At first, I thought it was just Americans with their shared cultural stupidity:
  • You can be black, or white. Or maybe brown or yellow, but those aren't really used. But I've actually checked White on forms in school.
  • Red state means religious conservative Republican, blue state means agnostic liberal Democrat.
But you know what? When it comes to programming, the whole world shares another category:
  • Programmer - a guy who likes tech. Pretty geeky, usually.
It's a shame, really. And it's everyone's fault. Another blog flipped a switch about the little ways we help permeate the chicks don't do IT thing. In the article, it was shopping, where a salesman kept ansering the brother, instead of the sister who asked the questions.
The entire time we were in the store, despite the fact that it was my sister asking the questions, despite the fact that I only answered questions that she asked of me directly (in other words, I was there to help her, not to help the sales guy sell to her), almost the entire conversation was spent with the sales guy talking to me, even if he was answering her question. His body language was unquestionably that of, "She's clearly not capable of making this decision herself", and addressed everything to me, despite her repeated attempts to catch his eye and have him talk to her, the actual purchaser with the question.
My concern is that this is a kind of "shared cultural discrimination". You stick a saleswoman in there answering questions, and most of the time, I think you'd get the same result. I don't think this is a "boy's club" sort of situation, but a general acceptance that women just aren't interested and don't really know about this sort of stuff.

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