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PyCon: Weaving Together Women and IT

This talk was given by Anna Martelli Ravenscroft, co-author of the "Python Cookbook".
  • Computer science is taught either too high or too low.
  • Programming should not be complex!
  • There are very influential women in computer science.
  • The ratio of women to men in IT has actually gone down. The problem is very complex. No one knows for certain exactly why it has gone down.
  • In general, "weeder classes" conflict with the low self efficacy of many women to make the problem worse. They are extremely and needlessly harmful.
  • Programming is a bit of a "priesthood", and that's a turnoff for many women.
  • Programming in school is generally not a social activity, which is also a turn off for women.
I asked why women were generally turned off by the "priesthood" of programming, especially since they're dying to get into the Catholic priesthood ;) When I first discovered programming as a junior in college, you could barely tear me away from the thing.

We discussed it a bit. We actually came to the novel conclusion that men have an excess of sexual energy that drives us into the programming priesthood. While we are busy being rejected by women, we tunnel our energy into our programming efforts. This matched what I had heard about Sir Isaac Newton. He never married and purposely chose to "channel" his energy into his studies in order to distract himself from his sexual needs. It also matches my own experience during high school.

Comments

Male programmers are more than female programmers because men are more geeky than women. They are much better in other jobs too, like secretaries, for example.
Adam U. said…
Sir Isaac's sexuality is still somewhat in question, many historians believe him to have been gay. Newton was extremely devout and his homosexuality conflicted with his religious beliefs. Because of this, his want/need to bury himself in his work was probably both to run from his urges and to help understand the world better (and thus understand God.)

Or so I've read. ;-)