Skip to main content

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.


Anonymous said…
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.
Anonymous 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. ;-)

Popular posts from this blog

Ubuntu 20.04 on a 2015 15" MacBook Pro

I decided to give Ubuntu 20.04 a try on my 2015 15" MacBook Pro. I didn't actually install it; I just live booted from a USB thumb drive which was enough to try out everything I wanted. In summary, it's not perfect, and issues with my camera would prevent me from switching, but given the right hardware, I think it's a really viable option. The first thing I wanted to try was what would happen if I plugged in a non-HiDPI screen given that my laptop has a HiDPI screen. Without sub-pixel scaling, whatever scale rate I picked for one screen would apply to the other. However, once I turned on sub-pixel scaling, I was able to pick different scale rates for the internal and external displays. That looked ok. I tried plugging in and unplugging multiple times, and it didn't crash. I doubt it'd work with my Thunderbolt display at work, but it worked fine for my HDMI displays at home. I even plugged it into my TV, and it stuck to the 100% scaling I picked for the othe

ERNOS: Erlang Networked Operating System

I've been reading Dreaming in Code lately, and I really like it. If you're not a dreamer, you may safely skip the rest of this post ;) In Chapter 10, "Engineers and Artists", Alan Kay, John Backus, and Jaron Lanier really got me thinking. I've also been thinking a lot about Minix 3 , Erlang , and the original Lisp machine . The ideas are beginning to synthesize into something cohesive--more than just the sum of their parts. Now, I'm sure that many of these ideas have already been envisioned within , LLVM , Microsoft's Singularity project, or in some other place that I haven't managed to discover or fully read, but I'm going to blog them anyway. Rather than wax philosophical, let me just dump out some ideas: Start with Minix 3. It's a new microkernel, and it's meant for real use, unlike the original Minix. "This new OS is extremely small, with the part that runs in kernel mode under 4000 lines of executable code.&quo

Haskell or Erlang?

I've coded in both Erlang and Haskell. Erlang is practical, efficient, and useful. It's got a wonderful niche in the distributed world, and it has some real success stories such as CouchDB and Haskell is elegant and beautiful. It's been successful in various programming language competitions. I have some experience in both, but I'm thinking it's time to really commit to learning one of them on a professional level. They both have good books out now, and it's probably time I read one of those books cover to cover. My question is which? Back in 2000, Perl had established a real niche for systems administration, CGI, and text processing. The syntax wasn't exactly beautiful (unless you're into that sort of thing), but it was popular and mature. Python hadn't really become popular, nor did it really have a strong niche (at least as far as I could see). I went with Python because of its elegance, but since then, I've coded both p