Iris Classon
Iris Classon - In Love with Code

Stupid Question 78 (Öredev conference special): Does it matter that we don't have so many female programmers?

[To celebrate my first year of programming I will ask a ‘stupid’ questions daily on my blog for a year, to make sure I learn at least 365 new things during my second year as a developer]

These questions are from my session at Öredev 2012: Stupid questions and generation n00b: top ten intriguing things you should do

All the posts related to my session can be found here: Öredev related

yes it does matter

While I am sure many will think this is stupid question to ask, I unfortunately happen to know a few people that actually believe that it doesn’t matter. That we don’t need women in computer science. I want to be able to explain to these people some (because there are many) reasons as to why it is important that we strive to promote computer science to women, and why it does matter and therefore we should care. Women in CS was at almost 50% between the two genders in the 80’s in the US, but it has been declining ever since - during the same time as CS was portrayed as a masculine job and the term nerd was associated with a young teenage boy with pimples living in his mothers basement- not something young women could identify with. Sapna Cheryan has done some reasearch and wonderful presentations on how the environment influences women choices in regards to studying or working with CS .I would also like to share what Geoffrey Oldham presented as four big reasons as to why it does matter that we don’t have so many women in CS(Conference on Gender, Science and Technology, Montevideo, Uruguay, October 26, 2000)

Human rights and social justice. All individuals should have equality of opportunity to a science education and to a scientific career, and for women and men to benefit equally from advances in science and technology.
Scientific and economic reasons. If women are not given equal opportunity to become scientists and engineers then a country denies itself its full complement of scientifically creative minds. This can be a serious handicap both to the development of science and to the generation of wealth in an increasingly competitive world.
**Social reasons.**Women frequently perform different roles and tasks both within and outside the home to those performed by men. It is important that both men and women are able to bring a scientific and technical education to bear on the performance of these roles and tasks.
**Reasons of insight.**Some women, it has been suggested, bring different insights, values, motivations and methods of work to their scientific jobs than do most men and other women. The inclusion of more women in science will enrich the total pool of talents, insights and motivations, and increase the probability that science will serve the needs of all humanity.


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David Lindegren
11/20/2012 4:20:36 PM
I've been pushing that last one over and over in so many areas. It is very easy and bad for a community such as a research company to get overly homogenized since it's always the easy way to surround yourself with people with similar skills, backgrounds, family situations etc. That also leads to stagnation. For a group that should work with creative tasks and solving problems (which many programmers do), this is something that must be taken into account when choosing group members. 

Also, I wish that you keep up the good work you are doing with the blog. Thanks for some encouraging reading! 

Last modified on 2012-11-09

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