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A few weeks ago I came across a few articles discussing females in programming, software development, or computing and technology in general. I haven't had the time, or really, the thoughts, to blow that into a full-fledged entry, so I'm going to do a bit of a link dump here with a bit of my own commentary…

Unix girl kasia links to a different article discussing this topic. HighHeels and Algorithms covers the topic, as does The New York Times.

My own take: I welcome female programmers. I respect them, and given the common ground, am often quick to make friends or acquaintances with them. I think women bring a creativity, a passion, and a point of view that is often lacking in this male dominated field.

There are any number of studies that show that men tend to fare better at logical problems, and women tend to excel at things like language arts (to name two examples). Essentially, men are better at science - historically - and women are better at the arts - again historically and very generally speaking, based on studies. What then of programming, something even its practitioners can't classify as a science or an art? We would do well to accept both sides, so that our field may grow. Computing, programming, is so fresh that to shut out any potential new ideas because they come from someone without a penis is near suicidal.

But that's where my feelings and thoughts tend to end. You don't see fields traditionally dominated by women - and I won't list any, but you can probably think of some - actively seeking to incorporate men into their fold. I say so long as the barriers of entry are the same across the sexes, then all is fair. I welcome the females that choose to pursue a computer profession, and I condemn anyone (male or female) who would stand in their way moreso than they would in a male's way. Aside from that, I wish everyone, male or female, the best of luck.

It's a running joke in the "geek" community that the women in the field are "eagerly" pursued by the men, starved of women for so long. I spent some time with a few female students at last year's WWDC and the one prior (and hope to do so again this year), and the comments they heard from their peers - male peers - were downright shameful. I had hoped the "geek" community could be a little more accepting of any of their kind - geeks - instead of acting with a lust and childishness I haven't seen in my "peers" since I was about 14. Many fell over themselves trying to get the attention of these women, stopping just short of tripping them and pulling their pigtails.

Welcome, women. And please, don't mind the jackasses. Every field has 'em. Ours just seems to think Star Trek is cooler than it actually is.

(Update on March 16, 2003: another link.)

3 Responses to "#define __WOMEN_IN_PROGRAMMING__"

  1. No kidding. Tell me about it.Do you know how many people think i am not real because i can write technical blogs as well as very emotional ones. They believe that somebody with my technicality can't be a female. That's such an insult.

    And the come-ons. Oh yeah.. boy i could tell you stories..

  2. btw, you are just adorable 😉

  3. Feel free to elaborate on that last comment… 😉