February 15, 2006
Calling All Geek Girls

Sarah is running another Girl Geek Dinner. ("Girl" is her choice of term, by the way, not mine, so please don't accuse me of being patronising. I would have gone with "Geek Women". Or "Geek Dolly Birds", perhaps.)

You going, Katherine?

BTW, while we are on the subject of gender imbalance within IT and attempts to combat it, I'm intrigued by Miss Rogue's comment here; "So, why aren't there more women in technology? Or...to rephrase it...why aren't there more prominent women in technology?". Is the latter just a natural result of the former unfurtunate fact, or is there more to it than that - are women even more woefully represented amongst prominent geeks than they are in the geek population in general? I don't have any answer to this, BTW, I'm just asking the question.

Posted to Beer by Simon Brunning at February 15, 2006 05:26 PM

I suspect the latter problem is a result of (A) the former and (B) Glas-Ceiling factors - a compounded problem.

Sheesh, the place I'm at now doesn't even have a single female developer despite many good candidates - possibly from some bias at some management level - he said caveating heavily.

Posted by: Mark Matthews on February 15, 2006 06:20 PM

"Despite many good candidates" - do you *know* that, Mark, or is that just supposition? At most places I've worked, we've have very few female candidates putting themselves forward. Their quality matched that of the men applying - 90% rubbish, 10% OK or better - but women just don't put themselves forward for technical jobs. Why is that?

Then there's the (perhaps?) separate question of the extent to which women are discriminated against in the IT workplace. I'm sure that it happens, but it doesn't seem to me that women are under-represented in IT management any more than they are under-represented in IT in general. But I've always been a bit politics ignorant, so I'm possibly missing a lot here - and a glass ceiling a few levels above me might well not be apparent to me.

Lastly, there's the prominence issue, which is what I think Miss Rogue is talking about - A list tech bloggers, pundits, that kind of thing. This is not the same as the workplace, though there are links and similarities I'm sure. Again, to what extent are women under-represented in this sphere as compared to their general under-representation in geekdom?

Posted by: Simon Brunning on February 15, 2006 07:25 PM

I don't think that having events such as the girly geek dinners causes the segregation if it done in the right way. By including the men in the events rather than making it exclusively female we add to the diversity, whilst at the same time we manage to get a nice balance where the females feel that they are comfortable.

I read Miss Rogue's post with interest because we are both on the same wave length with all this stuff. Totally independantly I was trying to figure out my list of future A listers... and somehow I missed her off my list! (bad Sarah!) and guess why? because my RSS reader doesn't have her blog on it... it does now!

But the question still stands where are the A list females? Are the guys excluding them. I don't think so! In fact I know for a fact that they try not to, but the A listers have to have a reason to link to you regularly! It's all about content and relevance!

Posted by: Sarah on February 16, 2006 10:13 PM

I think "Girl" is fine in this particular context, since the male equivalent would be "Geek Boy", in my mind anyway. The problem with the word arises when it is used in juxtaposition with less childish words used for men - then it becomes derogatory. Context is all.

Posted by: Katherine on February 17, 2006 03:51 PM
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