Another argument may be that women lack “patience” (very few of them are available to spend a whole night in front of a computer screen to .. improve a small feature of an application) and are less “tough” than their male counterparts. I remember when I used to be a student, our female comrades were well known to dislike programming. But they were excellent in modelling, needs analysis and the production of documentation for software projects. We boys were more interested at impressing the teachers with our software, even if the analysis behind was generally less rigorous than that of girls.
I’m wary of any arguement that says “girls are like THIS. boys are like THAT.” Women may be less available to spend the whole night in front of the computer because despite the many advances in equality of the sexes, women still shoulder the most responsibility for home and children. Someone’s got to make sure the kids are fed. Someone’s got to get them to sleep. Someone’s got to give them their allergy medication. Etc. Etc. Etc. Is this a lack of “toughness”? Or the logical outcome of a society that forces women into caregiving roles, whether they’d rather be at work programming or not?
Part of my job is web maintenance and development for Financial Operations here at W&M. Most of the individuals in IT that I deal with are women, but I thought I would check the numbers after reading your blog. We have 100 IT people, of which 36 are women. But in Web Development, half are women. Hopefully, in 20 years you can say something similar. In the meantime, I consider you a true pioneer!
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