[ubuntu-uk] Age and gender

London School of Puppetry lspinfo at gmail.com
Thu Aug 28 10:58:38 BST 2008

2008/8/28 Sean Miller <sean at seanmiller.net>

> On Thu, Aug 28, 2008 at 7:20 AM, Lucy <lucybridges at gmail.com> wrote:
> > computers is mainly because of social upbringing. For example, in
> > India (and some other asian countries) there are more equal numbers of
> > men and women working in programming). It wasn't so long ago that
> This wasn't my experience during my 2 months at Technopark in
> Thiruvananthapuram, training IT developers and interviewing for new
> ones.  There wasn't one woman involved in the IT area, which numbered
> about 20 or 30 personnel, and not one of our interviewees were female.
>  I was actually surprised at this.  In contrast, in the call centre
> which was in another wing of the same building, there were hugely more
> women than men.
> What worries me about any thread such as this is that there is a
> serious danger that we create allegations of discrimination when in
> reality it's just the way it is - women are programmed differently to
> men (no pun intended) and seem, from my observations at least, to
> drift by default into different types of job to their male
> counterparts.  The nursing profession, for instance, is dominated by
> women whereas road builders and railway maintenance engineers appears
> to be virtually a male domain.
> I grew up in a very exciting period when it came to computers, just as
> the home computer concept was starting.  My school in Glastonbury
> initially had an RML-380Z which did exciting things like text-based
> puzzles and not much more.  The BBC Micro then arrived in my second
> year of secondary school and we used to play "Digger" and "Space
> Invaders" at lunchtime.  A fella called Hogan then took over the maths
> department and set up a network of Commodore 64s in the Maths Room -
> it was always a fight between the BBCs in the science dept. and the
> Commodores in Maths. BBC was most definitely the better, though - you
> could actually do things without having to use PEEK and POKE all the
> time.
> For 'A' Levels I went to the private sports-orientated school
> Millfield.  They had a really nifty Econet network, which ran on 5.25"
> floppy disks.  But technology was improving at a pace and by the time
> of my upper sixth this had been replaced with a network of BBC Master
> Series computers with (shock!) hard drives for storage.  Interesting
> thing here was that it wasn't trendy at all to be involved with
> computers - you sort of got sidelined, called nerds, and so I had to
> also do cross-country running to keep my reputation intact and visit
> the Computer Room with dark glasses and false beard.  As for women on
> computers, there was only Mrs Thomas (God bless her!) - no Millfield
> girls would have been seen dead near a computer.  During my time
> there, however, I met the mighty Hugo Fiennes who is now working (I
> believe) for one of the major MP3 player manufacturers, having sold
> his EMPEG business to them which was a pioneering car MP3 player which
> achieved relatively cult status in the mid-90s.  But this was much
> earlier... together we coded a BBC-micro based BBS system called
> Viewdata+ which was based on Prestel and at one stage had 7-10 Sysops
> around the UK using it.  But I never recall any females phoning my BB.
> Sean
> Since posting the original age/gender question, I have been very interested
> reading the discussion. Working in the arts there are probably more women
> than men, and the use of computer technology seems to go with most of the
> jobs. I don't agree that  men and women are ' programmed' differently.
Much relates to necessity and opportunity. As most management is male, then
there will be fewer opportunities given to women.  But I know several women
working in IT, and everyone I know uses computers to some extent.  I am the
only person I know using Ubuntu- does the very concept 'open source'
smack of blokishness and nerdimen? Is it all a question of marketing? Rather
than anything to do with how men and women respond to computer  technology?


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London School of Puppetry
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