Women in Linux

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Women in Linux

Postby munkyn » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:37 am

As a techie at a bank in London, you come across very few women, let alone attractive women in IT, hopefully not sounding to sexist, but reading thro the forums on this site, I have not come across that many women, anyone care to put me right on this situation.... as it seems to me the sandal brigade are all pour homme!!!!
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RE: Women in Linux

Postby towy71 » Sun Oct 14, 2007 11:40 am

Perhaps all the ladies have a life :P ;-)
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RE: Women in Linux

Postby Dutch_Master » Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:14 pm

I'd say a family for sure ;) It's true there aren't many women in IT, but that's not a fault of women... Fact is that women get payed less then men for the same job, and generally women have different fields of interests. Women like to be social and if there's one thing not very social, it's an IT guy... It's true, look at the UserFriendly comics ;) http://www.userfriendly.org/
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RE: Women in Linux

Postby ollie » Mon Oct 15, 2007 6:55 am

In over 8 years of teaching IT I have come across quite a few women. As a general rule they are not interested in the "techy pull it apart" side but very interested in the creative side of IT like web design, digital imaging, video and so on. The general conception that IT is sitting in a cubicle typing long strings of arcane text turns women off. Women want to interact with people but they tend to get the impression at high school that nerds do computers and don't mix with people. Careers people also tend to pigeon hole women as doing the accounts, word processing and other office related tasks with computers not providing IT support or developing applications.

There are a number of women who have resisted this stereotype and work in the open source world. linuxgirlie springs to mind in these forums, and I'm sure that I will be berated for not mentioning all of the women in these forums ;-)
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RE: Women in Linux

Postby Nightvision » Thu Jun 12, 2008 2:32 am

I'm a linuxette. And yeah it is kind of lonely, I don't know any other linuxettes in my (admittedly small) town...
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RE: Women in Linux

Postby towy71 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:26 am

We have two women that attend my LUG although since one had a baby we only hear from her occasionally :-)
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RE: Women in Linux

Postby CharlieM » Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:01 pm

While I agree that there are not as many women in IT as men, I think there are probably more than you assume. Women tend to get "steered" away from the nerdy take-it-apart aspects of computers, and nudged into the secretarial end of it. I know of several "secretaries" who are crackerjack programmers and hard core tekkies, but employers are extremely reluctant to hire women for this, or even consider them. My neighbor worked in an insurance company as a secretary. Her boss added computer chores to her job (employers feel no shame at piling all sorts of non-secretarial work onto secretaries, with no extra pay or recognition); he kept adding until she was, to all intents and purposes, an IT administrator. She purchased all the computer stuff, hardware and software, upgraded, trained staff, made some repairs, did programming, etc, etc. When she asked for a raise, her boss told her "Your already at the top of the pay scale for a secretary." When she quit,
he told her, "That's the problem with you women, you're not grateful for the opportunities you have." He felt he was doing her a favor! At her present job,
she keeps her computer skills a secret. Why do the work if you can't get the returns? I have seen half a dozen instances of this sort. IT skills don't necessarily benefit women in the job market so why bother?
That said, there are women like me who are avid computer users (players?) but who keep quiet about it. I spend 2 to 3 hours of my free time every day playing with my computers --- 6 operating systems on two computers that are connected to one keyboard and monitor. I would spend more time if I could but I think my husband would divorce me. I subscribe to a Linux magazine and buy the others from the news stand when they have something I like. I visit the forums and post questions and answers, but almost never let on that I am female after having some very bad experiences early in my Linux posting days. You have to ask yourself, how can you tell if the people on this forum are male or female? You can't unless they tell you so. I have three or four identities I use online, all male; a few of my male friends use female IDs on some sites. Nobody really knows how many women there are in IT.
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RE: Women in Linux

Postby towy71 » Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:35 pm

Well I understand that women would rather be unrecognised, the interweb does women no favours generally, one of my women friends has been driven off from keeping an online diary by brutish posterior orifices. In my view there is an increasing tendency of the web only being used to denigrate women and culture.

/me is aging male atheist anarchist and idiot :D
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Postby wyliecoyoteuk » Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:00 pm

It is actually nice to see that there are a few women on the forum.
In my job, I visit a lot of customer networks.
In general, if I see a woman as the Sysadmin, I breathe a sigh of relief.

WHY? - Because if they know what they are doing, they usually have a nice, well run network, and if they don't, they will happily let me do the installation, and listen to advice.

I have found that generally women who get IT jobs have to be much better than any male applicant, sadly.

As an example, I recently did a new install at an existing customer. I wasn't looking forward to it, because 3 years ago the sysadmin was an irascible mid 50s know-it-all, and the network was a total mess, different AV and firewalls on different PCs, SNMP blocked on the router and switches, and PCs that should have been fine ran like sloths.
It took a whole day to sort out the problems and get everything working properly (and I still wasn't happy with the install when I left, we had intermittent support calls for weeks)
The new sysadmin was, funnily enough, a secretary with an IT degree.
The system ran beautifully, the telecoms were integrated, with VOIP and miniswitch telephones, the servers positively purred, and when we came across an issue, she logged me in and watched me like a hawk. Now that is what I call a sysadmin.

I must add that she was young and pretty too, But that is not the real point:)

EDIT:She was also involved in discussions on software systems purchase (we are trying to sell them an EDM system) and her opinion was highly rated, despite being in her early 20s, and in her first job since University. (And quite rightly so, IMHO)
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Re: RE: Women in Linux

Postby donoreo » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:20 pm

Dutch_Master wrote:I'd say a family for sure ;) It's true there aren't many women in IT, but that's not a fault of women... Fact is that women get payed less then men for the same job, and generally women have different fields of interests. Women like to be social and if there's one thing not very social, it's an IT guy... It's true, look at the UserFriendly comics ;) http://www.userfriendly.org/
I disagree with the anti social comment for myself. I did have a head hunter tell me that I am not like any other systems administrator he knew. He clarified that by stating that I actually had a personality :)
I cannot deny anything that I did not say.
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RE: Re: RE: Women in Linux

Postby Dutch_Master » Mon Nov 03, 2008 2:33 pm

There's always the exception to the rule :P
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Re: RE: Women in Linux

Postby Marrea » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:05 pm

CharlieM wrote:You have to ask yourself, how can you tell if the people on this forum are male or female? You can't unless they tell you so. I have three or four identities I use online, all male; a few of my male friends use female IDs on some sites.


A moment for reflection here. What about our Slippery Friend? Is he in fact a mermaid?

Gadzooks! :shock:
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RE: Re: RE: Women in Linux

Postby Dutch_Master » Mon Nov 03, 2008 4:21 pm

No no Marrea! It's a he (well, sort of ;)) and can therefor never be a mermaid, these are by definition all female :)
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RE: Re: RE: Women in Linux

Postby pwbrum61 » Mon Nov 03, 2008 5:30 pm

...unless they're mermen!
Where's the Kaboom? There's supposed to be an Earth-shattering kaboom! :D

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RE: Re: RE: Women in Linux

Postby Hudzilla » Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:36 pm

Hey!

There's a huge bias towards men in computing, as your own experience (and our reader surveys) show. The numbers, for us, are something like 98% male and 2% female, which is in my experience even more male-skewed than the real sex breakdown.

I'd say there are several contributing factors, not least including:

- Some women would rather not be identified as women online where there is a very strong male presence. Any "Linux/KDE/whatever Chicks" group (and there are many) is replete with stories of people being abusive/horny online.

- The historical male bias is somewhat self-supporting. One of my friends is the only female engineer in her department, and she says she finds it hard to get along with all the guys - doubtless the same is true at colleges and universities. I should come clean here and say that I was approached by a girl on my very first day in my college computing course, and was quite rude - up until that point (I was just 16, mind), I had only been around computers with guys, and at the time I honestly thought she was having a laugh at my expense. I still feel bad about it!

- The flip side of the above is that the historical female bias is also self-supporting - there's a female majority in lots of humanities subjects, sometimes because people follow in the footsteps of their parents/siblings/friends into subjects that society is comfortable with. Some of the most notable female hackers seem to have been directly driven to geekery by their parents - Allison Randall, for example, says her father got her soldering at just 5 years of age. The end result of the female bias is simply that girls don't know (or care) what computer scientists do.

- A lot of the women I know seem to find the less technical side of interest. I don't mean to say they are any less into computer science; more that they find coding ugly and best left to someone else, and the actual hardware doesn't seem to be of interest. Instead, they project manage, they come up with solutions using pre-build components, they put together analyses and maintenance contracts, they do on-site tech support. In short, they handle *people*, and do it very well. NB: this is just from personal experience.

We published a story on women in open source a while ago - you can read it online here: http://www.linuxformat.co.uk/pdfs/LXF75.women.pdf

Take care,


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