Are women leaving the technology industry?

In today's open source roundup: Are women abandoning tech jobs? Plus: Linux developers and money for distros. And does Linux have more security holes than Windows?

Women in technology

There's been quite a bit of media coverage of women in technology over the last few years. Some companies have tried to increase the number of women in technology jobs, but the LA times has a story about some women who've left the tech field altogether.

Tracey Lien reports for the LA Times:

Plenty of programs now encourage girls and minorities to embrace technology at a young age. But amid all the publicity for those efforts, one truth is little discussed: Qualified women are leaving the tech industry in droves. Women in tech say filling the pipeline of talent won't do much good if women keep quitting — it's like trying to fill a leaking bucket.

That's a huge problem for the tech economy. According to the industry group, computing jobs will more than double by 2020, to 1.4 million. If women continue to leave the field, an already dire shortage of qualified tech workers will grow worse. Last summer, Google, Facebook, Apple and other big tech companies released figures showing that men outnumbered women 4 to 1 or more in their technical sectors.

More at LA Times

The comments section of the LA Times article had some passionate responses from readers:

Misslogic: "I spent a good portion of my early career as a developer (I'm a woman) back in the early 2000's. I never felt like the workplace was hostile. I learned early on if there was something I wanted, then I could ask for it. It wasn't until much later in my career that I started to experience being passed over by men, and blatant actions of "putting me in my place". It happens. Some people are misogynists and will continue to be that way. But I think you can find companies that are generally willing to work with women and don't look at the world in black and white. I left being a developer because I wanted more from my career. As a director I definitely have made it, but I can tell you it's mostly men from here on up. I don't feel marginalized though. I think most logical people respect competency."

12fvfl+40arkss20tg88: "It's not just women who have a hard time in IT jobs - the working environment is very political, based on who you know, rather than how good you are. Most programmers tend to have attitude problems, and a huge distrust of everyone except their own friends. You would be better off having a degree in political science and marketing, than IT to actually get a promotion in most IT departments. "

Colbyjack97: "What this article doesn't point out is that, going by the (unsourced) statistic that only 1 in 5 tech workers are women; that means that for every 1 woman who doesn't get a management position, there are 4 guys who also don't get a management position. It seems like the women interviewed here got shafted because they couldn't play 'the game' that everyone, man or woman, has to play to move up. Instead of looking at personal traits present or lacking to improve before the next wave of promotions, these women instead blame it on an invisible, unprovable conspiracy to "keep them down."

ThailandSteve: "I call bulls#!t. The tech industry is by nature antisocial and competitive. A boss doesn't like being shown up by an underling, male or female, and everyone in the middle is competing for a few slots among the higher-ups. It takes assertiveness, tenacity, a thick skin, constant ambition, willingness to crush your peers to advance (all of which stem from testosterone). In short, things most men do naturally, that are in direct opposition to a woman's nature. So we either need to talk about coddling women to make things "equal" or creating gender quotas so women can be given higher positions without earning them (as Emma Watson touts in her UN speeches). But no one will ever address the real issue: women are too soft to succeed in this arena."

Pargot: "After 40 years from developer to Project Manager, I have found that women don't mentor women like men mentor men. When women get to a management position,they have to be one of the guys and that includes not promoting women who may be a competition to them, because there can only be one woman. And women don't see women as promotable. They don't want to let go of competent women because they risk not "getting the job done " in their team. One boss I had told me he never had to ask for a promotion, they just promoted him after I asked him for a promotion. Men are not afraid of "not getting things done" when they promote someone on their team."

More at LA Times

The LA Times story also spawned a bustling discussion thread over on Reddit:

Crybannanna: "Sometimes I wonder if this is a product of a hostile work environment for women...Or a hostile work environment for everyone, where women aren't as willing to be treated poorly. Male coders might be accustomed to being the outcast, the bullied, the set upon...So might have a higher tolerance threshold."

Bravadomizzou: "The thing about being a software developer, is that there is enough demand, that if you are in a hostile work environment, you can just go work somewhere else."

YouandWhoseArmy: "I work in IT. It is a frat for dorks...I'm a man so I can deal with it ok but I find it to be unprofessional. I could never imagine a woman working here without significant changes. "

Cfuse: "I worked with women in IT for years. IMO, it is about managing your culture for everyone, not just women. You have to treat your department as your own business, and you have to make sure it is a place that not only you work at but also a place you can tolerate working at. What's the point wasting your life hanging around with people you want to drown? "

Hc9: "Men are told to be a man, and that this is life, and just swallow your medicine. Women in the west tend to be treated very well, despite certain complaints."

Arkeband: "Work sucks for a man: "Toughen up and deal with it." Work sucks for a woman: "You don't deserve to be treated that way, you should quit."

FrothingGullyHole: "If you do good work, you get rewarded with more work. If you do bad work, you get torn apart. That exists for both genders. If you network well, opportunities open up. If you are too passive and expect the world to open up for you for merely existing, you'll be disappointed. You have to work your ass off for everything, and take a lot of shit to get to be successful."

More at Reddit

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