POSTINGS

"[ The Analytical Engine offers ] a new, a vast, and a powerful language … for the purposes of mankind"

Augusta Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace, 1843 (via theblackprogrammer)

1001afternoonsinchicago:

Teaching girls to code to tackle the gender gap: At a charter school on the southwest side of Chicago, teens aren’t just using computers to browse Facebook. They’re learning to build their own websites and smartphone apps.

woes of a potential computer scientist.

artificial-idiocy:

A rather unsatisfactory thought has recently occurred to me. For the next (minimum of) 3 years, I’ll be studying Computer Science at university. That’s certainly not the negative part, but THIS is:

LACK OF GIRLS IN COMPSCI. CLASSES.

Trust me to choose the degree course which is least populated by the female gender.

Hello sausage fest.

SIIIIIIIIGH.

Maybe it’s because of crap like this.  And if you don’t want to be part of that, check out this.


"Teaching Girls to Program,"  Genevieve L’Esperance reflects on her experience teaching a programming course for 54 middle-school age girls.   Seven minutes.


Grace Hopper, inventor of the first compiler and popularizer of the term “debugging” after finding an actual moth in an early computer, on David Letterman. 

mamojo:

Grace Hopper on Letterman! (by cistheta2007)

I like this lady.  :)

(hat tip Udacity)

Welcome to Sexism 101, kids: point out sexism, and you’ll get plenty of defenses of it by the people that discrimination benefits. 
Note that this is a “called out” comment — so Forbes is happy to publish an article on gender inequity, but also happy to goad people into bashing it.  Perhaps they share the same brain-dead notion of “balance” that characterizes so much lazy journalism.  ”Shape of Earth: Views Differ.”
 
Note: the author themselves called out the quote.  But the person who authored the quote is a classic “derailer” straight out of Derailing for Dummies — and derailers create false debates and make it seem as if the views of the misinformed have more legitimacy than they actually do.  
ilovecharts:

I Get Comments
From my Forbes post about the publican and review of male and female writers in major literary outlets.
Would anybody like to take this? I have a horrible headache right now and I don’t even know where to begin. I can’t even…

Welcome to Sexism 101, kids: point out sexism, and you’ll get plenty of defenses of it by the people that discrimination benefits. 

Note that this is a “called out” comment — so Forbes is happy to publish an article on gender inequity, but also happy to goad people into bashing it.  Perhaps they share the same brain-dead notion of “balance” that characterizes so much lazy journalism.  ”Shape of Earth: Views Differ.”

Note: the author themselves called out the quote.  But the person who authored the quote is a classic “derailer” straight out of Derailing for Dummies — and derailers create false debates and make it seem as if the views of the misinformed have more legitimacy than they actually do.  

ilovecharts:

I Get Comments

From my Forbes post about the publican and review of male and female writers in major literary outlets.

Would anybody like to take this? I have a horrible headache right now and I don’t even know where to begin. I can’t even…

The Boys on the Bus are still, well, all boys, even thirty years later.  
thesmithian:


While The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and the New York Daily News have close to male-female parity…Time magazine has nine  men and only one woman, Newsweek/The Daily Beast has six men and three women, The Atlantic has seven men and two women, New York magazine has six men and one woman, and The Economist went for broke, with an all-male team of five. At The Boston Globe (seven men, three women) and Reuters (eight men, three women), the ratio is more than two to one.

on the web, things look similar:

The Huffington Post has eleven men and only two women; Politico has  twelve male reporters and six women on the campaign trail, Talking  Points Memo has five men and one woman, and Slate and The Daily both  have all-male teams.

more, plus a list of 2012 campaign reporters, here.

The Boys on the Bus are still, well, all boys, even thirty years later.  

thesmithian:

While The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Associated Press, and the New York Daily News have close to male-female parity…Time magazine has nine men and only one woman, Newsweek/The Daily Beast has six men and three women, The Atlantic has seven men and two women, New York magazine has six men and one woman, and The Economist went for broke, with an all-male team of five. At The Boston Globe (seven men, three women) and Reuters (eight men, three women), the ratio is more than two to one.

on the web, things look similar:

The Huffington Post has eleven men and only two women; Politico has twelve male reporters and six women on the campaign trail, Talking Points Memo has five men and one woman, and Slate and The Daily both have all-male teams.

more, plus a list of 2012 campaign reporters, here.

How does biology explain the low numbers of women in computer science? Hint: it doesn’t.


It comes up a lot in discussions of women in computer science, women who write code, women in open source. Eventually, someone brings up the fact that women score slightly lower on math tests. Clearly, they claim, this biological inferiority must explain why there are fewer women in math heavy fields.

It sounds like a compelling reason, and it gets a lot of play. Except, you know what? It’s a lie.

I’m a mathematician. I’ve looked at those numbers, I’ve read some papers. The research into biologically-linked ability is fascinating, but it simply isn’t significant enough to explain the huge gender gap we see in the real world. I used to do this presentation on the back of a napkin for people who tried to spout this misconception to my face, and I finally put it online:

How does biology explain the low numbers of women in CS? Hint: it doesn’t.

Women coming back to technical professions

Anna Lewis, writing at the Fog Creek Software blog (Joel Spolsky’s series of four articles entitled Painless Functional Specifications had a big impact on me, and I still teach it in groups):

Computer science has always been a male-dominated field, right?

Wrong.

In 1987, 42% of the software developers in America were women. And 34% of the systems analysts in America were women. Women had started to flock to computer science in the mid-1960s, during the early days of computing, when men were already dominating other technical professions but had yet to dominate the world of computing. For about two decades, the percentages of women who earned Computer Science degrees rose steadily, peaking at37% in 1984.

In fact, for a hot second back in the mid-sixties, computer programming was actually portrayed as women’s work by the mass media. Check out “The Computer Girls” from the April 1967 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. It appeared between pieces called “The Bachelor Girls of Japan” and “A Dog Speaks: Why a Girl Should Own a Pooch.”

Don’t worry, ladies. According to none other than Grace Hopper, programming is just like “planning a dinner.”

…And then the women left. In droves.

From 1984 to 2006, the number of women majoring in computer science dropped from 37% to 20% — just as the percentages of women were increasing steadily in all other fields of science, technology, engineering, and math, with the possible exception of physics…the most common explanation is that the rise of personal computers led computing culture to be associated with the stereotype of the eccentric, antisocial, male “hacker.” Women found computer science less receptive professionally than it had been at its inception.

Why do we care about a long-gone moment in early computing history when the presence of women was unexceptional?

Because it looks like women are now returning to computer science.

In the past year, the number of women majoring in Computer Science has nearly doubled at Harvard, rising from 13% to 25% (still nowhere near the 37% of 1984).  And — because Harvard is not actually the center of the universe — it’s nice to know that the trend has been spotted elsewhere. In the past three years, the number of female Computer Science majors at MIT has risen by 28%. And, at Carnegie Mellon, the portion of Computer Science majors who are women has moved from 1 in 5 in 2007 to 1 in 4 last year.

About Me


Lisa Williams

Founder of Placeblogger.com | Winner of Knight News Challenge | Center for Civic Media, MIT Media Lab | Cambridge, MA | @lisawilliams on Twitter | lisawilliams on Github




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