Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th May 2012 19:25 UTC
In the News This topic comes up quite a lot on technology websites, but I generally try to steer clear from it as much as possible, since I'm not the one to talk about it (you know, with me being a man and all that), however, I feel it might be a good idea to just get my opinion out there and be done with it. The topic of women in IT is a hot-button issue, so let me just go out guns blazing: assuming women need special treatment, help, protection, and affirmative action is just as insulting and degrading as outright claiming women have no place in IT - maybe even more so.
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RE[3]: Indeed
by phoehne on Wed 30th May 2012 02:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Indeed"
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Implicit in that statement is that there is a meritocracy when it comes to getting the contract and there is no discrimination. That's wishful thinking. Personal relationships matter, especially in areas where it's hard to judge the output of the product. Is the software buggy because the contractor did a bad job, or is this a really hard problem with lots of last minute changes by the client? The personal relationships are so important that many contractors happily hire former senior people in those agencies only in part because they have 'business knowledge,' but even more importantly, they have those connections. Even if they have to spend 1 year at some other client because of ethics rules (and they don't get a waiver), the connections are still valid. So discrimination is inherent in the process. The same can be said for the relationship between the prime contractor and the subs, where they've worked with each other and for each other for several years.

Now add to that the fact that these guys started working in the late 70's and 80's, when things were not politically correct. They are the by product of going to male-only country clubs (Augusta is one of the last ones but they were more common in the 80's and 70's), strip clubs after work (even in the 90's this was a common enough practice that one of my co-workers 'sucked it up' and went anyway because the rest of her team was going), and (in the case of the military) explicit prohibitions against women serving in certain roles.

So, I agree with you discrimination is completely unfair. However, discrimination is inherent in the existing system. Because of discrimination, these networks were formed between people which are now used to secure business relationships. I agree that there *should* be no discrimination, but in point of fact there is. Women were excluded from these networks (in some cases very intentionally) when these networks were formed. To say that women are being coddled is stupid. It shows that 1) you haven't been around for very long, and 2) you have done little or no thinking about this issue.

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