What Happened to the Computer Girls?
Believe it or not, in the 1960’s, programming was seen as women’s work. It was even touted as being “just like planning a dinner”.
So what happened?
Eventually male programmers wanted to raise their status above “women’s work”. So they actively discouraged women from these positions, designed hiring tests rigged for men, and even created the stereotype that programmers are disinterested in people. No wonder in the years since, it’s still a male dominated field. Women earned only 18% of the computer science degrees awarded in 2008-2011.
Alright ladies, we need to bust this myth. It’s been too long. Find organizations like Scientista or Sally Ride Science that help encourage women and girls in STEM interests. Find mentors and connect with other women interested in STEM.
Computer Science departments in universities are some of the most racist, sexist, downright misogynist hell holes, with the worst kind of men. Everyone from male professors to male TAs are bullying arseholes who eschew the worst kind of “white male victim” complex. Not only do they treat female students like crap, they also pick on female professors in the department. Many male professors don’t help female students, and male TAs are creepy fucks who think they can flirt with you if you go to them for help, especially if you’re a non-white woman.
That last comment seems somewhat anecdotal. Speaking of my own anecdote, I never had a single personal issue in my department, though I did overhear undergrad students making racist/sexist jokes occasionally, and there were some outdated examples in curricula. My professors and TA’s were all professional, friendly, helpful and accepting, regardless of their gender. (Side note: I am white, so I can’t accurately remark on whether people/women of colour face racism at my university.)
However, it’s absolutely undeniable that women are still vastly underrepresented in STEM fields, and I’m sure there are many universities where it is still viewed as a “boy’s club” where women aren’t wanted.
I just think it’s also important to let people know if you’ve had a positive experience, and not just look at the negative ones. A lot of universities and a lot of faculty members are working hard to improve equity in their departments.