Richard Jones' Log: Why there's few women in IT
The conference last week was educational for the committee in a way that was completely unexpected:
Observation 1: During one of the lightning talks a presenter put some porn up on the big screen. He was peripherally discussing a Perl module called Acme::Playmate (which basically looks up Playmate info on the playboy playmate directory).
We (the committee) had never thought it would be necessary to have to explicitly say that it's not OK to put up porn. Or that we'd have to actively discourage discussing a module that would clearly offend members of the audience.
Observation 2: I was amazed that Acme::Playmate exists in (and is blessed by) CPAN.
I spoke before the keynote the next day apologising to the attendees and our sponsors for what had happened.
Observation 3: Some attendees thought that we had overreacted by even saying anything.
There's my observations about why more women aren't in IT.
We will be passing on clear advice to the next committee about how to handle this.
Update: there's a fantastic HOWTO Encourage Women in Linux which I encourage all to read. Thanks Paul for the pointer.
Clarification: when I originally wrote this I guess I didn't realise that people would assume that I'm saying these are the only reasons for under-represenation of women in IT. I certainly didn't intend to say that, just that these are some observations of some potential reasons.