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Re: [OT] Valley of the Boyz

  • From: Bennett Todd
  • Date: Mon Aug 07 11:35:01 2000

This thread reminds me very strongly of a discussion back a long
time ago, on Usenet. Might have been before the Great Renaming, or
else only shortly after. Mid-'80s sometime.

People were going back and forth about the gender inequity. The
focus of that debate was on the world-class hackers, the folks
everyone else knows and respects. Gosper, rms, Gosling, that
sort. They were all guys. Pretty overwhelmingly still are, there may
be the odd exception, but at the cutting edge this is still one of
the most remarkably male-only businesses out there. Easier to find
major, important female politicians, or businessmen, or lawyers,
or doctors, or pretty much anything else, then hard-core software

The only offering I recall from that previous debate that had real
explanatory power and matched up well with peoples' experience, was
that the apprenticeship for this craft, where people really learn
the important meat of the field, is typically a place and time where
folks get really, really obsessed: somewhere in the late teens or
early 20s, circumstances (often college) leave the obsessing types
spending nearly every waking hour concentrating on computers, for a
span of years. This tends to weed out the folks who aren't already
more or less social rejects, and that in turn leads to a real gender
bias, in our society.


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