For a long time, I’ve been convinced that we need more women, or in general, a lot more diversity, in the tech community. While I’m typically not at a loss for words on any topic, I find this one pretty hard. My guess is the major reason is that my own perspective on this is constantly changing. In fact I’m quite convinced that if I spoke to a version of myself that had been transported to the present from, say, 5 years ago, I’d disagree with me a lot. And there are a lot of capable people writing and talking about this topic already, more than enough to ensure my input is not really needed.
On the other hand, though, I know that sometimes it’s easier to listen to someone from your own demographic, and accept that they expose a point of view you disagree with, so maybe I should say something from time to time. And I haven’t put this blog to good use for a while, so why not start with this topic? I’d be extremely interested in getting your feedback, so please do use the comments or let me know what you think via Twitter.
First of all, to set up a bit of a foundation, here are some of the things I consider to be and personally have no doubts about at all:
- There is no inherent reason at all why men should be better at technical tasks than women (or vice versa).
- The software community (or IT/tech industry, if you prefer) does not have a remotely reasonable share of women.
- The reason for this is a complex mixture of a) things that happen in our education system, very early in peoples’ lives, that make women pursue a different career b) things that the tech industry does that make it unattractive for women c) things the tech industry does that drive women who do enter it into leaving it again
- Whatever the reasons may be, the effect is undoubtedly negative because a) there is a lot on unused potential, i.e. there could be almost double the number of great programmers if it weren’t mostly men who worked in this industry and b) a more diverse group is way more fun to work with and (if studies are to be believed) more productive
- A lot of the discussion about women is equally applicable to other groups, such is people with disabilities, minority ethnic groups, LGBT folks, etc.
Do you disagree with any of these?