Saturday, September 24, 2005

Why US computing industry is overwhelmed by male dominance?

Note: This is an assignment from CES 403 at WSU

Why US computing industry is overwhelmed by male dominance? I live in Washington and Bill Gates is in Washington too. Will I be hired by Bill? I don't know. I am for $$ if he hire me, sometimes I thought I prefer Google if I can get there.

What socio-ecological support do you see for differences in the genders, if you believe there are any? That is, if differences are not inherent, there must be some socio-ecological reason for them. What might that be? In the U.S., girls and women are told "you can do anything men can do." However, we have never turned that mantra around. We don't typically say to boys and men that "you can do anything women can do." I believe that omission is one of the failures of the feminist movement.
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"Socio-ecological support for differences in the genders" Let's talk about the situation of computing industry in the United States. I am so eager to post this ahead of time because I put in considerable amount of time to complete it, it is a special.

I wonder why in schools among the computer science students are overwhelmingly male dominant, and I know that the computing industry are exceptionally overwhelming with male dominance. If someone thinks there are no differences between the two genders, this evidence is enough to disprove his/her idea.

To identify the reasons of male dominance in computer science industry, we need to inspect schools teaching computer science. In the text page 126, the writer says "Most jobs in industrial nations, including military jobs, now involve service skills and brainwork rather than physical strength." However, overtly computing does not involve physical strength at all. Let's back trace to the Mathematics classes in schools. What I have seen is the proportion of female decreases as the difficulty of the classes increases. Alice A. Christie has pointed out the root of the problem.

"Turkle (1984) identified two different computer programming styles, that of hard masters and soft masters. Hard masters tend to be male and soft masters tend to be female. "In our culture girls are taught the characteristics of soft mastery--negotiation, compromise, give-and-take, while models of male behavior stress decisiveness and the imposition of will" (Turkle, 1984, p. 109)."

"In 1990, Turkle and Papert argued that, within the computer culture, we must accept the "validity of multiple ways of knowing and thinking" (p. 113). They discuss two major approaches to computer programming: the dominant, structured approach used by "planners"(often associated with males) and the more suspect artistic, intuitive approach used by "bricoleurs"(often associated with females). Turkle and Papert labeled this concept epistemological pluralism; they called for the development of a new computer culture which "would require a new social construction of the computer"(1990, p. 133), which would be, in turn, more inclusive than the existing male-dominated culture."

As a result, somebody can conclude that "Not a lot of women have talent to do computer science." Yes, I do agree, because the talent is not cultivate by these females' young age. Provided that the culture, the way of parenting and the education system cultivate these females, there would be more females involved in Computer Science. Therefore, I cannot say "Computer science for males." because of the mind of females are just not cultivated to do Computer science.

The above two cited paragraphs state that most of the males are trained with more hard skills (logic) and most of the females are trained to be soft skills (relationships etc.). Females may find out they are losing grip to the skills required to excel a Mathematics/Computer science class, and in turn they try to avoid computing.

Why male dominance in computing industry is a problem? Computing industry is missing almost half of the potential workforce due to female absence in the industry. Skilled computing workers are in demand such that those hired are highly paid, and result in higher price of software. I believe most of the open source and free programs are just developed by some workers who are hired in computing industry. These workers spare their time and effort to run free software, so that freeware is just cover up the problem so that the problem is not so apparent.

The differences in the genders is not inherit biologically, at least in this example. It is just the social system constantly imposes the idea of gender differences and result in the idea of gender differences among children. If we change the social system, it is possible to change the common believes, and it is possible to eliminate the gender differences among children. However, we still have to let our children recognize the difference between sexes, so that they don't mess around and guess around because of the lack of sex education.

As you see I am just focus on the computing industry as I found it interesting and it is answering the question. There are differences in the genders, as shown in the computing industry. This example of Socio-ecological support for differences in the genders is just only a drop in a bucket out of the millions of example.

Why does feminist movement fail somehow?

The term "feminist" movement puts an emphasis on prestige and power of female. I think the term is lean towards the idea of feminine dominance. Male may resist to the movement due to the color of the term. I would like to say the movement should be renamed as the movement of gender equality. Feminist movement is not an entire fail, it has reclaimed considerable amount of women's prestige. Although I am a male, I will support gender equality rather than feminist movement. Both of the terms may be defined the same, but the definitions they imply are totally different.

Also, as I have mentioned above, "It is just the social system constantly imposes the idea of gender differences and result in the idea of gender differences among children. " If the social system are inherently unchanged, the roles and events happen in the system will be unchanged, and the new generation are more likely to sit where their predecessor was, so the system still runs. Feminist movement failed to change the system in deep. We don't expect a few short instances of feminist movement can change what we are inherit doing because we are afraid there is nowhere to go if we change what we are currently doing. I believe the feminist movement is still moving on, we are waiting for key people and new ideas knocking in, which we will take another few decades to complete it, because the society is not always going to the right direction.

I am trying to be an egalitarian to view the World, like many others do, but we cannot change too much because we cannot change all the things as we wanted, so we can't do too much. The education system and the politic ideas of politicians have to be change first to manifest the blueprint of the next version of social system. It takes decades to complete, and let's be patient.

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References

Christie, A. (2005) How Middle School Boys and Girls View Today's Computer Culture, Retrieved Sept 19, 2005, from http://www.ncsu.edu/meridian/win2005/computerculture/.

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