Female web developers

Females would be a minority in the industry, well, because they are a minority, and will be, at the present time, no matter how you build organizations. Of course, establishing a women-only association would make women a majority, and men a minority, i.e., nonexistent, but only within that specific organization, furthering separation even more.

If the goal is to bridge a gender gap, then it is purely communication that can do so. How are females’ career choices/paths different from those of males within the industry? Why would females need different resources than those of males?

I really feel that your suggestion furthers separation, by suggesting that female Web developers are different than male Web developers. Taking the example of @ralphm, he expresses that he felt a difference in the teaching profession based solely on the gender. If I am reading him right, he realized, when reaching an understanding through another same-gender teacher, that wasn’t the case, but merely a conceived idea in his mind. In regards to the profession of Web developers, to suggest, as you do, that there is a difference between the genders is committing the same fallacy.

That all said, I understand that there may be a need for the existing female Web developers to have a forum to communicate how to be influential among your peers, but such a forum should indeed be open to males as well. A women-only association communicates that it is closed for men to join, and that, I feel, is a, pardon my wording, misandric approach. Likewise, a men-only association would surely be regarded as misogynic, and a caucasian-only association would be regarded racist.

Of course, you are free to do as you please, but I suggest you consider my arguments.

Many thanks.

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I went to an all-girls high school. I know that current thinking says separation in education is a bad thing, but I’d have to question that. Because there were no boys around, there were no “boys” subjects or stereotyping. Folk I was at school with went into all fields - computers, civil engineering, medicine, surveying, as well as more traditionally “female” occupations such as teaching. It was just accepted that you did the subjects you enjoyed and were good at.

Perhaps it’s time to reinvent the wheel and try an old-fashioned approach to education.


For me, I don’t know that a initiative aimed at improving the prospects of one gender, necessarily has to involve only that one gender. So long as the aims are clear, those involved could be from either gender, though you’d expect them to be predominantly from the gender they’re looking to support.


I guess I never looked at it like that because I never thought of it as having a misandric approach, but I see your points - and someone can certainly make that case if they’d like to, and they are free to do so. There are plenty of gender-only organizations out there, one example of this would be sororities/fraternities. Yes there are some that allow both genders, but the majority of cases they are exclusive to one or the other - and most do great volunteer work within the communities they serve. I’m not saying this is going to be a “sorority,” but the idea of the organization is not to “hate” on male developers in the industry, as their is much to learn from them, the idea is that this will be a group of women, supporting each other as they further their careers/education, and collectively work together (like other organizations do) to help encourage young women to explore Web development as a potential career option.

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No, you are reading it completely incorrectly. :stuck_out_tongue:

The point was that, if you see everyone around you doing a job differently from the way that feels natural to you, and if you feel that you really don’t fit in to that way of being, you can feel like you don’t belong there at all, and that you are no good at it. That’s not much fun. It’s the ugly duckling syndrome. It’s really helpful to be able to mingle with others in the same boat as you, as you realize it’s OK to be the way you are.

There may be plenty of males in teaching who wouldn’t feel the way I did. The the female teachers who I met had a way with kids that I frankly could never imitate. I was, so to speak, trying to be a mother in high heels. (That may sound a bit silly, but it kind of expresses the dilemma I was in.) The male teachers I eventually got to see had a totally different approach to getting the job done, and I suddenly realized that there wasn’t only one way to do the job. That’s the important thing. It may seem obvious, but it’s not when you are in the middle of it.

I can imaging a female web developer amid a whole bunch of male ones. Sure, the job is the same for all of them, but it’s possible that the males would have a particular way of seeing problems and dealing with them that may not gel at all with a female. It doesn’t have to be that way, but it’s possible. In such a case, she might feel she has to imitate the guys, and that her way of approaching things is wrong, and that because she can’t really do things the way the guys do means that she doesn’t belong in the job, etc… These things are subtle sometimes, but if there were a place to turn to where she could see that her way of seeing things is quite valid, that can only be a good thing.


Thanks for sorting out any misunderstandings, though I don’t feel I completely read you incorrectly. However, I have a hard time seeing what Web development has to do with gender roles, despite the fact that females in tech is a rather new phenomena, and as such the culture may be heavily male influenced.

I am working with both genders, and in the professional aspect, there is no difference in the requirements of and expectations to females and males. I am pretty sure, the same holds true in science – also heavily dominated by males.

Now, everything you mentioned is completely valid, and perhaps a women’s Web developer association would be fantastic and fruitful, not only for its members, but for the industry as a whole. I am just raising a flag to be aware of not expanding the gender gap.

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Yes, no-one would want that. But I doubt a support group like this would have such an effect.

Yes, I can only speculate on that too. I can imagine, though, that there are different ways of thinking about/approaching programming problems, and if everyone is doing it differently from you, you might feel like you aren’t doing it the “right way”.

Without wanting to get into gender stereotypes, different natures approach things differently. I usually drive the car and my wife usually navigates, but I’m always astounded at how differently we can do something as basic as following a map. If my wife were in an office full of map reading guys, she might feel quite out of place by approaching it in a different way. But her way is OK, it’s just different. We always get to our destination.


For me personally it has not to do with different genders writing different type of code. Rather is has to do with role modelling. And I’m saying this as a person who actually never felt especially identified with the typical “female gender role” or neither limited by it. But I can totally recognize myself in @ralphm’s story - that is if I understood him right :wink:

Even though I might have a good self esteem and believe in myself there is a certain limit to cross when entering a field in which the majority are men, or trans, or dogs or whatever. Obviously one could argue “Why should it matter?” or “Why is the gender or the sexuality difference of such importance?” and I agree such questions should be asked. Nevertheless it doesn’t eliminate my need for role models.

To be honest I don’t really know how to express myself, but somehow seeing other people from my gender groupd makes me think I can do it as well. I certainly wish my children won’t see the world divided like this but for me personally it is a fact I can’t look away from.

Also, regarding a men’s only group @frikki; I believe that if a certain field is dominated by one “type” of person that “type” is thought by others to have a bit of a more saying in that field. Now, it doesn’t mean it’s true but I believe it’s a common way of percieving reality. So sometimes it can be productive to construct a group for the minority in such a field in order to promote those individuals to speak up until they’ve gained more selfconfidence in order to also take up that same space in the mixed group.

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It is very true that females are quite lacking in IT field. I remember most of my computer classes were filled with 19 guys and 1 girl. The main reason I think is the image of IT field workers. Ultimately, it’s a very lonely job… About 70% of the time, you’ll just be coding. Some enjoys this and some don’t. From what I know, most women rather have socialized jobs instead of sitting down in a hole in a wall staring at the screen all day. Which is true, but on the management side of IT is very socialized. So far I’ve met many female developers but they quickly want to be promoted to non-programming position. Which is why there are many female project managers.

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@sg707 you might have a point, maybe it’s the way things are because they should be or maybe they are like that because of underlying social structures. I personally think it’s a dead end to seak answers, to why some people are working in some fields, in their pants. Surely there’re diferences between people with a lot of oestrogen and testosteron, but as far as I know this isn’t always connected to if you are a man or a woman. I believe we look at society and we define ourselves a lot through what we see out there. At least I do, although I try to also be aware of how I “code” myself so to say. But in short - I, nowadays, think my brain was made to program, but it took me some time to figure that out cause for some reason I thought you had to like to play computer games, wear glasses and preferably have a penis in order to be good at it - therefore I never even tried. I know it sounds really (!!) stupid, but for me it came as a big suprise that programming was something very creative and a lot of fun, and as I wrote before - hopefully the next generation won’t have this kind of divided view on society :slight_smile:


This hasn’t been my experience at all. I’ve been working as a developer of some description for more than 7 years and so far it’s been extremely collaborative and socialised :smile: I’d say that It probably has a lot to to with the particular environment and role that you work in?

There are undoubtedly places to work that are less social than others – and there surely is examples of people (not just women) who’ve haven’t enjoyed that and left – but I’m not especially convinced that it’s the main reason. Rather, I would say it’s more likely what @toeswade suggested: that due to the lack of representation and internalised ideas of social constructs young people who don’t fit the perceived model never think that they can do this sort of thing (which was exactly what happened to me too!)


Good idea to begin an organization, BUT… why female-only?

Not to be rude, but the only way I can think to phrase my response is that females who insist upon separating themselves, well, the thing that pops into my head is: My pussy hurts. That’s what women say when they can’t compete.

I’m female. I’m older; most here could probably call me grandma; that’s why I feel I can make such a rude comment. I have never encountered issues in the particular tech field where I spent most of my life.

Was it intellectually difficult?

Would it have helped if I could have been in some female-only group?
Probably not; it still would have been difficult.

I find it sad, that the father (jeffreylees) commented on his young daughter feeling constrained by her options. I actually find that really sad, because I bumbled into my technical field without a HS diploma (got one later.) I was so dumb. But it’s sad that such perceived limitations exist for any gender nowadays. Sad.

Out of curiosity, do you feel similarly about women-only hours at the gym, or gender-segregated schools?

(Got to say I don’t particularly love the language here; there’s got to be a better way to phrase that.)

I apologize about the language/phrasing. I was trying to make a point. Plus, I’m not too sure anymore which words are ok and which aren’t. (For example, I think “douche-bag” is ok now, when a few years ago it wouldn’t have been; or maybe not? but the 8-year neighbor child uses that term in front of his parents. …must be ok)

I cannot comment knowledgably on women-only hours at a gym; I don’t visit gyms (they smell funny.) I get exercise by doing things around the property. And I didn’t really know about or rather I didn’t think about gender-segregated schools? I guess they must have them?

hmmm. I don’t care about gyms. I’ve thought about gender segregation in schools, and quite frankly, I don’t know. The nearest concept I can think of is the Catholic school I attended as a child (both genders.) I don’t know whether that was a good thing, either.

That you did! ;p

[quote=“AngC, post:34, topic:113106”]
I’m not too sure anymore which words are ok and which aren’t.
[/quote] I often feel the same way. English is not my native language. I’m never too sure how what I say will sound to a native English. Too straight forward? Too sweet? Too strong? Too weak?

[quote=“AngC, post:34, topic:113106”]
I’ve thought about gender segregation in schools, and quite frankly, I don’t know
[/quote]I’ve been in both (girls only school and mixed or both genders) and, in my case at least, it made no difference at all. I can’t say that one option is better than the other.

My education is traditional Catholic (alhtough I suspect that what that means in Spain is different to what it means in some other countries). But my family never cared if I was leading towards a male-dominated field. They didn’t think it was weird or that I was special or that I was trying to break the rules. Conversations were like this.

“Mum, I think I’m going to go to the Mining Engineering School”

“Your sure? Warn you you’ll have to study lots. Let’s see if you will make it. You’re kind of lazy”

“Mum, you’re not being very supportive, are you?”

“Realistic, sweetheart. I know you like if you were my daughter. But don’t let me get in your way.” - and she would smile

I guess, well, why not? I think it would be a fun way to connect with other woman in the industry, build relationships, provide support, etc. I personally have not had the opportunity to work with any other female web developers since I started - and although I enjoy my time spent with my male colleagues, its nice to see how others in my shoes are getting along.

I’m not sure I see any issues with providing another avenue to connect and empower other women within the community - maybe it’s the boost they need to feel validated in their career/educational choices? If so, that doesn’t seem so bad in my mind.

Also, I don’t see this organization as a way to complain about the way things are. Which is what I inferred from the phrase that “pops into your head” … but as @molona said, sometimes with language its difficult - and I’m not 100% clear on what you meant by that phrase. If I was going with the “mature-late-20’s-American” interpretation, I’d be offended by your comment… and if my daughter (or any child of that age) ever uttered that phrase, I would surely wash their mouth out with soap. :wink: But of course, it is hard to tell these days! Who knows what is acceptable anymore.

Make sure to send an official invite to Barbie when you launch this organization. She really needs it. :stuck_out_tongue: http://gizmodo.com/barbie-f-cks-it-up-again-1660326671


Hi there,

I wanted to post earlier, even though I won’t be able to join the Association but I didn’t have the time to write what I wanted. I am NOT a developer, though I’m pretty technical. I’m writer, designer, and online entrepreneur and what not, so more or less I do have a connection to Web development, though not as a developer. After you go up and running, I can help with an article aimed at young females (and their parents) who are considering an IT career, not necessarily in Web development only. I don’t know if I should be proud or not but I’ve been a role model for a few girls who went in IT - some of them didn’t stay here for long because of various reasons but the others are quite OK (or at least this is what they tell me :)).

I could tell my story how I ended in IT and how the WRONG role model could do a lot of damage. My mother was in IT when I was a kid and she wanted me to go there, too. However, since me and my mother are very different, I somehow don’t perceive her as a role model - even up until this day. In a sense, since we are so different, what’s good for her, how could it be good for me? She was way too smart to bully me into computers but she tried more subtle ways to do it. To me this felt like a manipulation, which is even worse. I wouldn’t even hear about computers. In fact, I have a C or D in IT in my high school diploma. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: My mother almost killed me back then! :smile:

She wouldn’t have failed that much, if she didn’t have an accomplice - my maths teacher. I didn’t know it back then but there is a joke that women in science/maths/programming are like Guinea pigs (i.e. neither a pig, nor Guinean, neither a woman, nor a programmer). (http://www.genderforum.org/print/issues/gender-and-humour/women-scientists-resemble-guinea-pigs/?print=1) When later (in my 20s), when I was already in IT, I heard this for the first time from a male co-worker, though it wasn’t addressed directly at me, I went ballistic because I didn’t see the humor in it. So, my maths teacher was really like a Guinea pig - she was repulsive as a woman, not too great at maths, and on top of this, she didn’t know how to handle a wild female student, like my humble persona. :smile:

Basically, me and my high school maths teacher were at war and because of her, there was a risk for me not to graduate from this highly prestigious high school I attended. I didn’t even want to hear about maths, computers, or any of these. I liked physics really a lot but since it involved maths, it was not an option. I wanted to study law - as I now can explain my choice, not only because I liked it, had already familiarized myself with lots of areas of law but because my favorite aunt, to whom I could relate, was a lawyer and journalist.

I didn’t get to study law because I didn’t get accepted in a state university where the tuition fees were decent (because I didn’t study hard, if at all, for the exams) and my father wouldn’t even hear of paying the outrageous fees at some of the private universities simply because I’d been too irresponsible not to prepare myself properly for the exams. To make a long story short, I graduated from a business school with a minor in journalism (the aunt connection :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :)). A couple of years later I did get one more useless paper for my diploma collection, this time in IT.

Then I went to work for a NGO, where I was the only female. This is the best team I’ve ever been in! One of the guys - much older, in fact his children were older than me, is the person I am thankful for life because he awoke my interest in computers. He did the miracle to open my eyes that computers are fun, I can handle them and I can enjoy this. And I repeat, he managed to achieve this, without even aiming to, after the damage my maths teacher and partially my mother did to me. I sometimes joke that this guy is like a spiritual father to me because I owe him my profession.

This is one reason why I side with some of the posters before me that a women-only organization is not a good idea. As it is true that a good role model from the same gender can help, a bad one can cause a lot of damage. It’s also true that sometimes the opinion/example/patience of the opposite gender can influence you more. And this comes from a female, who is/was not only boyish in the good sense but who as a kid/teen was wilder than probably 80 per cent of the boys in the neighborhood. :slight_smile: I guess if my Mom had told me, “Don’t go into computers, this is for boys only!”, I would have jumped straight into IT. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

In addition to my personal story how I got into IT, one more reason why a female-only organization is not a good idea (in my opinion) is that basically I agree with what erikasf wrote about her experience in nursing. The last time I was in a female-mainly situation was a cat forum, where stupidity and melodrama was pouring from all directions. You can’t imagine how malicious some females can be towards someone who doesn’t share their opinion! Claws were out at full speed. Simply disgusting! True some of the members of this forum were uneducated women but there were lawyers, teachers, accountants and similar who weren’t better.

I had worked in teams with some (or maybe too many) female developers and I do have mixed feelings about this. As there were really brilliant ones, there were some whose existence unfortunately fuels misogyny. So when I hear we need more women in IT in general - because there is more to IT than Web development, I am not certain if all these bimbos belong there. They cause much damage and in fact they make it harder for the ladies who are really good at development, design, system administration, etc.

In one of my previous jobs, where I was a QA, Tech Support, and Sys Admin, one of the male co-workers - a developer and a guy with a brain - wouldn’t even hear to have his computer reinstalled by a woman. I was surprised because I knew he had a brain but didn’t get insulted by his reaction. As a sys admin, it was my job to reinstall his computer but I saw no point to argue with him. I just told him to ask the boss, if the boss was OK with him wasting his time on reinstalling his computer and if the boss is OK, I’m more than fine.

My coworker did need some assistance for the reinstall because he was too smart to know that the trial and error approach doesn’t work and he came to ask the other colleagues for advice. Since all the other coleagues were developers, who were not familiar with all the latest and greatest bugs in Windows and the ways around them simply because they didn’t have to, I answered some of his questions, shocked him with the fact that I do know a lot, and we clarified his initial reaction. As it turned out, he had had quite a lot of negative experiences with female sys admins and service technicians and this is why he reacted in such a strange way.

This is why I say that you can have too many females in IT. As if the male bimbos in IT were not enough. :slight_smile:

Finally, let me repeat what I started with. If you want, I can write for the Association an article aimed at young ladies (or ladies in general) who are considering a career in IT. Just to clear any doubts, I won’t charge you for this article, this will be my 2 cents for the cause.


I think this varies by sector. Overall the lack of women in IT is alarming to me and I’ve been at outfits without a woman in sight. However the advertising/media sector tends to have a better balance. I would guess my company is around 55/45 split. Two of my four managers are women. That said, my position - programmer - has only now added a female member and our company has been actively looking for a qualified candidate because balance is important to us, though admittedly the social media department has the reverse problem of 9 ladies to 1 guy.

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Saw this today. Made me laugh.