Addressing the Gender Inequity Gap in IT and Application Programming

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Addressing the Gender Inequity Gap in IT and Application Programming

By Cameron McKenzie

12 Jan 2012 | TheServerSide.com

Is there really no solution to the gender inequality gap in the IT industry?

And of course, it's not really the IT industry in general, because there are women in the IT industry. There are plenty of women in IT recruiting. There are plenty of women in middle-management jobs where there is no need to compile a code or complete a while loop. And there are plenty of women doing documentation or even gathering user requirements. But there's a complete and total dearth of female programmers.

And what's frustrating about the issue is that there are very few theories as to why the discrepancy exists, and even fewer ideas on how to address the it.

Christin Gormon asserts in her article The Token Woman that perhaps the glut of female programmers could be blamed to a certain extent on a self-fulfilling prophesy, where less is expected from women in the field, and as a result, female programmers tend to be put under the microscope to a greater degree than their male counterparts. The resulting unpleasantness then pushes women out of development and into other peripheral fields.

In a reply to a Mitchell Pronschinske's DZone article on the topic, Andrew McVeigh makes the point that the interest and familiarity with video games at a young age gives males an early advantage, giving them an interest in technology, and perhaps the interest young women now have in smartphone and tablet like devices will push more women to take an interest in application development in years to come.

Regardless of reasons, the gender discrepancy is a problem, and it's obvious to anyone that has attended a Java conference or worked on an open source project that there are very few women in the high paying field of development and computer programming. And there really doesn't seem to be anything the industry is doing about it.