Summary: Perhaps the women who don’t choose computer programming are making a good choice, especially with the deteriorating working conditions, stagnant or falling salaries, and offshoring.
These postings all assume that we need to do something to pull more women into coding. Why? Do we think there are there lots of women would be happy coding, but aren’t smart enough or motivated enough to choose the right careers for themselves, or are too timid to deal with any barriers unless someone comes along and dismantles them first?
Listen to the market
In an age where we’ve come to trust central planning less and the free market more, why not try to learn from the labour market instead of trying to push it ways it doesn’t want to go?
If we assume that the majority of working women are smart, strong, motivated, and brave, then we can also assume that they have good reasons for choosing their careers. And in fact, it turns out that their track record isn’t bad. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s, women were grossly underrepresented in manufacturing and overrepresented in lower-paying service-industry jobs like retail. But when manufacturing starting offshoring in the 1980s and 1990s, it was the women who were still working (often as managers, at this point), while the men were at home, depressed, collecting welfare cheques or trying to retrain for jobs that paid a fraction of what they used to earn.
Now, while there’s lots of work connected with tech, we see pure coding increasingly being offshored, the same way that manufacturing was 20 years ago. There’s no shortage of women working in jobs connected with computers, but instead of coding, many women choose onsite consulting, training, marketing, and other jobs that are not only social but require face time with customers, and as a result, are much more difficult to offshore.
Of course, if you absolutely love coding, like I do (and most of the people reading this do), you’re going to work hard to try to find a way to keep doing it, whether you’re a man or a woman. But if you don’t feel that burning love, why let yourself be dragged kicking and screaming into an industry where salaries are falling, jobs are fleeing, hours are increasing (bye bye weekends!), and workers are increasingly treated as interchangeable cogs on a development assembly line, without even the (questionable) union protection their parents had in their factory jobs 20-30 years ago?