Geek Feminism Wiki

A form letter response useful for when you hear things like "Women just choose to do different things. <Rant on feminism/equal opportunity/political correctness gone mad>" or "Why do people care about this, no one cares that men aren't going 'women's jobs'".

Your post suggests a

( ) social ( ) evolutionary ( ) biological ( ) experiental

defense for women's dwindling numbers in computer science. Your reasoning is flawed. 
Here is why it is flawed. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular 
defense, and it may have other flaws which have been camouflaged by your 
institutionalised sexism.)

( ) Not all women have the same experience as your friend
( ) Women are not genetically programmed to be less interested in computers
( ) Intrinsic aptitude is bogus
( ) Women _are_ as smart as men
( ) You seem to have forgotten that the first programmers were all women
( ) Women have in the past had broad parity with men in this field
( ) Women currently have parity with men in other similarly technical fields
( ) Actually, there are stories about why there aren't more men in women-dominated 
    fields (for example, teaching)
( ) It's possible for people to exhibit sexist behaviour without consciously realising it
( ) Actually, being patronising is not an argument.
( ) Just because you know a woman who agrees with you doesn't make you automatically right.
( ) The same arguments were made about the fields of medicine and education, and look how 
    they've changed over time.
( ) The study you cite ignores the dozens of similar studies that show little to no difference
( ) The study you cite has flawed methodology
( ) Visible role models for women in computer science are rare

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) You have constructed a straw-man belief that no feminists actually hold
( ) You have ignored the fact that many women miss the socially acceptable socialisation into 
    computer culture as a child, and are even actively discouraged 
( ) No one has ever said that equality means men and women should be alike in every single way
( ) Affirmative action has nothing to do with the original topic
( ) You are taking this issue very personally. Of course _you_ have never discriminated against 
    women, or witnessed discrimination and not acted. It's not actually about you.
( ) Er, Western society doesn't systematically discriminate against white men.
( ) Femininity and masculinity are social constructs.
( ) The fact that there are other issues that are also important doesn't mean we should stop 
    paying attention to this one.
( ) Behaviours that tend to discourage women often discourage many men, too.
( ) The "meritocratic" approach of open source development is often conducted in a way common to 
    male socialisation but rare to women
( ) Sexist jokes aren't true or funny
( ) Single-minded obsessiveness is not the only way to be a good programmer.

Specifically, you have played into the following stereotypes:

( ) Women prefer "social" jobs
( ) Women are inherently bad (or not as good as men) at logic
( ) Women are inherently bad (or not as good as men) at spatial reasoning
( ) Women are inherently bad (or not as good as men) at mathematics
( ) Computing is unfeminine
( ) Women who like activities commonly considered to be male must be lesbians
( ) Feminists hate men
( ) Women/feminists are hysterical/emotional/unable to reason
( ) Women don't like nice guys
( ) Computing is inherently anti-social or unsocial
( ) The best programmers are anti-social obsessive uber-nerds who stay up all night, with 
    poor communication skills but brilliant code
( ) Confidence and agression in men are a good sign, but in women it means they are 
    "man-eaters" or "dragon ladies".

This issue is important because:

( ) Computer science is missing the insights of generations of women
( ) I'm sick of being surrounded by guys at work
( ) I'm sick of being the only woman I know on my project
( ) I'm sick of feeling like a societal outcast because of my interests
( ) I'm sick of using a male psuedonym just so I don't get harassed
( ) I want my daughter to have the opportunity to enjoy geeking out just as much as I do
( ) Even if salaries are not as high as lawyers, technical knowledge has high status in society,  
    unlike garbage collection
( ) Sexism is real
( ) Technology affects everyone's life and we all deserve a means of answering back
( ) An individual woman's failure or success in this field is often seen as being emblematic of 
    all women, unlike any individual man
( ) Everyone should get to experience the joy of hacking

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

( ) Seriously, have you not seen ?
( ) You need to try seeing the world from someone else's perspective.
( ) Your barely disguised misogyny is scary. Please back away from the keyboard.

Please consider this public domain.