Techtosterone? Where are the women in technology?

On the 20th of July, one of the less than two hundred people who've visited space left us for a higher orbit. I bet you started to think about all of the male astronauts you knew who might have passed on? It's not your fault - whether it's doctors, physicists or programmers - media has largely conditioned us to assume that technical, hard sciences are exclusively the stomping grounds of men.


However, as Sally Ride, Marie Curie, others have demonstrated, woman have had an outsized impact on the field—when given half a chance. The question really is why are we not doing more to encourage them?



Perhaps it is because I'm the proud father of a daughter with a technical bent. Or maybe it's because my grandmother taught high school mathematics or my partner holds an honors degree in electrical engineering. I tend to wonder why we don't see more participation from women in IT — technology roles in particular.





It seems I'm not the only one who finds it odd. I recently recorded an interview with Susanne Axtell head of communications for the hard-core technology publishing house, O'Reilly Media (you know the ones with the animals on the front covers). Susanne and the team at O'Reilly want to encourage more participation from women at technology conferences as speakers.


I sat down with Susanne and self-proclaimed Linux "chick," Mandy Wells, to get their view on why we don't see more women presenting at tech conferences. We also discussed what they, their managers and their friends should be doing if we're to reduce the level of techtosterone at major conferences.


While not advocating positive discrimination, they recommend that we be more active in encouraging, these usually publicity shy, technically-oriented women to share their work more openly.


They also suggested a number of resources including a number of meet-ups and networking forums.


Are you a "code chick?" Do you manage one or know one? Do you think they're as shy and retiring as their representation at conferences would suggest? Is this as good as it gets?


Let me know your thoughts. I want to hear from women in the industry about what they are honestly experiencing in the workplace and why they feel their numbers are dropping.

DianaM(anon) | ‎09-24-2012 04:31 PM

Hire me, I am articulate and technical (BSME/MSCS/Java Programmer Certification/Formal Project Manager training). I have experience speaking to all types of  audiences and have a background teaching best practices in web design and development. I work as a project manager for applications and infrastructure.


The article must be innacurate or based on false beliefs or assumptions and not facts.

PaulMuller | ‎09-30-2012 05:17 PM

Hey Diana - the article is based on a discussion with O'Reilly media, one of the more prominent organisers of technical conferences.


I'm glad to hear that your experience is different, where have you been speaking and how can folks get in touch with you?

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About the Author
Paul Muller leads the global IT management evangelist team within the Software business at HP. In this role, Muller heads the team responsib...

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