My apologies for the few posts lately, but I've been at an IT conference out of town and have been very busy. Something struck me today, though, that is worth sharing. It's no secret that there are fewer women in technical fields than men. Information Technology and computers are no exception to this. It really puts it in perspective, though, when you go to one of these conferences. I took a headcount in one representative session today and there were 65 men and 3 women in the room. THREE! There's something seriously wrong with that. Either we men are idiots for choosing this as a career and they've just figured it out before us, or the system is broken. I don't believe there's anything basically wrong with IT, and I think women are just as capable as men in the field, there's just fewer of them. There's no question of the nature/nurture debate here. It's nurture in my opinion. Women simply aren't encouraged to pursue these kinds of fields of study. Partly by friends and family, but most importantly by the educational system. At least that was the case for my generation. I'm not certain if things have changed much lately. Seeing it in these terms over the last few days prompted me to do a little research and I found this little gem here : "The number of women in IT, as measured as a percentage of the total IT personnel pool, declined from 42 percent in 1996 to 32.4 percent in 2004--with no noticeable progress in the number of women in professional or management ranks." So things are getting worse. Great. The study referenced in the article points out that problem is not limited to the US, it's a global phenomenon. But why?

Some seem to think that it's because the profession has been dominated by male 'geeks' for so long, that it causes women to discount it purely by social association as early as their early teens. So maybe it is simply a matter of perception that we're all bleary-eyed geeks sitting in darkened rooms eating pizza and drinking Mountain Dew, who play D&D on our days off and are known to hack out code in 48 hour marathons and compare pocket protectors... As untrue as that stereotype is, it persists and may be a big reason for the lopsided distribution of the sexes. What do YOU think?