Why girls are put off studying computer science
An interesting article looking at the history of computer science.
The Real Reason Women Quit Tech (and How to Address It)
This tells a familiar story of women being sidelined and not given opportunities to take on work that would mark them out as promotion material. What marks this article as different to the others is that it gives some concrete advice on how to improve things.
Why Do Robots Always Turn Out Sexist? People Make Them.
This is a great piece explaining how the lack of diversity is meaning that we are sexualising tech that does not need sexualising,
Have you considered when and why robots are female? Certainly, the sexualized ones like the robots in films like Her and Ex Machina are presented as a romantic alternative to real-life women—perhaps even preferable. But noticeably, when a robot has a gender-neutral job like mobile assistant, it’s also female. Just think of Siri, Tay, Cortana, Alexa, and the default voice of your GPS.
Anything an engineer develops is deliberate, so it’s not random that all mobile assistants are women. The underlying “assumption” of the developers was an affirmative choice. But building that choice into our user experience now crystallizes the assumption and makes it self-fulfilling.
…This matters. We are continually building our technological world’s characteristics. Our interactions are increasingly mediated by robots, machines, and algorithms housed by companies.”
The Sexism Described in Uber Employee’s Report Is Why Women Leave Tech—Or Don’t Enter at All
A story that only comes as a surprise if you've been living under a rock for the last few years.
This is a great piece that really looks at the problems of the tech industry and includes this awesome analogy by software engineer Kate Heddleston:
Women in tech are the canary in the coal mine. Normally when the canary in the coal mine starts dying you know the environment is toxic and you should get the hell out. Instead, the tech industry is looking at the canary, wondering why it can’t breathe, saying “Lean in, canary. Lean in!” When one canary dies they get a new one because getting more canaries is how you fix the lack of canaries, right? Except the problem is that there isn't enough oxygen in the coal mine, not that there are too few canaries.
Two articles that highlight the sexism in tech from both creators and users:
Wired Editor Apologizes for Article Depicting All-Male Future of Hacking
The headline says it all.
"I pictured a dude this whole time": why the internet assumes you're a man
An essay by [Deborah Tannen, a professor linguistics], “There is No Unmarked Woman” explains how women are always marked linguistically. “Verbs are present tense (visit) unless marked for past (visited). Nouns are singular (cat) unless marked for plural (cats). And people are male (poet, actor) unless marked for female (poetess, actress)… The assumption that the unmarked form is male persists.”
On the internet, women are similarly marked. We look for stereotypical clues like kisses or emoji use to determine whether someone is a woman. Without these, the assumption is automatically that the writer is male.