Girl Power! (And the women of XML)

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Kill Bill Vol2Kill Bill\ We finished Kill Bill Vol 2 last night and absolutely loved the entire movie. By entire movie, I mean part 1 & 2 combined. Part 1 was a more visual feast while the second produced the story and dialogue we expect from Q. My wife puts it among her favorites, mainly because she loves any movies with "Girl Power".

Women of XML\ This brings me to the topic of "Women Power!" in relation to technology. Dare posts this most excellent list of some of the top women in XML.

This list is very encouraging. I have to admit, that personally, I've never worked with a female software developer or system administrator except for the first month or so of my first job. And this isn't for lack of trying. At my first company, the president was a woman, and all of our project managers were women as well. But the developers were all men. When we were hiring, my boss really hoped to see some qualified women come in to interview. If memory serves me correct, I remember interviewing a grand total of one woman. That's all that responded!

Unfortunately, there's a lot of factors involved that have kept women out of technology. Naturally, there's the workplace chauvinism encountered in the old days (and I'm sure even now). But there's also the bias that the current generation of employable women faced as young girls and in school. When you have a talking Barbie doll that says "Gee, Math is HARD!", what kind of message are you sending young girls?

Apart from the subtle sexism, there's also the fact that programming hasn't been marketed to women very well. It has no "sex appeal". Hopefully this is starting to change, but when the general public thinks about programmers, there's the image of the anti-social grungy pizza loving Coke fiend (cola I mean) who is isolated and seeks glory by working 80 hr weeks to put out the next version of "Kill Everything That Moves And Make Them Bleed" first-person shooter.

Where is the Ally McBeal of software development!? There's nothing inherently sexier about Law (as my lawyer friends can attest) than software. No really. Really!

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