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ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-engineers-more-cool-stuff dept.
ectoman writes: Opensource.com is running an interview with Jennifer Davidson of ChickTech, a non-profit organization whose mission is to create communities of support for women and girls pursuing (or interested in pursuing) careers in tech. "In the United States, many girls are brought up to believe that 'girls can't do math' and that science and other 'geeky' topics are for boys," Davidson said. "We break down that idea." Portland, OR-based ChickTech is quickly expanding throughout the United States—to cities like Corvallis and San Francisco—thanks to the "ChickTech: High School" initiative, which gathers hundreds of young women for two-day workshops featuring open source technologies. "We fill a university engineering department with 100 high school girls—more girls than many engineering departments have ever seen," Davidson said. "The participants can look around the building and see that girls from all backgrounds are just as excited about tech as they are."
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ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @02:56PM (#47469039)
    [citation needed]
    • by Tokolosh (1256448) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @03:24PM (#47469361)

      Indeed. I keep hearing this stated as a fact, over and over. It's like a lie that becomes the truth if repeated enough.

      Maybe because all the females in my engineering department were women, and not girls or chicks?

      Mod parent up.

    • by BonThomme (239873) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @03:52PM (#47469683) Homepage

      http://xkcd.com/385/

    • by bangular (736791) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @04:09PM (#47469847)
      Go to any university STEM departments and here's what you'll find (with my anecdotal evidence).

      Women like science. You'll have to go to the Biology department to find them. Women like math, you'll just have to go to the Applied Math & Statistics departments to find them. Women like Computer Science. You'll just have to go to the database courses to find them.

      Women are different than men. Forcing this seems artificial.
    • by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@gmai l . c om> on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @06:04PM (#47470793) Journal

      There's a "skills gap" present in Math aptitude tests that appears in countries where the status of women is worse [apa.org]. There are countries where the gap is lower or even reversed -- which seems to suggest culture rather than biology.

      If you can find an alternative explanation beyond "American Culture", feel free to suggest it.

      • by mi (197448)

        There's a "skills gap" present in Math aptitude tests that appears in countries where the status of women is worse

        This may be partially explained by the mistreatment. However, there is a giant elephant in the room of "sex equality": sports. The all-female teams are invariably weaker, than the all-male ones — and compete separately. Co-ed teams are required to have a certain number of women (2 players for a 6-member volleyball team, for example). Soccer World Cup just ended — did you see a single

        • by Prien715 (251944)

          I'm really not sure how sports fits into this. Yes, testosterone gives better performance in sports. Barry Bonds was fined for it. As was the Chinese women's swim team.

          As far as chess, first mandatory xkcd. [xkcd.com] Another good reason is how women are treated in mostly male fields. There's very few women who play Magic: The Gathering or chess for this reason (yes, I've been to the tournies). On the other hand, more women are interested in studying academic subjects -- there must be some reason more women go t [pewresearch.org]

          • by Anonymous Coward
            Or, maybe all the money and focus on getting women into college is, dare I suggest it, getting more women into college? Also, the primary and secondary education systems are heavily geared towards women, and getting worse all the time. Normal young male traits are being considered disorders that require psychoactive medication, and of course being male is 'curable' so the drugs usually just make life worse for the kids.
          • by mi (197448)

            Another good reason is how women are treated in mostly male fields.

            So, you are trying to explain the entire disparity with mistreatment by males. I don't buy it...

            there must be some reason more women go to college than men right

            That may be because of the numerous programs like the one being described in TFA. That such programs are deemed necessary, reflects badly on the fair sex...

            • by Prien715 (251944)

              So, you are trying to explain the entire disparity with mistreatment by males. I don't buy it...

              I follow the data. In numerous other countries, this is not the case. Again, if you have better data, please share (as I did in GP). Otherwise -- buying into the idea of female inferiority with no data to support your assertion -- is precisely the kind of prejudice I'm talking about and you are the perfect example.

              • by mi (197448)

                I follow the data. In numerous other countries, this is not the case.

                Could you share a link to the data, so I can follow it too? Do those countries have a better number of female Grandmasters? Nope...

                Otherwise -- buying into the idea of female inferiority with no data to support your assertion

                You've already conceded, that men are stronger: "testosterone helps". Why would not they also be, no, not smarter — able to concentrate deeper on a single problem, for example?

                buying into the idea of female infer

          • by kuzb (724081)

            >There's very few women who play Magic: The Gathering

            What a bunch of bullshit. I know at least half a dozen girls in my town alone who regularly play this game. If they exist here, I'm certain they exist all over. Your idea of what young women participate in these days is outdated.

  • Where's BroTech? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by the_skywise (189793) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @02:59PM (#47469087)

    "In the United States, many boys are brought up to believe that 'doing math makes you a nerd' and that science and other 'geeky' topics are for wusses," the_skywise said. "We break down that idea."

  • Name (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The probably could've pick a name that wasn't so terrible.

    • Re:Name (Score:5, Funny)

      by sycodon (149926) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @03:19PM (#47469313)

      I had a business called ComputerChicks. For $500 they'd come to your house, fix up your computer and then fix you up...any way you wanted.

      The authorities got really cranky about it.

      But I did get meet a lot of really interesting guys over the course of 5 to 10 years with time off for good behavior.

      • by boristdog (133725)

        I actually had a business called "rent a nerd" in the early 90's when I was in my mid 20's and in great shape. I got lots of repeat calls from lonely divorced women to fix very simple "problems" with their computers. e.g. Problem: "My screen is blank!" Solution: "Turn up the brightness knob" | Problem: "My software won't load!" Solution: "You have to run the install.exe program, not the readme.txt"

        If I hadn't had a girlfriend and/or a conscience at the time I would have made even more money. I did get

  • Kuhscheisse. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @03:06PM (#47469177) Homepage Journal

    It means "Cow shit."

    Looking around my cube farm:

    3 rows of 9 cubes for a total of 27 cubes.

    3 cubes are inhabited by boxes and spare equipment, the rest by people.

    Out of 24 cubes with people, a solid half (13 to be precise) are filled with females, the rest, males.

    So, no, there is not a "shortage of girls in tech." Now, there may be a "shortage of girls" in certain avenues of the tech industry, but I'll bet dollars against pesos that there's a perfectly reasonable, non-misogynistic reason for at least the majority of those shortages.

    • by doctor woot (2779597) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @03:16PM (#47469283)

      You're a good statistician and sociologist. Strongly persuaded by the narrow anecdote you used to support your loosely worded presumptuous conclusion. This is the quality bullshit comment systems were invented for.

      • You're a good statistician and sociologist. Strongly persuaded by the narrow anecdote you used to support your loosely worded presumptuous conclusion.

        I know, right? Do you think CNN will hire me to do a show, or should I shoot more towards the ultra-partisan MSNBC/FOX News crowds? When it comes to BS I can make Ann Coulter look like a rank amateur.

        'Course, were I to respond in a slightly less sardonic manner, I'd mention how if you're the sort of person who extrapolates someone's personal anecdote about their own officemates to imply a globally-viable statistic, well, that little bit o' idiocy is on you, not me.

        Slightly less sardonic...

        • Either you're implying that you really don't know how "so" works as a conjunction or you're backpedaling. I'd believe either at this point.

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          Out of 24 cubes with people, a solid half (13 to be precise) are filled with females, the rest, males.

          So, no, there is not a "shortage of girls in tech."

          You made the extrapolation yourself.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      So, no, there is not a "shortage of girls in tech." Now, there may be a "shortage of girls" in certain avenues of the tech industry

      Were they in actual tech roles, or non tech roles?

      My own experience says I've never seen more than about 10-15% female actually in tech roles. I've never worked at a place which didn't have women in tech roles, but there's always been a bit of a skewing towards males.

      Heck, when I was in school, the ratio was about the same in my classes, and seemed to drop as you went to more a

      • So, no, there is not a "shortage of girls in tech." Now, there may be a "shortage of girls" in certain avenues of the tech industry

        Were they in actual tech roles, or non tech roles?

        Seems about 50/50 - half are either in management or administrative roles, the rest are either developers, project coordinators, or systems designers and installers. In my department, 2/3 of the managers are women.

        My own experience says I've never seen more than about 10-15% female actually in tech roles. I've never worked at a place which didn't have women in tech roles, but there's always been a bit of a skewing towards males.

        It does seem that tech jobs tend to have more men than women in them (sure, half the women are devs, but 80% of the men are too), but I don't believe the reasoning to be nearly as misogynistic as some of these "gurls up" organizations want us to think. It's just that most chicks don't dig coding,

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      So, no, there is not a "shortage of girls in tech.

      Your survey of your immediate surroundings isn't very convincing in the face of much wider studies and larger data sets. Are you one of those people who doesn't believe in climate change because it's quite cool in your office?

      • So, no, there is not a "shortage of girls in tech.

        Your survey of your immediate surroundings isn't very convincing in the face of much wider studies and larger data sets. Are you one of those people who doesn't believe in climate change because it's quite cool in your office?

        Unlike the author of TFA, who doesn't even bother with facts or statistics at all, but rather predicates their entire platform on the statement "Dur, we need more gurls in tech!"

        Seriously, go read TFA. It's not so much an article as an advertisement for the organization.

    • by sycodon (149926)

      But were they young, cute girls?

      • But were they young, cute girls?

        No...

        OK, suddenly I have a "good" reason to support this ChickTech idea...

    • by woodworx (1780214)
      much as I like the english to german translation, I think Norm Schwartzkopf called it better during the first gulf war. Bovine Scatology.
    • by Yunzil (181064)

      They say that almost 20% of the world's population is Chinese. However there are no Chinese people working in any of the offices on the same floor of the building as me. Therefore I conclude that all these so-called experts are wrong and there are in fact no Chinese people.

  • I abhor the use of personal resources to aid any specific group of people for any reason. People should spend their money only in ways that further my own interest, I'm too insecure to have it any other way.

    People trying to help others overcome inequality makes me sick.

  • my seventeen year old daughter scored a 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam. she intends on teaching High School Math. ( why she wants to go back to high school, I have yet to understand.) so in my mind, girls get to choose what they want to do just like guys do. dunno why girls don't choose geekage as much as guys do... could be the tan line possibilities.... (or not)
    • Hear hear...

      In my experience it's not that they can't be programmers it's that they don't WANT to be programmers. The smartest women in my family is a bio-engineer. The second smartest got an MBA (well.. y'know...we love her anyway. ;) ) I've known women physicists, astro-physicists, doctors (the MD kind), veterinarians, and psychiatrists. (None in a professional capacity) All of them geeks in one way or the other but all of them HATE computers and only use them as a necessary evil. I work in IT and ha

  • My completely anecdotal non-scientific evidence is that girls interested in math, science, and tech were mostly discouraged by their peers. Communities to support girls and women pursuing tech are great and all, but I feel like for a lot of girls it's going to come down to one very simple question: do I get new hobbies, or do I get new friends? It wouldn't surprise me if a majority of girls choose the latter.

    Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe things have changed since the decade or so since I was a high school student.

    • by Tokolosh (1256448)

      I found this interesting: http://www.washingtonpost.com/... [washingtonpost.com]

      • Re:Peer pressure? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by the_skywise (189793) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @04:06PM (#47469829)

        I have to question the analysis after this:

        "These STEM majors, as with economics, begin with few women enrolling and end with even fewer graduating. This “leaky pipeline” has been somewhat puzzling, Arcidiacono said, because women enter college just as prepared as men in math and science. On average, women more eagerly spend time studying than men do, a trait that should theoretically attract women to STEM fields, which generally assign more homework."

        More homework? Women should be attracted to STEM fields because they "generally assign more homework"?!

        Well... THERE'S YOUR PROBLEM.

        F- that... That's not at all why I wanted to go into "STEM" fields. I wanted to build s**t.

  • BS on anyone thinking "geek is for boys". Everyone knows geek work is for both pimple-faced, socially awkward boys AND fat girls too.

    Which doesn't explain why my boss is so good at it, nor why my mom was an awesome programmer and analyst - neither of them are fat.

  • I just love the sound of that.

    Oink
  • Feel good kumbaya (Score:4, Informative)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @03:52PM (#47469675)

    a) there's nothing special about Open Source
    b) being excited about something is not tangible
    c) self-esteem is not the point
    d) being a career non-profit means that you never created value
    e) Oregon is full of hipsters and douches

  • The largely patriarchal narrative woven into the fabric of the american dream is that women are caretakers of children and roasters of turkey during holidays. Whereas the soviet union in the 1970's boasted much greater equality in the workplace in terms of female STEM headcount, the US doubled-down on rhetoric, shuffled 'in god we trust' into the pledge, and made haste to forget rosie the riveter ever existed.

    We have an entire party in government that literally see women as uselessly inferior to men.
    • by Raseri (812266)
      The mods have identified you as a troll, but in case you're really this ignorant, here are some numbers showing that "patriarchal oppression" has not stopped women from becoming the majority of recipients of all degrees, up to and including doctoral degrees [ed.gov]. This would seem to indicate that such oppression is purely the stuff of myth and legend.
      • by mvdwege (243851)

        And where does that refute his point? Despite the fact that society pats women on the head by passing them a largely useless piece of paper (it's still mostly your social network that determines advancement, not your degree), we still get politicians like Akin, and the Hobby Lobby decision.

        Quite frankly, GP is right, and the Troll mod is probably the work of yet another pimply MRA type.

  • Also see:

    The Ada Initiative [adainitiative.org].

  • Selective Service (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tokolosh (1256448) on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @04:10PM (#47469857)

    Wake me up when women are required to register for Selective Service, and qualify to be shot or blown up against their will.
    https://www.sss.gov/fswho.htm [sss.gov]

    WHO MUST REGISTER

    Almost all male U.S. citizens, and male immigrants living in the U.S., who are 18 through 25, are required to register with Selective Service.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      How about instead of forcing women to fight against their will you just stop forcing anyone of any gender? Most first world countries don't have any kind of mandatory service.

      • Because they rely on ours. It would be interesting to see the change if we pulled all protective forces back.

      • You're right of course. Heinlein had the correct solution, namely that all conflicts should only be initiated by referendum and that anyone voting yes is automatically drafted if it passes.
      • Every country has plans to mobilize men, except maybe in Africa where they prefer to draft little boys. The socialist countries don't need any kind of registration because all citizens are already tabulated into the collective through national IDs, health insurance, welfare, etc. Though the OP's complaint is rather trivial, I'd be more outraged about the average female's tax/entitlement ratio.
      • How about instead of forcing women to fight against their will you just stop forcing anyone of any gender? Most first world countries don't have any kind of mandatory service.

        I think you're getting confused by differences of terms.......in the US, no one is forced to fight. We have to register, but it is something that will not be used until emergencies (of course, the definition of emergency is flexible).

        Most countries have some kind of registration, or provision that will allow conscription when it becomes necessary. Some countries, like Russia, South Korea and Switzerland, require actual military service. That is something different, and not what happens in the US.

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@@@lynx...bc...ca> on Wednesday July 16, 2014 @04:54PM (#47470245) Journal

    "In the United States, many girls are brought up to believe that 'girls can't do math' and that science and other 'geeky' topics are for boys," Davidson said. "We break down that idea."

    Except, of course, for the fact that by trying to focus attention on how males and females are being treated differently where gender should be irrelevant, they are, in fact, treating the different genders differently when the notion of gender should be irrelevant, which only perpetuates the problem

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      So the best way to deal with the problem is to pretend that it doesn't exist?

      • by mark-t (151149)
        The best way to deal with the problem is to just stop treating people differently based on gender in the first place... perpetuating it by treating them differently to compensate for how they may have been treated differently by others just perpetuates the problem.
        • Stop treating people differently sounds good, but it simply isn't going to work in almost all cases.

          Assume that everybody decided to try treating people differently based on gender. There'd still be all sorts of perceptions built in, and all sorts of blind spots. There was a study of teachers in California that found they tended to call on boys a lot more than girls, and that this behavior continued (although lessened) after they'd been told about the initial results.

          Sometimes treating people differe

          • by mark-t (151149)

            If it doesn't work, then study *WHY* it doesn't work.... *WHY* are people treated differently based on gender when there is no need to? Address that issue, and you solve the problem. Treating them differently to somehow compensate for how they may have already been treated differently is *STILL* treating them differently.

            Instead of trying to compensate for a past that may have been less than ideal, people should concentrate on trying to make the future better than yesterday was.

            • Well, yes. That's what things like Chicktech are - experiments. We don't know everything that's going on.

              Compensating for a less-than-ideal past is worthwhile in many cases. The only people currently without a past aren't going to hit the technical workforce an any numbers for twenty years now.

  • It's one thing to have an organization comprised of women, it's another to go all-out like penis-hating feministas.
  • "ChickTech Brings Hundreds of Young Women To Open Source"... where they encounter Richard "THAT'S FREE SOFTWARE TO YOU" Stallman , Linus Torvalds, and Theo De Raadt and vow never to touch a computer again.

  • by kuzb (724081)

    Where exactly is the funding to get free education for my son? Why exactly is it that he has to be disadvantaged for not having a vagina?

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