Let's try to stop talking about women in technology

This Searchlight wonders when women in technology will cease to be noteworthy. Plus: making the ROI case for big data, email bounces back and more.

Spoiler alert! The creator of your next favorite app is a 17-year-old girl from New Hampshire. High school senior...

Jennie Lamere was the sole female competitor and winner of a recent national hackathon in Boston, where in a mere 10 hours she created a program to block TV spoilers from Twitter feeds.

Karen GoulartKaren Goulart

As reporter Dana Liebelson put it in this week's lead Searchlight item: Internet, meet the reason we need more women in technology. Hey, if Lamere's Twivo app can keep me from finding out what's happening on Mad Men while I catch up with the DVR, she's doing a service to humankind. (Or at least the humankind in the immediate vicinity of me and my Twitter feed.)

In all seriousness, I'm glad to have found this story splashed around the Web and I'm glad to be re-sharing, because it's cool and it's feel-good. Yet, it's also a little depressing. The leading element of each and every retelling of Lamere's victory is not on her young age or the fact that she was the only person in the competition flying solo and not part of a team. It was, first and foremost, that she is a girl. There's nothing wrong with that editorial choice; it's just disappointing that the lead element is still apt. How is it that women in technology stories are on par with man bites dog tales?

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For Lamere's sake, and the sake of other young women, I hope we can stop talking about this soon. Perhaps when Lamere graduates from Rochester Institute of Technology where she's headed in the fall to study software engineering, things will be a little different. If not, she'll be well-positioned to help change them.

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Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, features writer.

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Why are women in technology such a rarity?
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I can understand why women in technology are still somewhat rare. It's probably a bit difficult to get it unless you are one.

As the only woman on a software development team of 12, I definitely feel out of places sometimes, and it can become frustrating to be so vastly outnumbered. It's apparent to me, almost on a daily basis, that there are intrinsic differences between the way that many men think vs. the way that many women think.

I think that I lend a valuable perspective to the team, it's just difficult because I'm not heard as much as I would like to be.

On another note, good for the bright young lady in the article! Sounds like she will have great opportunities for her future.
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Because they listen to men....

kids of whatever sex have pretty much the same inherent abilities and (at least at birth) all the same options. Alas, as they learn to crawl past the crib, society begins putting limits on them. Gifts are computers and build-it thingies for boys, dolls and play houses for girls. In school, girls are shuffled into  sewing and cooking classes while it's shop and math for the boys.

The never-ending message - in education, in politics, in the workplace - is that smart ain't sexy. And sexy is essential. Girls are told ad infinitum, ad nauseum, that they're nothing unless they're slim, cute and perky.

Teen mags (devoured by teen girls) grace their covers with the latest diets, fancies outfits and today's tips for better dating. How often do they run headline stories about steps to ace a math exam, or help to pick the right science course. When do they do a profile on the smartest girl in school. Not the fastest, not the homecoming queen, but the smartest....

Exciting role models are mostly absent for girls. Let's see, uh, Betsy Ross sewed a flag, so American won the revolution. And, ooh, Marie Curie - and her husband - discovered something about radium, then she died of exposure to it. And then there was that president's wife, she did something good, too....

Think I'm wrong...? Ask the next four people you meet, men or women, to name two science or math advancements made by a woman. Hell, ask them to name one....

Want to see women in the tech forces...? Start early, and often, telling them that science is a great career for women and that smart women are incredibly sexy. Then take them out a throw some baseballs, shoot some hoops, whatever. Just stop treating them like girls and act as if they were capable human beings. They'll get the message.
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Personally, I believe that there are natural differences between men and women, regardless of upbringing or societal influences.

I may work in IT, but I'm pretty much your typical female. I don't relate to the men that I work with and I certainly don't share their interests. I also believe that the differences between the sexes lead men to excel in certain types of jobs and activities, and women to excel in others. 
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simple, because they don't want to, there is no prejudice against them they just don't want to. My proof is that my girlfriend graduated with a degree in Maths & Physics, no-one tried to stop her and everyone was supportive. Then she managed to get a job as a software engineer within a month when she decided that she did not like the career paths in maths or physics. She has not got any experience in coding and there were plenty of male applicants, there is no anti-female agenda in the technology field anymore, females are simply rarer because they did not want to be in this area and because many years ago there was a prejudice (emphasis on the past tense) but it is not there anymore. It really irritates me when there are special events to get girls into coding banned to boys all the time but I have NEVER, not once in my life seen a boys only event. There are even special grants and job places held open for girls that are not forthcoming when there are plenty of boys desperate for that job. The balance has shifted, it is boys that are at a disadvantage now, fair enough its our turn but I get very irritated by the people offering these extra perks, excluding my gender etc while still claiming that they are disadvantaged, no they are not, its the boys now and its because of the continual instance that they need better treatment, you already have better treatment than the boys, now is the time to stop complaining before anti-feminism becomes a thing.
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Why do we have this agenda that women should to do the same things as men? The story is that someone thinks there is a story in this. Most women don't like coding.
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Tech women will stop being noteworthy when tech men stop thinking of them as a separate species. Anyone with enough smarts to pull up their own pants knows the work output of men and women is about the same.

Some woman like tech, just like men. Some are even good at it, just like men. Then again, some just don't and some ain't, just like men. Hell, the whole field was started by a woman (who, it turned out, was smarter than the smart man she coded for, but that's another story). It's way beyond time to lose any thoughts that those girls are less worthy or capable than the boys.

Out there, women are too often viewed through the lens of TV's Mad Men. Pretty little objects, sometimes even useful, but hardly capable of equal thought, or worthy of equal pay or equal rights. Until 18th century politics and attitudes catch up with the reality of modern times, women will remain second class citizens, no matter the quality of the work they deliver.
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