Citation, Please

Another day, another flood of defensive, ill-informed commentary on the Internet about women in technology. (I'm thinking particularly of some of the responses to Frances Berriman's post about Matt Andrews' pointing out that all 22 speakers at the upcoming Edge conference are male, but there's lots more floating around.) So: the claim that "most women just don’t like tech" was analyzed ten years ago in Margolis and Fisher's landmark Unlocking the Clubhouse. The authors (both then at Carnegie-Mellon) found that the "boy's club" atmosphere of tech does discourage women (and others) from taking part. When it was addressed, female enrolment and graduation grew from approximately 12-15% to over 35% in just a few years. It's brief (less than 200 pages), readable, and most importantly, it's based on data rather than anecdote. If the people who keep saying "problem? what problem?" have better data to back up their claims—or any data at all—could they please cite it?

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