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Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (The MIT Press)

Jane Margolis, Allan Fisher · 1 HN points · 9 HN comments
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Amazon Summary
Understanding and overcoming the gender gap in computer science education. The information technology revolution is transforming almost every aspect of society, but girls and women are largely out of the loop. Although women surf the Web in equal numbers to men and make a majority of online purchases, few are involved in the design and creation of new technology. It is mostly men whose perspectives and priorities inform the development of computing innovations and who reap the lion's share of the financial rewards. As only a small fraction of high school and college computer science students are female, the field is likely to remain a "male clubhouse," absent major changes. In Unlocking the Clubhouse, social scientist Jane Margolis and computer scientist and educator Allan Fisher examine the many influences contributing to the gender gap in computing. The book is based on interviews with more than 100 computer science students of both sexes from Carnegie Mellon University, a major center of computer science research, over a period of four years, as well as classroom observations and conversations with hundreds of college and high school faculty. The interviews capture the dynamic details of the female computing experience, from the family computer kept in a brother's bedroom to women's feelings of alienation in college computing classes. The authors investigate the familial, educational, and institutional origins of the computing gender gap. They also describe educational reforms that have made a dramatic difference at Carnegie Mellon―where the percentage of women entering the School of Computer Science rose from 7% in 1995 to 42% in 2000―and at high schools around the country.
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Mar 25, 2021 · ip34162 on Here We Go Again
Seems like RMS's Achilles' heel is harassment towards women, over the years, even after being made aware of it politely by others.

In that light, these are classic reads on the topic (copy pasting another comment):

[1] Why are There so Few Female Computer Scientists (Ellen Spertus, 1991)

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7040

[2] How to Encourage Women in Linux (Val Henson, 2002)

https://tldp.org/HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/

[3] What Happens to Us Does Not Happen to Most of You (Kathryn S. McKinley, 2018)

https://www.sigarch.org/what-happens-to-us-does-not-happen-t...

[4] Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher, 2001)

https://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Women-Computing-P...

[5] The Elephant in the Valley (by Michele Madansky and Trae Vassallo, 2015)

https://www.elephantinthevalley.com/

Also the news of RMS coming back seems to have been hidden from even FSF members.

https://twitter.com/fsf/status/1374399897558917128

aerovistae
These were really good reads, especially the third. Thanks.
alexkarbiv
Patricia Torvalds uses Apple products.
Here's some readings on why many don't want RMS in a leadership position.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21287006

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20994216

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26545420

[4] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26535789

[5] https://guix.gnu.org/blog/2019/joint-statement-on-the-gnu-pr...

. .

Some well-regarded papers on sexism in CS, which are still relevant as is evident from some comments in this thread.

[1] Why are There so Few Female Computer Scientists (Ellen Spertus, 1991)

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7040

[2] How to Encourage Women in Linux (Val Henson, 2002)

https://tldp.org/HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/

[3] What Happens to Us Does Not Happen to Most of You (Kathryn S. McKinley, 2018)

https://www.sigarch.org/what-happens-to-us-does-not-happen-t...

[4] Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher, 2001)

https://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Women-Computing-P...

[5] The Elephant in the Valley (by Michele Madansky and Trae Vassallo, 2015)

https://www.elephantinthevalley.com/

It's sad to see no end to this kind of thinking. Here's some easy to read classic papers on sexism in tech:

[1] Why are There so Few Female Computer Scientists (Ellen Spertus, 1991)

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7040

[2] How to Encourage Women in Linux (Val Henson, 2002)

https://tldp.org/HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/

[3] What Happens to Us Does Not Happen to Most of You (Kathryn S. McKinley, 2018)

https://www.sigarch.org/what-happens-to-us-does-not-happen-t...

[4] Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher, 2001)

https://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Women-Computing-P...

JimmyAxod
So you think women don’t become plumbers because of sexism...

90%+ of workplace deaths are men. Maybe that has a factor on womens choices!? Why do you think men choose more dangerous professions? Tip: It’s not because of gender roles or sexism.

I suggest you do a tad more research. There are hundreds of research studies and papers which disagree with your 4.

I agree, it’s an incredibly sad discussion to even need to have. I mean have you even observed babies and children for a few minutes and noticed the drastic differences between the sexes?

I just wanna leave here some classic papers on sexism and harassment in tech, which are relevant even now:

[1] Why are There so Few Female Computer Scientists (Ellen Spertus, 1991)

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7040

[2] How to Encourage Women in Linux (Val Henson, 2002)

https://tldp.org/HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/

[3] What Happens to Us Does Not Happen to Most of You (Kathryn S. McKinley, 2018)

https://www.sigarch.org/what-happens-to-us-does-not-happen-t...

[4] Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher, 2001)

https://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Women-Computing-P...

Yeah you said it best. RMS shouldn't be the head of FSF. I say it as someone who does't think he is malicious at heart. He's got a string of behaviours towards women that would drive them away.

Maybe someone should email him these classic papers on sexism in tech. They are old but still relevant. Seems like many here need to read them too:

[1] Why are There so Few Female Computer Scientists (Ellen Spertus, 1991)

https://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/7040

[2] How to Encourage Women in Linux (Val Henson, 2002)

https://tldp.org/HOWTO/Encourage-Women-Linux-HOWTO/

[3] What Happens to Us Does Not Happen to Most of You (Kathryn S. McKinley, 2018)

https://www.sigarch.org/what-happens-to-us-does-not-happen-t...

[4] Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher, 2001)

https://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Women-Computing-P...

It is not the "expectations difference" that is absurd. It is the notion that highly educated women freely choose to opt out of high paying engineering/CS fields and pursue lower-paying PhDs because they plan on men supporting them. Is there a single shred of evidence to support this? Interviews with female grad students where they spell out this plan of theirs, etc.? Of course not. Meanwhile, tons of evidence around sexist cultures in engineering and CS. [1]

[1] see for example Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing (MIT Press) http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Women-Computing-Pr...

Chris2048
> because they plan on men supporting them

You added the idea of conscious planning. Replace "plan on supporting them" with "higher probability of getting support".

> tons of evidence around sexist cultures in engineering and CS

This has no bearing on the above claim though, does it? That men have a higher risk of being able to find a partner capable and willing on supporting them financially.

"Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing" (by Margolis & Fisher) is an excellent book on this topic.

MIT Press page: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/unlocking-clubhouse Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Women-Computing-Pr...

Jul 14, 2014 · 1 points, 0 comments · submitted by primigenus
(argh can't reply to replies) -- @yummyfajitas -- no i don't think it would be fundamentally different, since the mission would still be to bring out the most of people's natural potential and interest in a subject, to kindle a spark that might have otherwise been unlit due to lack of early exposure.

[Edit: I'm not eloquent enough to make a convincing case at 2:20am, but I don't think that extra sentence was merely a curious non-sequitur, even if it could be cut without modifying the point of that paragraph. I can list out tons of points/counterpoints in my head ("what about redheaded people with thin left eyebrows? why not mention them? would that be a non-sequitur? what about the historical and socioeconomic implications behind this demographic group and its relationship to technological access? ..."), but I don't have enough expertise to give this topic a proper treatment. So I'll leave this thread by recommending the following two books:

http://www.amazon.com/Unlocking-Clubhouse-Computing-Jane-Mar...

http://www.amazon.com/Stuck-Shallow-End-Education-Computing/...

]

Dec 01, 2009 · Ruchira on Of Geeks and Girls
I'd recommend _Unlocking the Clubhouse: Women in Computing_ http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0262632691?ie=UTF8&tag=... by Jane Margolis and Allan Fisher. They studies reasons why fewer women were enrolled in the CMU CS program, and successfully applied their findings to raise enrollment while maintaining graduation rate. They found that what was detrimental for women was detrimental for everybody, but women tended to be on the margin and so were more severely impacted. One issue was that women were much less likely to have spent a lot of time with computers before arriving. Another was that women were more concerned about practical applications.
elblanco
Great recommendation, I'm looking forward to reading it. Hopefully this will fill in some obvious gaps in understanding I have on the subject.
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