Andrey (azangru) wrote,

A three-and-a-half-minute BBC video Where did all the women in tech go?

Now, I understand that it may be hard, perhaps impossible, to give a decent overview of the topic in three and a half minutes. What I do not understand is why then impose on oneself such a severe limitation.

The video starts with stating the often-remembered fact: computer programming used to be a predominantly female profession. Then, in the 1960-s it all changed. How did it change? This, after all, is the title of the video. But the time allotted to discussing this question is only about 10 seconds. Women, the presenter says, started to be replaced by men, and not just by men, but management-level technocrats. Does the word "technocrat" have a negative ring to you? It does for me; perhaps because I heard it mostly in negative contexts. The presenter goes on: "the gender of the field flipped, because women were pushed out, not because they didn’t have the tech skills". That’s it. That’s literally all on the subject of where did all the women go. There is no further explanation of why they were pushed out or what happened in the 60s that led to pushing them out ("management-level technocrats" were uncomfortable working with women? who was in the management level before?).

There follows then a rather interesting argument of how women’s leaving the profession led to a shortage of programmers, which in turn was attempted to be solved in Britain by centralization of computing in the form of mainframes, which turned out to be the wrong way to go and, as the presenter says, destroyed the British computer industry. However the presenter continues: "today we see similar things going on. Discrimination continues to wreck high-tech economies". Huh? Are we seeing or have we in the recent past seen a high-tech economy wrecked because of discrimination (or gender imbalance if I understand her correctly)?

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