The sorry state of our industry

One of the few benefits of having a Facebook page is the ability to view the fan statistics (Facebook calls that Insights). I’ve just looked at the gender demographics of my fans and I was astounded; nothing has changed in the last 20 years. What are we doing wrong?



19 comments:

  1. That isn't true, I have been moving down your demographic list. The few, the proud, the 3%.

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  2. Yeah, you're right. BTW, I'll join you vey soon ;)

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  3. Yea, we definitely need more chicks.

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  4. Dmitri Kalintsev10 December, 2009 22:24

    Do you mean "why women never did and still don't like computer networking"? Um, maybe because they're much better at something called "real life"? ;)

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  5. Personally I've been getting more and more irritated every time I hear it suggested that women are somehow being oppressed in IT. The simple fact is that exceedingly technical disciplines such as IT simply don't appeal as much to women as they do to men. I'm not saying they can't be good at it, just that it doesn't interest them, and that's fine.

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  6. Ivan, enjoy your blog tremendously. You now have a 53 yr old grandmother of six who has been in networking for 20+ years as a Facebook fan. I love being an outlier!

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  7. Hi Katie! It's so nice to hear from you :) Thank you!

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  8. I never claimed that women are being oppressed in our industry, but it's really interesting how they tend to avoid networking. For example, approximately a third of the Computer Science students in Ljubljana are girls, but they tend to focus on other IT areas.

    As for "that's fine", I disagree. Working in a heterogenous environment is always beneficial; you get diverse ideas and perspectives, which can only help you in the long run.

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  9. You can get 'diverse ideas and perspectives' from lots of people, irrespective of age, social status, income, gender, et. al.

    To equate 'diverse ideas and perspectives' solely with differences in gender is insulting to all human beings, IMHO.

    Perhaps you could benefit from a more active social life, instead.

    ;>

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  10. Never meant to be insulting to anyone. I apologize if that's the case :(

    Can I rephrase to "we're missing one dimension of diversity"?

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  11. The interesting thing is that women are otherwise usually very interested in building, maintaining and taking care of (social) networks in real life ;)

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  12. Interestingly. the male/female rate has almost nothing to do with age

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  13. I'm pretty sure that chart is giving us the finger.

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  14. I wouldn't read too much into the ages represented in those statistics. When you look at the number of people that are active Facebook users *and* have been working in the industry long enough to be interested in professional-level networking topics, I think the graph looks about right. I would guess that there aren't many 18-24 year olds (Facebook's main demographic) that are networking professionals, and there probably aren't many 35+ year old networking professionals that are active Facebook users.

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  15. @Peter Walz - I suspect that is infact the case.

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  16. I work at an ISP. If you don't count the call centre staff, then our staff demographic is very-much like that. I don't mind, but it makes for a shitty Christmas party (sausage fest).

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  17. If you're actually interested in what is wrong with the demographics, you might review the comments on this post. The third comment says we need more chicks. It's not really a great way to invite women to participate.

    I personally have to adopt a very caviler attitude about how I get treated just to do my job. I'm not trying to say that I'm unhappy. Most days the guys respect me and everything is awesome but it can certainly be difficult to feel like you have to prove your worthiness every day above and beyond what the guys around you do. And if you don't succeed you're branded some sort of token demographic. It's engendered in the way that men treat women in the networking fields. Most of the guys I work with are awesome but there is a great deal of pressure to act and behave like one of the boys while at work. I've tried being myself and it's a very lonely world.

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  18. Thanks for the comment. Unfortunately every environment has its own share of "socially challenged" individuals.

    I have a pretty good idea how you feel. For a (relatively) small Slovenian company (typical question: where's that? Are you part of Soviet Union?) operating worldwide, every project is an uphill struggle where you have to prove you're better than any alternative (otherwise the customer thinks there's no reason to work with you). I've been working in this environment for over 15 years. It's challenging, but it also keeps you alert ;)

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  19. I work for a large Canadian telco in their engineering/networking/service development/CTO group. From my experience, women a well represented in the roles that deal with human to human interaction, so there are an even number of women as men in the project management field. Its true there are not a lot of women in the "down and dirty" mechanic jobs of working with hardware or programming. Its probably a uninteresting to them, since it involves being like a medieval monk working alone and with the equipment.

    Our management forces (not tyranny) us to take "networking" workshops to learn how to strike up conversations and to expand our social networks.

    I think as technicians we prefer to deal with logic than with other people, much to our detriment sometimes. So I think women don't want to end up like us.

    I think the women make a rational choice, they don't find the work interesting or beneficial so they look else where.

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Ivan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354, is the chief technology advisor for NIL Data Communications. He has been designing and implementing large-scale data communications networks as well as teaching and writing books about advanced technologies since 1990. See his full profile, contact him or follow @ioshints on Twitter.