I’m a Woman, Actually

80 comments

I’ve thought about writing this entry several times over the past few years. Each time, I decided against it because I’m aware that there are plenty of women out there who have it far worse than I do. Women who have to work for minimum wage to support their kids. Women who have to deal with sexist comments or sexual harassment in the workplace. For the most part, though, I don’t have the deal with these problems.

However, I do have to deal with being a woman in a male-oriented vocation. I have to deal with insinuations and presumptions. I have to deal with the idea that I couldn’t possibly be a successful woman in IT because only men code, and only men play with computers. And it pretty much sucks most of the time.

It started when I was in college. Second year of my course I was the only girl in my class, putting up with sexism from both fellow students and the staff. I had to listen the female lecturers put themselves down in front of students because “teehee, [they’re] just a girl”.

When I got my first proper job as an IT technician for a local school, I was put down in front of colleagues and students on my first day. A male teacher, clearly feeling oh so superior despite being in such a position that he needed to ask for help, told me that he didn’t want my help, and that he wanted the help of a real technician (indicating to my male colleague).

When I ranted about the Macbook Air shortly after its release, Slate quoted me, attributing my words to “Jim Jabella, a British techie“. Jim. A male name.

And of course, yesterday’s hastily posted rant, which received feedback and criticism from Hacker News, reddit, and stumbleupon. Again, however, my opinions much attributed to “him” and “his”.

These examples are just the cream of the crop. I could mention the subtle digs I get on a regular basis; the stereotypical bullshit you read on the likes of digg and reddit from men who’ve act like they’ve only just reached puberty; the inane articles like “What Women Want”, “How to Please Your Woman” etc, but why bother? One stupid remark is one too many.

I have breasts. I have long hair, and big fluttery eyelashes. I have a pair of boots with heels, and I buy cute bags. I bleed from my fucking vagina for a week out every month. I am a woman. It just so happens that I’m a woman who can code, who writes PHP scripts, who likes to dabble with CSS and HTML. I’m a woman that pokes old hardware, who games on the weekend and has an opinion about almost everything. If you cannot bring yourself to double check before making assumptions about my gender; if you cannot respect the fact that it’s not just men in IT, don’t be surprised the next time I tell you to stick your “his” or “him” up your arse.

Jem Turner jem@jemjabella.co.uk +44(0)7521056376

80 comments so far

  1. Nat Marie said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    *standing ovation*

    Seriously, those men who think that women shouldn’t be in IT are probably the same ones who think that we should be barefoot and knocked up with our 6th kid. FUCK YOU! Some women can code better than some men in the same profession, so…neener!

  2. Diana said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    YOU TELL ‘EM. Keep on keeping on~

  3. Kristina said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    I could not agree more (:

    *wins award for detailed comment*

  4. Emsz said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I think sexism is such an idiotic thing. I deal with it every single day, unfortunately, my dad is sort of in to sexist jokes, and although I can understand that they’re just jokes when he tells them, (He is a stay at home dad, for crying out loud) my brother is taking over what he thinks is my dad’s POV (when I know it isn’t.).
    This unfortunately means that my little brother is making stupid, annoying, sexist and worst of all, IGNORANT remarks about women’s voting rights, how women are stupid, and how women are only allowed to do cooking. He also keeps saying that my sister and are stupid, when it was he who was held back a year.

    I understand that it’s not nearly as annoying as being called a guy, which I don’t understand either, Jemma is a pretty feminine name, it’s still something that really annoys me to no end.

    I’m pretty big on feminism, I think that everybody should get equal chances, for everything. Unfortunately things like this are still very much here in our society these days. It’s something that I will most likely never learn to live with, and I will fight it as much as I possibly can.

  5. Amelie said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    *Clap clap clap*

  6. Aaron said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    This amazes me. IT has always been a male dominated profession, as you pointed out, but I never thought it was so bad that female lecturers were putting themselves down because of their sex. Or that a male teacher would refuse help from a woman just because she is a woman. That’s just stupid.

    And that’s why things like this anger me: it’s stupid! It doesn’t make sense. But still, it happens. What’s worse is that some women just take the oppression.

    You shouldn’t have to post something like this, really. People should know all of this by now.

    Emsz basically summed up the rest of my thoughts in the final paragraph of her comment.

  7. Hanna said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:25 pm

    Go girl!

    :)

  8. Hayley said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Here, here. (Hear, hear?)

    But if you were a man talking about the lack of equality for women in IT, I’d get annoyed. I think it’s the ‘we can fight our own corner thankyouverymuch’ thing.

  9. Vixx said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    Happens to me all the time when it comes to gaming. I play console games, I run a fairly success survival horror forum/site, therefore I must a dude.

    It’s different for me because it’s not a vocation, but I essentially let ’em run with it. It’s more embarrassing for them when they find out I’m female. Plus I’m blonde, totally gorgeous and have a great rack so essentially I am a guy gamer’s wet dream. :P

    V xx

  10. Han said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I love pretending to be all weak and feeble and bide my time before I turn around and pwn their sexist asses! Greatly Satisfying I must say, cos then they look stupid! mwahahah

  11. Nellie said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Jem, there are no females on the internet! So, even if females work in IT in real life, they don’t use the internet. No siree!

  12. Karl said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    You know my take on it. We need MORE women in IT. The fact that in my first job I worked alongside a female Systems Analyst who could run rings round more operating systems and hardware than I knew existed before that point only reinforced that opinion.

    She used to get it as well…we turned up to a job, and the guy started talking to ME (17), referring to Elaine as "My Assistant" (29ish IIRC). The look on his face when she corrected him was stunning.

  13. DJ said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    It happens to me online also. I run a successful site in a supposedly male dominated fandom. Right on my frontpage with my contact info I put "webgirl" before my email just to clear up the confusion, and I still get a lot of people who assume I’m a guy.

  14. Clem said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    I know exactly what you mean. There’s a lot of sexism surrounding computers/technology. At school, it’s fine to be a geeky guy who can code, but as soon as people found out that I don’t use Dreamweaver and I do it by hand, they thought it was uncool. It’s such a double standard.

  15. Courtney said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Amen, honey. I think it’s awesome that you’re a female IT superstar. I envy you – I’d love to have the know-how that you do!

  16. Chris Ritke said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:01 pm

    wooohooo and go go go girl!!!!!

  17. Anita said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    The first time I visited your site, I honestly thought you might have been male, because most women I know are very faint-hearted and… Frilly? Whatever. You kinda stood out as a person who doesn’t take crap…so I automatically assumed you might have been a man XD

  18. Cecelia said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I can’t say anything but: WORD. It’s so true it’s actually sickening. And it’s not just in IT. Everywhere, everyday women are apologizing for being who they are if they are not as most men want them to be.. Ew.

  19. Kachii said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    Thank-you. I get the same treatment in a lot of the places I end up. When I worked as an IT technician I was picked on a lot, as though I couldn’t possibly do things right, and almost every workplace I’ve been in I was the only female bar the secretary. When I was in college I was one of two girls in the class. Not to mention when I went to work in the IT department for two weeks I was the only girl and was only allowed to watch things being done by the ex-students as I was clearly not competent enough to actually do them myself. Once, though, we set up a LAN in the classroom and the boys started playing FPS. After some begging I was allowed to join in and I fucking whipped all their asses. ;)

    But you know, you’d be surprised. Taking computer science at university has opened my eyes a bit – there’s almost a 50:50 male:female split! There are women programmers and computer geeks out there, and we’re far larger in number than guys like to admit. We will be taking over the world soon enough.

    Oh, and a little bit of history for you: in the original days of computing where everything was done in a big room – the women were the ones doing the vast majority of computer work ’cause all the boys were in the army. It wasn’t until later that it got flipped around again – probably due to the fact that, as a general rule, men are more logically brained than women (though there are some exceptions as we can clearly demonstrate).

    Google acknowledge the need for more females in the computing industry as they are always on the look out for female computer science graduates. :)

  20. Kachii said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Oh; but when I got into the computing industry I accepted my fate as a minority, but that’s what makes me so proud to have been successful so far.

  21. Aisling said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:31 pm

    It is highly unfair to think of all people interested in computers as male. Just off the top of my head, I can think of more girls I know who code, than guys. Out of my entire family, which consists of my two parents, their collective 16-ish siblings (I lose count), my 25-ish cousins (again with the counting. I should make a chart, really), my brother and my grandma there is ONE person everyone runs to for their computer issues, and that’s me. And I, too, have a vagina. Also, I don’t mean to brag, but I am SUPER smart. I can learn how to do anything after one or two tries. I speak English and French fluently. I can do "girly" things like bake bread without thinking, I LOVE the colour pink, and I can stand en pointe and do an arabesque. At the same time, I’ve worked as a construction worker, I’m not afraid to get dirty, and I can kick most people under 5ft11 in the head. Rawr.

    If I were to compare myself to my male friends, I am definitely more well-rounded and definitely a lot tougher. I don’t understand why men have this perception of women being these frilly little things. Not only can I do anything they can do (except produce sperm, essentially), but I can do it backwards, in heels. I’m more protective of my loved ones than any man I’ve ever met. I’ll fight dirty to help them, if I have to.

    I’m not saying "DOWN WITH MEN~" by any means, but the thing is that women just have so many different facets. Men do too, but certainly not to the same extent. It’s just the way it is.

  22. Jessica said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    So really true. I agree with your entire post and the last paragraph made me thinking ‘that so fits me’. ;)

  23. Katy said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    you have boots with heels?! really? haha

  24. Jem said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm

    Well, strictly speaking I gave them to my sister a couple of weeks ago after having worn them once in 8 years, but the point remains. ;)

  25. Ann said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Maybe it’s just the "Snark circle", but I was always under the impression that coding etc. was more of a girl’s thing… I knew I was in a bit of a bubble, but it hasn’t stopped me always assuming that the owner of a website is female.
    Yet I suppose when the thing is actually your job being a guy is expected… although going to a very "independent", dare I say it, feminist school keeps me in a different bubble – my female head of IT is awesome, and doesn’t seem to be discriminated against in any way.
    I must admit, this post kind of makes me want to get out there and kick the guy’s butts.

  26. Vera said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:48 pm

    You should totally move here. We are in need of PHP developers anyway, and there are more women in our company than men.

    Well OK, so in my previous team there were 3 women and almost 20 men… which made conversations more than a bit awkward. Especially when till I learned that I should just shut up, since I’m a girl.

  27. wonkotsane said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    Calm down Jon!

    We have loads of women working at our place.

  28. Katie said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:49 pm

    I feel your pain. This happens to me on a smaller level too. Oh man, I remember the first time I got a call and right after I said "Thanks for calling blah blah, my name is Katie" (which were the first words out of my mouth) the customer said "I need to talk to someone more qualified, I have a *REAL* problem" and hung up on me.. I was PISSED.

    But yeah, I get people at work that talk down to me, like I can’t possibly know how to use a computer, and so on. I like to remind them that they’re the one calling for help :D

  29. Katy said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 8:59 pm

    oh, and the obvious solution – turn your blog pink :P

  30. Lemm said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    Good to know I’m not alone in feeling like this…!
    I find it hard to believe, but some people assume I’m a guy on-line. Sometimes I wonder if they get a bit freaked out when they find it’s not the case!
    I’ve been harassed a few times too by perverts who found out. It’s not nice. And people have written nasty things about me simply for being female – e.g. she’s a girl who runs a website, so she must be ugly or fat, or socially inept in some way.

    Anyway, Thanks for posting this.

  31. Scott said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    That is ridiculous! Most male bloggers get called gay because they blog. I really don’t understand any of the shit people come up with.

  32. Anthony said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    To be honest most of the girls I know who code are way better than any of the guys I know that do.

    JEMjabella, obviously most guys can’t read and realize that it’s not JIMjabella.

    Where I’m from like the comment above if a guy works on the computer, or codes etc etc he’s considered "gay". Only girls do that stuff around here, I’m not sure who made the rule that only one gender is allowed to do a certain thing when it comes to the computer. Eh, it’s stupid you’re better than most of them anyways or at least in my book!

  33. Mimi said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    This was a most righteous post indeed. Although I could have gone without the mental image of the menstruation… muwhaha! That was particularly hilarious of you to include!

    I haven’t had to deal with it so much because I pretty much keep my coding activities (what little there is in my brain, I am nowhere NEAR you, I know!) to myself. The only time I had problems was in my C# class a few years ago. I ended up dropping out of it but while I was in there it was all males and they all had something to say.

    Well at least you know you have the MAJOR support of all your female readers and we know you are a female! You know what else is stupid though? Since you don’t have any photos available, it’s a lot easier for them to assume you are a male. However, if you did have photos up they would probably try and knock you down for being "slutty" or something, you know? Just because you have some photos up they would say you were using your boobs to get notice. Well, I would assume that anyway. This world is so full of ignorance.

    Anyway, keep standing up for yourself! You are the most assertive female I know that can still use emotes in an e-mail or laugh at silly posts on the BBS. I absolutely adore ya! :D

  34. Larissa said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I agree whole-heartedly with everything you covered in your blog.

    In my ICT class the girls and boys sit on opposites sides from each other! Crazy-ness…

    When I first came to your website, I thought you was a girl straight away because I assumed Jem was short for Jemma. Also, I hadn’t seen the many male web-developers at the time.

    xx <3

  35. izze said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    @Anthony: "Where I’m from like the comment above if a guy works on the computer, or codes etc etc he’s considered "gay". Only girls do that stuff around here"

    What crazy land is that? Obviously some kind of outlier, as seen from the rest of the comments and the computer world in general. Computer guys are typically portrayed as physical weaklings perhaps, but ‘nerd’ doesn’t translate to ‘gay’ anywhere I’ve seen. Nor have I ever heard of a place where coding is a stereotypically female profession/hobby. Much the opposite, however undeservedly.

  36. Noellium said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    I guess I should consider myself lucky. I’ve only taken one CS class (more like a beginning web development class) and since I knew most of what was being taught there*, a few of my classmates (mostly guys) often found themselves asking me for help. The teacher (also male) said I was very good.

    *I just needed the credits in order to be a fulltime student.

    But if someone were to not take me seriously as a coder, I would think it was because of my art background (designers normally are said to not be great coders and vice-versa).

    Sucks that there’s so much discrimination going on against females in the tech world though. It sounds so frustrating that people can’t seem to get your gender (or name) right.

  37. Sarah said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    Awesome entry! I love how blunt you are in this because it is so annoying when certain things are only attributed to men or even women for that matter. I don’t see how coding is a masculine activity at all, and there is no reason why any woman should have to put up with being humiliated and undermined for finding an interest in coding. It’s absurd!

  38. Peter said:
    On February 4, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I don’t think I needed that last proving point that you are a women. :P

    I agree. Women are just as capable of gaming/coding/etc. as men. Of course I may be bias since you were the first PHP coder I knew :) .

  39. Amanda said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 12:11 am

    I distinctly remember feeling a penis in the region of your groin when I hugged you. Actual, or e-wank? :P

  40. Manda said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Fantastic post.

    I think everyone I’ve ever encountered in an iT position in real life (mainly at school/work) has been male, but about 98% of the people I encounter online that are knowledgeable (and by knowledgeable I don’t mean knowing how to use PHP includes) about coding and stuff online are female.

  41. Stephanie said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 1:06 am

    After this post, I’m totally unsurprised you’re a Spice Girls fan.

    <3

  42. Olivia said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Wait… You’re a girl?! zOMG!

  43. Wendy said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 1:41 am

    I know how that sort of feels like. I was in the CS field a few years back and I remember how girls were the minority in the classes which I have to take. And yes, I have had friends who straight away labeled me as hopeless just because I am a girl in a male-dominated field. It does get to my self-esteem.

    Funny thing is now that I am doing my post-graduate in education, the situation reverses itself and I found myself in classes with 20 girls and just 2 boys. Heh.

  44. Hannah said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 2:17 am

    GO JEM! Although I’ve not experienced yet, I have a feeling I’ll go through some of this crap since I’m going into IT as well. *sigh*

  45. Hev said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 2:17 am

    *standing ovation with cheers*

    This needed to be stated, Jem. You were the perfect one to say it.

    Well, I never ever thought you were a male, Jem. If I did we wouldn’t get along, lol. For some reason, I don’t get along with strong willed men. But strong willed women I can get along with even though I am strong willed also.

  46. AlisonW said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 2:28 am

    I was first taught programming by a woman. I went to college to study Computing Science and about 1/4 of the year were female. Some of the tutors were women too and – initially – while there were few women in the industry (late 70s – mid 80s) we were for the most part treated like the skilled people we were just like out male colleagues.

    Since then it has become stupidly, crassly, sexist.

    Don’t forget that the first ‘programmer’ was Ada Lovelace, woman. The person who coined the term ‘bug’ was Grace Hopper, woman. That the first programmable computer in the world, Colossus (at Blechley Park) was programmed mainly by women.

    We’re here. We’ve always been here. And the men should damn well stop bleating about it.

  47. Christine said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 3:13 am

    ./cheers
    Here here! Very well said!!

    I can relate to your frustrations for sure. I remember when I was in the thick of my WoW raiding career, I was in one of the top guilds world wide and I was a hardcore raider, 4 nights a week, sometimes more. And I worked hard, as it really is a male dominated hobby/society. People were always surprised to find out I was a girl. Like a female player can’t possibly play well enough. And once they found out? Oh god.. the wow boys who would flirt w/ you, and then hate on you, and on and on. It’s ridiculous really.

  48. Mike said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 4:51 am

    I think instead of a standing ovation you should receive a standing ovulation.

  49. Regine said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 9:24 am

    Well, we might be spoiled in Norway, cause even though the number of males on IT is higher than females, females work within careers that in other countries are deemed "strictly male", like any sort of engineering, building/construction, IT, oil and platforms, airplanes, chemistry, energy, and so on.

    I come from a rather sexist, macho society (I hated it) and I was stupidly amazed when I moved to Norway, that women actually bothered to study thing like how to build a bridge over a city, or a tunnel, or sewage design, etc.

    Maybe you should move here? IT is by far the most balanced engineering career when it comes about genders.

  50. Anna Wood said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Well said Jem couldn’t agree more

  51. April said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 11:00 am

    So, I’m doing an IT class at school and at the beginning, there were 5 other girls and now there’s only me with 20 other boys and, I think its safe to say that; out of all the boys (the general class) I am THE only with with the slightest idea of what the hell the lecturer is talking about. My lecturer is female and I say lecturer because its a university class. And she’s darn good at IT.
    However, the boys still make comments like, "Pfft, we get it but we’re just too advanced to do it. You’re just a girl that can only get the basics." And crap like that.

    So, on a much smaller scale – we’re in the same boat! :P

  52. Skye said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 11:42 am

    When I took a class on coding in C at the university, the professor was just like that. He said on the first day that female students in the past always relied on their boyfriends to code their homework for them. Yet, when we went around the room to introduce ourselves, I was the only one in there with any experience coding and the only one taking the class for fun (interest). For the others, it was just a required class for their majors.

  53. Cole said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 11:57 am

    I definitely think you have a point – especially when it comes to classes and working.

    However, if you’re only talking about credit on, say, Digg I’m not sure if it’s as much sexism as it is the fact that your site doesn’t really suggest "I’m a girl." In fact, even your bio page talks about your "partner" (and this may be only because I am American) and this is not a term male-female couples typically use.

    Of course, I know you’re a female because I’ve read your blog on and off for some time.

  54. Jem said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    If you think this entry is bugger all to do with digg, you didn’t read it properly.

  55. Tanya said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I feel your frustration, thank you for such a great post. When I used to work in a video game store customers would often ignore me and look right through me, even when being advised by my male co-workers that I could better advise them on something. Sometimes, customers would be very rude and ask what was wrong with me (funnily enough, the worst offenders were women, usually Mum’s looking for advise on games for their sons/ husbands).

    I had hoped that times had changed, but was very disappointing when I went into a (different) game store last year to purchase a 360 the cashier kept addressing my husband; even though my husband pointed out three times that I was buying the console for myself. :(

  56. Rachaely said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    You have lovely boobs.

    I think people are more surprised when the ‘hxc’ techies like yourself turn out to be female. There’s much more acceptance about the ‘softcore’ techies such as myself being girls. I can do HTML and CSS. I’m not a complete newbie when it comes to PHP, but… I’m not really much of a gamer, and I’m completely useless when my hardware goes wrong.

  57. Aisling said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    "In fact, even your bio page talks about your "partner" (and this may be only because I am American) and this is not a term male-female couples typically use."

    Oh noes, Jem! You’d better start referring to Karl as your ~*~boyfwend!~*~

  58. Stephanie said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    @Cole: Dude, I’m definitely American. There are plenty of people here who have long-standing relationships but choose to not get married call their significant other their partner.

  59. Michelle said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 7:04 pm

    I get what you mean… In high school, the coach for the football team put out an ad for a webdesigner to do their website for them, so I applied for it. He didn’t like the fact that I was a girl, so he hired someone else. That someone else used some kind of pagebuilding program and the site had neon green text. I told him off when he offered the job to be after the first guy tanked their site.

    Such a great entry… Especially the last bit. :)

  60. Chelsea said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    A-effing-men! ;)

  61. Anthony said:
    On February 5, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    @izze That "crazy land" is called Kentucky where if you do anything other than hunt your considered feminine or gay. Believe me I’m pretty sure I know the stereotypes around where I live.

  62. Jordan said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 4:47 am

    @Anthony — I’ve lived in Kentucky for awhile and never once ran into the stereotype that you need to hunt in order to be a real man. Perhaps you live more in the woodsy towns, but from Louisville/Elizabethtown, I never came across locals that shared that attitude.

    I mean, hell, Louisville had one of the best cultures for anyone in their late teens/early twenties, and definitely spirit. But I obviously chose to place myself around people that were welcoming of everything. Those that didn’t do drugs/drink, gays, lesbians, single-moms, etc.

  63. Latrina said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    There’s sexism every where, I just never thought about sexism in the coding world. :| That’s ridiculous and the sad thing is that it’s never going to change.

    I thought your post was brilliant and hopefully it gets through to some of those male jackasses.

  64. Elea said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    How soon after this post do you think someone will mistake you for a guy again?

    On a more serious note, I think I’ve been pretty blessed to (mostly) grow up in Silicon Valley in the US. The male:female ratio in tech is still ridiculously disproportionate, but generally, people are much more accepting of the fact that women can code – and in many cases, out-code the men. I’m not sure though whether I’m perpetuating or offsetting stereotypes by specializing in front-end web work..

  65. izze said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 8:28 pm

    To be fair (and not commenting on existence/prevalence of sexism in technology professions and hobbies), "Jem", which was all the username was on Hacker News, can very well be a male name (in fact, doing some google searches, I find more male examples than female). Not to mention that on the internet, it’s generally difficult to detect gender from just a 3-letter username, especially one that does not end in "-a".

    If you had pointed out you were female in the discussion and then posters who had obviously seen your correction continued to call you by male pronouns, then you’d have a position there. But instead, posters were quite polite and were apologetic and I see no difference in tone or treatment after you corrected them. People disagreed with you all the same, gender aside.

    I think your inclusion of that post on hacker news as an example is unfounded and undermines genuine examples of discrimination.

  66. Jem said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    Yeah, ’cause Hacker News was all this entry was about.

    Seriously.

  67. izze said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 9:06 pm

    No, but that was all *my* reply was about. Something wrong with that?

    I simply said I didn’t think "the inclusion" of that was a good example. Just "Jem" to a random reader unfamiliar with your other work wouldn’t be enough to tip them off that you were female and the posters there were polite about the misunderstanding anyway. Not exactly an evident example of "male jackasses".

    I, for example, a random generic internet reader, didn’t realize you were female until you pointed it out. I simply didn’t care either way and my opinions didn’t change at all after the fact. I really don’t care what gender you or anyone else is on the internet, it doesn’t matter. What matters to me is the quality of the code, design, and text…

    I was specific in saying that I wasn’t commenting on the general ‘state-of-affairs’ regarding sexism in IT/programming/miscellaneous computer industries. Of course it exists and is wrong. I do my part.

  68. Jem said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    I didn’t say anything about "male jackasses" – you’ll get me in to trouble with my male readers suggesting otherwise. I made sure to include similar behaviour demonstrated by women, because it DOES happen. Sexism isn’t a male-specific thing.

  69. izze said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    @Jem: "I made sure to include similar behaviour demonstrated by women…Sexism isn’t a male-specific thing"

    Not that it matters one bit, but I don’t see anything like that included in the post. And that’s fine. Sexism is commonly thought of as a male-specific thing because it vastly is. Not 100%, but when is anything really 100%? "Reverse sexism" consists mostly of women treating all men as if they’re sexist, which is predicated on the assumption of sexism being male-specific.

  70. Jem said:
    On February 6, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I was referring to the part about the female lecturers deliberately putting themselves down and undermining themselves/the female students in front of male pupils. To me, that’s just as bad as out ‘n out sexism.

    Hm, maybe it seems more obvious to me because I wrote it. Oh well, can’t be arsed to re-write it now. :)

  71. Lauren said:
    On February 7, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Amen, honey! That irritates me so much when people make assumptions and stereotypes, and just display their ignorance. >:(
    And I can’t believe those female lecturers, who attributed themselves to being "just a girl." Don’t they realize that they’re only encouraging the prejudice? Urgh! >_<
    Well, you keep showing them! Show them that you’re proud to be a woman, and you are great a what you do, no matter what. ^_^

  72. Mari said:
    On February 7, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Thank you for writing this. Seriously. Someone had to, and you managed to do it so incredibly well.

    I love when people take a generally FEMALE name and just assume that the writer behind that name is male. It’s just so intelligent and well-thought-out. It’s why I stopped using my legal name in IM. I didn’t want to have to have a hot pink text background for people to stop shortening my name to the male form.

    I stopped using Digg because I was ready to start chopping heads off every time I saw another one of those "What Women Want" articles or some particularly ignorant user deriding a female user that bothered to voice her opinion.

    I’m really appalled to hear how customers treat female IT techs. I’m glad I decided against studying IT, because I would certainly get myself fired for my retorts if I had to deal with that.

    And you mean to tell me there are female lecturers who would VOLUNTARILY deride themselves and female students just for owning vaginas? That’s…despicable.

  73. Bridget said:
    On February 11, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    Sexism is alive and well, but they can all suck it. You should be proud of all of your accomplishments, and being a woman doesn’t make you any less of a person, or less superior to your male counterparts. Keep up the fantastic job!!

  74. Mike said:
    On February 12, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Just for balance…

    TITS OR GTFO

  75. Davetta said:
    On February 13, 2009 at 8:31 am

    *Pfft* If you think this kinda thing is bad in IT, you should try the music business. When I was a bit younger, I used to be in bands that were usually all-male except for me. You don’t know how many times people used to walk into a rehearsal and assume that I was a backup singer or some guy’s girlfriend, that is, until I picked up my guitar and proceeded to blow the frickin’ windows out. I would get so pissed that I would get right up in their faces and play LOUD, like "You hear that, sucka?. That’s a woman riffing in your face! LOL!".

    Then, they would fall in "love" with me, and start following me around with that goofy look on their faces every time I saw them. What is that all about??? Kind of a love/hate thing, isn’t it? I will NEVER understand the male psyche. LOL

  76. Hillary said:
    On April 27, 2009 at 1:53 am

    For goodness’ sakes! This is completely stupid and ridiculous. Sex should not be a basis of one’s talents. Jim Jabella, right.

  77. Rise said:
    On May 21, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I noticed that you are a woman when I first found this site…I guess "Jemjabella" sorta made that obvious…

    I hate when women say things like "I’m just a girl", or "Come on boys, help us girls out!". I won’t go on, because I know that you feel the same way as I on this.

    :)

  78. Ammi said:
    On January 4, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am the ONLY female programmer where I work, and the only one I would consider a fellow programmer that I know. It’s just nice to know there are other girls (with pointy heeled boots, fluffy eyelashes, long hair, etc) who are programming out there….