Down here at Tech·Ed this year they are having a Women In Technology lunch one day. I think the reason that they are doing this is because they want to celebrate and encourage the number of women in our field. To be honest, there are hardly any in comparison to the number of men — at least from what I’ve seen over the last few years.
Well, today I had an epiphany and realized exactly why the numbers are so skewed.
I was sitting in a classroom waiting for a session to start. I was in the same row as a young woman. While the place was beginning to fill up, there were open seats all around. In our row, everyone pretty much was following the “leave a seat between each of us” rule that is common for large gatherings of people that don’t know each other. Well, an older man, probably 60-ish, came and sat down in the chair right next to this woman. Then he proceeded to talk to her for the next ten minutes until the session started.
Now, I should make a few points here. I am 100% in favor of being friendly, and trying to meet new people. However, when it is obvious that the person you are talking to is just giving you the shortest possible answers to each of your questions, then it’s time to stop.
Anyway, it’s my opinion that experiences like this can only hinder the advancement of women in tech. The fewer women there are, the more likely each is to be the “target” of some extra-friendly (creepy) guy.
Just a thought…