Gender, Computing and Culture

This annoyed  me today in Tesco.

 In case you don’t quite see it, Wired is placed in the “Men and Bikes” section of the magazines, in between Viz and Loaded.  Presumably this kind of thing has been annoying female bikers and readers of smutty humour for years but I’m less concerned about them.

Wired magazine in Tesco

Computing is a serious academic discipline.  The wider IT industry employs thousands of people in the UK and contributes billions to the economy. We have a serious lack of young women taking Computing as a subject in school and university.

There are lots of magazines aimed at computing enthusiasts out there.  I read Wired – I subscribe – as it goes beyond the “how to” and product reviews and looks a little wider at issues to do with computing and technology more generally.  I bring old issues into school for students to look at but I’d be horrified to recommend this to ANY student locally.  Can you imagine, suggesting a teenager (of either gender) going into their local supermarket to buy a magazine their teacher had recommended and being faced with THIS?!

Seemingly minor things like this are the reasons why girls aren’t going into Computing in any numbers.  There’s no one big issue.  To borrow a phrase I’ve used before and paraphrase it badly, it’s the aggregation of marginal losses.

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One thought on “Gender, Computing and Culture

  1. By large you can tell the demographic of a local area by reviewing the magazines on sale. No longer does my local Tesco’s sell .net, Web Designer, Computer Arts or Communication Arts.

    Apparently more people want to read those glam mags and smutty comics that actually do something productive with their reading time.

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