Where are all the men?

Considering the male to female ratio in computer science, asking for more men is generally not something I have to do much. There is one area that men seem to be lacking in though.

I decided to attend Celebrating Women in Computing So Cal Conference literally the day before the conference last weekend and I’m happy to say that it was a great experience. This is my first time attending one of these types of conferences and I regret never going before now.

There’s plenty of experiences that I could touch on from the conference itself, but I wanted to discuss a point that got me thinking that was brought up during dinner the first evening. We had been praising one of the guys for being one of the few males that attended the event and I began to question, why don’t more men attend these types of events? Most of the speakers, events and workshops had very interesting topics that would have attracted both men and women. Not only that, but the conference is called Celebrating Women in Computing. It shouldn’t be just women who celebrate the fact that they’re in computing. Men should also be a part of the process.

A few of the speakers urged for women to not only encourage other women to get involved in computing, but also to make sure that men understand the importance of getting the word out also. If only women are actively trying to recruit other women, it’s going to be exhausting. There’s not too many of us; let’s delegate some of the work.

As the President of the ACM student chapter at UCSD (The Computer Science and Engineering Society), I have the ability to speak to some of the guys in our department at our meetings. However, when I explained the benefits of outreach and urged them to volunteer and get involved, there wasn’t very much of a response. When we opened up our position for an outreach officer position, I received several inquiries and applications. Guess what? ALL of them were from women. Not even one guy was even remotely interested in getting involved in that aspect. I think this type of thinking needs to change if we want to significantly see a difference in the ratios of men and women in computing.

To all you men out there, help us.

Share your passion for computer science and engineering and help us outreach to the younger generations. Together we can change how computing is perceived and make the world take notice. Celebrate women in computing and we can celebrate together.

Cross posted at the WIC UCSD CWIC blog.

2 thoughts on “Where are all the men?”

  1. Kristina:

    Overall good points.

    Although..most men won’t acknowledge this – the truth is, by being too involved with organizations like WIC (or any other derivative thereof) our ego’s are at risk. Why? because we like to feel superior. It’s just apart of our genetic makeup. There is some evolutionary psychology at play here, but I’ll leave that for the experts.

    Do I like it? Not really – it’s just the overall vibe I get when I am at a WIC sponsored event and/or meeting. Not to mention, having a minority of men in any event will cause the number to further wither. I personally love WIC – but I am also aware of the overall insecurities that us men carry around. Rest assured though, You guys (Marjori/Chelsea/Meera/Mishika/Arshi/Sarah/Kylie) are going in the right direction and given the relative recent inception of WIC, it will undoubtedly take a bit of time to gain traction. 🙂 As for the name “Celebrating Women in Computing”:

    You say: “..It shouldn’t be just women who celebrate the fact that they’re in computing. Men should also be a part of the process..”

    I agree – yet the title of the conference does not really reflect that. I am not saying ‘change the title’ – but to ignore it’s ability to intimidate us little boys is a bit feckless.

    Though, when it’s said and done – I can’t really blame anyone else as it is my fault as well. Clearly I am contributing to this problem.


Leave a Reply