Gendered approach: male dominance

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Introduction

With time, there has been rampant and dramatic cultural change most of which is gendered change. Women have always been portrayed as a weaker sex that is why they are mostly tasked with light tasks that are mostly around the home.  There is a popular belief that minds involving tasks such as programming are not for women, with the suggestion that they should focus on lighter duties such as being office assistants, teachers and housewives. This belief started in ancient Europe where the gender of a child mattered a lot, and whenever a child was born, the first question was whether it was a boy or a girl. This gender distinction was done to determine how the child should be treated and the level of happiness it will bring to the family. In this perspective, children’s names were determined according to gender although some names have shifted across gender in contemporary society. There are also different kinds of clothing and colors associated with each gender, and it looks odd if these clothing rules are disobeyed. With the distinction between male and female, a child of either gender will grow up with a gendered mentality and will naturally adopt the popular belief associated with their gender. This gendered approach is widely used in the programming world whereby women programmers are largely distanced and downplayed in the world of computing because they are not smart enough. This paper aims at evaluating the gendered approach in the computing and programming world and the reasons behind this approach.

Need to Retain the Status Quo

The status quo, since the olden times, always put women below men. Women were always seen as lesser human beings, and every action they did was second-guessed. In ancient times the place of a woman in the society was mostly determined by the men, and they were required to be always submissive to the decisions made. The contemporary society is also struggling to retain this status quo whereby the men are trying hard to put the women down. On the other hand, the current breed of women is that of go-getters who fight to get what they want in life. In the computing world, there are very many women who are programmers and software designers, but they are always alienated from the general computing society since it is mostly dominated by males. Evidently, men do not like to be outsmarted by women and in case a woman appears to be too smart; then they will do all they can to drag them down to their feet. Women should however not rush back regarding revenge since most of the time it costs them their jobs. Instead, they should focus on becoming better and smarter employees or, seek greener pastures elsewhere (Ullman 736-743).

Male Ego

Men are known to have a certain level of ego especially when it comes to women. Very few men will allow women to push them around even in the contemporary world. Most men will quit their jobs if they have female bosses who apparently push them around, which are solely based on male ego. Male bosses will easily fire female employees who disrespect them and also those who try to outsmart them. To ensure that they succeed, women should try to respect men, especially if it is their bosses with the understanding that men tend to have a dominant attitude. Unfortunately, male ego will always exist, and for women to succeed, they need to focus on those paths where they can freely attain their full potential without drawbacks. There is no shame in being a smart woman and men should try and overcome their ego to ensure that such women achieve their dreams (Midgley 587-590).

Need for Continued Subjectivity

If women are allowed to have power and dominance in the programming world, they will finally become independent, and as a result, they will not be subjective both at their homes and also in their workplaces. Subjectivity is somehow associated with financial status, and if women are allowed to dominate, they will earn more and coincidentally, they will start bossing their fellow male employees around and also their husbands back at home. This is why they are kept in check to ensure that they don’t have financial independence thus depending on their husbands for financial support.

The Geek Mentality

Looking at the history of computing and programming, there is a geek culture that surrounds this field. Most programmers and computer scientists are known to be nerds who lack social skills, and most of them are chained to the keyboard the whole day, probably eating pizza. This means that most of them are obese and rarely interact with others. This somehow puts women off from this field since historically, women are known to be social beings, and they can hardly live this nerd life. In the contemporary world, geek culture is also not presented in a cool way, an example being Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft. Despite being the founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world, most people still do not envy his geek lifestyle. This geek way of living is one of the main reasons that put women away from the computing world, and this is why the industry is mostly male dominated (Ullman 736-743).

View of Computing as a Man’s World

According to research, the original computers were designed with men in mind. Some of the gaming computers feature a game design that is largely dominated by men including the players themselves. Despite the fact that the first gaming computers were designed almost 30 years ago, they still affect and influence the computing world to date. Women are underrepresented in computer games and in the instances that they feature where they are represented as sex symbols. Even though things are slowly improving, it is still hard for school girls to view computer science as a viable and interesting career choice. There are, however, some initiatives such as code first: Girls and Girls Who Code, which are aimed at changing this mentality. There have been many women programmers, the main ones being Ada Lovelace and Jean Bartik.  These women used to program at the time when switches, dials, and cables were used to physically rewire a machine. That being considered, they act as role models to the current generation of women since they proved that programming is not just for men (Eckert and Sally 1-3).

Science and Family Barriers

There are several barriers that put girls from venturing into male-dominated fields. One of these is socialization whereby young girls are taught to keep off the studies and jobs that are male dominated. Also, according to research, there is the unconscious discrimination at universities where professors rate scientific journals articles and resumes belonging to females on a lower average compared to males. Women also have to solely carry the responsibility of taking care of their families. In trying to fulfill family tasks, they often choose the stay-at-home-mom position with household responsibilities making it hard for them to meet employment standards. In other scenarios, women lose most of their learning and practicing time when they become mothers. Their duties are torn between taking care of their families and education or work. This way, they are unable to achieve their full potential especially in scientific fields such as programming which requires extensive practice.

Conclusion

In a nutshell, from the various readings that we have had, there is a rampant issue of male dominance mostly in the scientific field. This dominance started in ancient times and has surprisingly found its way to the contemporary world despite technological improvement and the extensive push for gender equality. This dominance starts right before the child’s birth whereby people start asking for the gender of the expected child with male children bringing extra happiness to the society. With this male dominance, women are often discouraged from venturing into certain fields with a popular belief that they belong to men. According to research, there are many underlying reasons promoting male dominance in the scientific and computing world including the need to retain the status quo whereby men make it unnecessarily hard for women to succeed in this field so that they remain dominant. Also, the male ego highly contributes to the gendered approach whereby men mistreat and even fire those women who try to outsmart them. Men do not appreciate being pushed around and hardly will they accept that a woman is smarter than them. Also, there is the need for continued subjectivity whereby women were supposed to be subjective to men since men were the main source of income and labor. To extend this notion, men in the contemporary world will use all means to ensure that women do not outsmart them hence attaining financial stability. Women, on the other hand, bar themselves from succeeding in the computing and programming world by incorporating the geek mentality whereby they view programmers as antisocial fat individuals who are not attractive to anyone. Finally, there are scientific and social barriers including socialization whereby young girls are told to keep off male studies and jobs, but rather focus on light female tasks.

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  1. Eckert, Penelope, and Sally McConnell-Ginet. Language and gender. Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  2. Midgley, Mary. “Trying out one’s new Sword.” Twenty questions (1981): 587-590.
  3. Ullman, Ellen. “How to Be a ‘Woman Programmer’.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 18 May 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
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