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What I like about companies who recruit and advertise using sexism: it lets me know where my friends and I don't want to work. Here's my op-ed.
Gina Trapani says the technology companies that promote a culture of frat house fun will lose out in attracting the smartest people.
Dylan Lawrence's profile photoNathan Hart's profile photoRugger Ducky's profile photoAlex Autrey's profile photo
It's certainly been an effective filter for me.
First stop putting programmers into large open office spaces - small 4-6 man teams in smaller offices will put a damper on the Brogramming mentality and excess of Nerf wars, and let the teams work better in a less stressfull environment - and focus more.

(I hate big open office spaces with a passion!!)
Hmm, I don't necessarily agree Peter. Small 4-6 man teams almost always wind up being 4-6 MAN teams, and women aren't welcome or included.

I also disagree with "excess of Nerf wars", as that's HOW we make it a less stressful environment.
+Rugger Ducky I sit in a three man office. One man two women. A designer, a project manager and then me as the Plone/Python developer - works great.
Philosophically, I like the idea of the large open workspaces. It enforces a team mindset. Personally, I get really twitchy and a little paranoid in groups of more than - oh, two or so. It has not made my life easier. It would also make the open workspace thing extremely uncomfortable.
It's the 21's Century why do we even need to go into an office?
You know that brogramming is a "joke" like LOLCODE compared to the average big Wall street or City firm Brogrammers are princes.

Ever seen a woman telephone enginner/lineman? rarer than rocking horse do do.
Ignoring for a second how such a culture is offensive because it's sexist, I can't fathom why any man would want to be immersed in this kind of juvenile work environment. If there's a time and a place for this sort of behavior — and I'm not sure that there is — it's in college fraternities. Get it out of your system before you join the world of adults.
Well done, I think this is a great read for all people.
Isn't the argument for gay marriage "It doesn't effect you, so why are you worried about it?"

I don't want to marry a dude, and I don't want to work with "brogrammers". However, I am perfectly willing to completely ignore anyone who wants to do either of those things.
A friend and I were discussing the term "brogrammer" the other day actually.

To us a brogrammer is a brony programmer, or in other words, a male programmer that watches My Little Ponies - Friendship is Magic.

Nothing to do with popped collars.
The other side of this coin, though, is how many men do you see working in Victoria's Secret? None. How many are Avon reps? Very few, even though they can be some great salesman. Yet, Avon really pushes the "We want women to sell our stuff". I see that in a lot of places. Of course, I've always worked around woman programmers, so I don't know how bad it can get. But, once you get out of high school or college, you want to work with professionals, really. Regardless of sex. An all male group playing grab ass aren't professionals. Neither is an all woman gossip group (which are out there a LOT, BTW). I play around at the office, but I don't care who gets caught in the crossfire: man or woman (or the occasional printer).
Yeah Dustin, because there is oh so much money and job stability in selling Avon. What is your argument supposed to be?
Wow reading comments on CNNs page and even some comments here like +Dustin Harper must mean this article really hit a nerve. Comments like these just reinforce that there is sexism all around. They just don't want girls "playing in their sandbox ". Great article, Gina it has definitely caught the attention of those you speak of.
+Rugger Ducky - my point was that it isn't only men that create these sexist workplaces and recruit for a certain demographic. It didn't hit a nerve at all, I agree with +Gina Trapani , obviously, as I don't think it should have a place in a professional environment. I don't see where you would think otherwise. That "bromance" stuff should stay in high school or college where it belongs. But, like I said: it isn't only a men-only thing. I work with a lot of talented women, and they do an excellent job. I think that some are confused when they are confronted that it happens both ways, like +Julie Schippnick thinks. Using an all male (or female) workgroup is limiting your thinking to a very narrow field of view and talent. Some of the best physicists were women, and in their time they weren't allowed to publish work and had to have a male co-worker publish the work and receive the Nobel Prize. Now, they can get the prize, but there are some teams out there that don't want the talent because it doesn't fit into their "bromance" team lifestyle. No more Maxim magazines, dumb women jokes, har har har.... There is a time to grow up, and it's usually when you go to work. <--- That ISN'T DISAGREEING WITH +Gina Trapani for those that assume that (I don't know how you would, really?!).
Awesome. This "Brogrammer" thing really irritates me. Programming is about Programming. Full stop.
"But the rise of the brogrammer joke and its ensuing backlash has some benefits: It helps talented women choose worthy employers...". It also helps talented men choose worthy employers. If only women take offence and refuse to work for these companies the culture will continue, we need all people to take offence ans refuse to work for these companies.
Any kind of politically correct culture is usually damaging to a company and the quality of life there. Frat-house boorishness is one type. Extreme sensitivity that has people worrying about obscure pejorative interpretations of anything they say - that's another. Distracting, draining repression and intimidation are the problems.

If people can assume mutual respect there's room for a lot of odd behavior, which in turn attracts new ideas and the best from diverse backgrounds. Then nobody cares about the superficial crap.
And I wouldn't work anywhere with your dog or other pets walking around either.
+Evan Farrer - I agree. Members of the opposite sex need to stop it from happening, either by now applying and company loses out on more talent and can only obtain mediocre at best until they are "downsized". People need to invest in talent, rather than a member to their peer group with the same childish mentality.

I do wonder how many teams have lost some great talent that went to the competitor and bested them. (Apple turned someone down that went to Microsoft or vice versa). Talent comes in all shapes, sizes, sexes, and ages. Some people are amazing at 50, while others are much better at 18. Sure, it's not a huge ego boost when an 18 year old becomes your mentor, but that's how it goes. :) Same with men/women. Some men have the "Men are better" mentality, so no matter how bright a woman is: she's wrong. He'll fight and argue his incorrect point until the end. Makes him look like an idiot doing so, too.
Hey! Nerf wars are definitely not "part of the problem" here.

"Ever seen a woman telephone engineer?" Yeah, yeah I have. I rent a room in her house.

I like to refer "brogrammers" and other "hipster" engineering types to It may not exactly be the antidote to "brogramming" and may even possess its own version of mysogeny, but it also has a great set of links.
BTW: Even my 13 year old got past the point of "Girls are icky". Why can't some adults? ;)
There are all sorts of cultures, especially in small shops. Unlike +Peggy Duncan, I loved working at a place where there were company animals. Great fit for me, terrible fit for her. So I guess if that brogrammer thing stays out in the open, it will continue to make it easy to figure out where I don't want to work. Somebody's bound to enjoy it.
Dustin, I actually do IT work in Silicon Valley. I'm incredibly lucky to work for the best employer here as far as equal treatment and pay. But we're still heavily outnumbered in my IT group--14 employees, 2 are women.

I'm used to working in an all-male environment, I did it in the Army for years. But the attitude is always such that I have to do my job twice as well to get the same credit. I go to WWDC each year, and the only benefit to being a woman at a coder conference is that I get bizarro world bathrooms (no lines for women, lines out the door for guys.) The rest of the time I'm treated as if I either don't exist at all, or have a horrible communicable disease.

When I got the job here, I was literally minutes away from accepting a job doing games testing for NAMCO. Talk about a sausage-festival brogrammer job. I thank whatever IT gods are out there every day I'm not over there doing that work.
Gina, unfortunately that particular article is a really poor over-generalization trying to paint programmers as jerks only to push own agenda and sell the "news". Yes, there are plenty of jerks among programmers - as in any other profession. It just wouldn't make it possible to push this flashy female discrimination in technology story if we took e.g. construction workers or truck drivers or some other, predominantly male occupation. Somehow nobody claims that the women are not welcome there.

As an IT professional, I have yet to see a company that is "run as a frathouse". That simply doesn't work in this field. And I didn't even get to all the political correctness going on for the fear of sexual harrasment litigation.

The lack of women in technology is a fact - as is the lack of female applicants to the corresponding educations and jobs. It is simple math - if someone doesn't apply, they cannot be hired. Claiming sexism and "not being welcome" is ridiculous in this context, IMO.



I've seen a few, +Jan Ciger. They tend to implode after a bit, but I've seen them.
+Brian Wisti that's the point, they do not last long enough to make much of an impact. But to generalize based on these failures is rather bending the facts.
Like +Brian Wisti, I've seen a few start-ups that seemed to thrive, for at least a little while, with environments that I found toxic. Like +Nathan O'Bryan, I think they should be left to fly or fall on their own. Most of the problem as I see it, depends on whether a given environment is exclusionary. Whether the focus of their team-building is on pushing the envelope in their field, or merely beating their competition.
Thank you, Gina, for helping get this conversation going.
And the other disappointment I share (even more so when I've been in hiring positions) is that there simply aren't as many women applying. No one can really say which is the chicken and which is the egg.
+Rugger Ducky I am sorry about your experience. I think that web developers and game companies are a bit particular case. Also the lack of social skills among IT folks (I do hate the term "coder", heck I am an engineer, not some monkey!). I would even dare to say that mild autism/asperger is an advantage in this field.

On the other hand, guys do make similar awkward experiences in places where the majority of the team is female - nurses or teachers, for example.
Fair point, +Jan Ciger. Generalization is unwise. The "brogrammer" is a specific thing, but it is relevant to numerous gender issues that have presented themselves in IT over the years. Individually, they are mostly small and innocuous - particularly if you are a straight, vanilla male.

But collectively, jokes like the "brogrammer" and the "code like a porn star" presentation from a few years back send a message that anyone who isn't a straight vanilla male is not part of the club. It's sort of a constant irritating trickle. Sometimes that trickle builds up enough to really irritate somebody so they write a post about it.
+Brian Wisti "... a message that anyone who isn't a straight vanilla male is not part of the club. It's sort of a constant irritating trickle. Sometimes that trickle builds up enough to really irritate somebody so they write a post about it."
Even many of us who are qualified, don't want to join that kind of club.
Well obviously you aren't vanilla, +Bob O`Bob. I tried to come up with a better word for generic and mainstream than "white," and that's the best I could do on the spur of the moment ^_^
Many people are surprised to learn that true vanilla is actually one of the most complex and nuanced flavors, and the only food product derived from a member of the orchid family.
I like how half the comments are talking about how it's all a big joke and not real, while others claim that your company can't be successful unless your developers are primarily male.
Saffron is from an Iris. But we have digressed a bit too far in my opinion.
This is such a mixed-message topic for discussion.
I really don't see why there need to be gender ratios of any kind in any field. Taking software engineering as an example because I live it, the gender imbalance is only a problem if people make decisions which perpetuate it motivated by the idea of perpetuating it. (Even if only in part)

Granted - even if it's only part of the motivation, and even in some cases where the decision-makers can be unaware of their own bias, then it's a problem. But making opportunities equal really should be making them equal, not setting quotas to "pay back" for the past.
Hmm. +James Womack I would suggest that part of it may be that when the few women in the field come for interviews, they may be put off by the predominately male environment, leaving you all in a Catch-22.

+Gina Trapani you wrote an amazing post and linked an article several months back about the importance of getting girls into STEM fields. Suggestions?
Bob, I don't think anyone is suggesting quotas. But you have to admit, the dearth of women in the field is not good.

Perfect example: does anyone really think there was a single woman who felt empowered to speak out at Apple during the iPad name development? ;)
I have seen work groups that are single gender, both male and female. Both situations resulted in their own problems. Diverse work groups always work better.

When I graduate in 1993, I had two female friends graduating at the same time. All of us received Computer Science degrees. I went into programming but my friends went into communication roles in technology companies. They did not enjoy programming.

I am not sure if there is a gender bias in the culture of programming or it's nature. I have noticed much fewer women in field support roles where you travel to different sites by yourself. I have often wondered if this was due to concerns of safety.

I do think all social media services would benefit from more female programmers. Too many services do not take into consideration privacy concerns related to safety. Being married and having daughters, I have come to appreciate these things from their perspective.
+Rugger Ducky In my class at the uni there were exactly 3 girls out of 128 students. How many of those students do you think get hired? Why, 3, of course. The rest from that class would be male applicants. It isn't so much the atmosphere in the workplace that makes the prospective candidates leave - there aren't really any female candidates to begin with. That's what needs solving, not the "brogrammers". It was so bad that we had a running joke that if you saw a girl in the lobby it was just a guy who's stayed in the lab working on the projects so long that his hair got long ...

BTW, out of those 3 ladies, two are in academia and one left the field completely, preferring clerical work instead. So net result from that class are 0 female programmers in the job market. And that was in 1999, before the bubble, with booming job market. I can hardly see it getting better today.
The author states that:
"Google's Marissa Mayer almost didn't take the job at the all-male start-up because there were more women at another firm that made her an offer. If Mayer had just graduated from college today with offers from two equally compelling start-ups -- one all-male and one not -- it's clear which one she would choose."

Wait... she did end up taking the job with the all-male start up (aka Google) right? If so, then this is a logical fallacy. What makes the decision today any different than in 1999?
I would assume that it was because the other firm she was considering in '99 wasn't a startup, and there are many more startups to consider now (and a ferocious war for 'talent').
Yeah that would make sense. The part that got me was the "it's clear which one she would choose" wording. Given the example, it's actually not very clear.
Of course, there is another bias in the market that I am now experiencing. I have over 20 years of experience in software development and information technology, including rotations in management and infrastructure management. I find it hard to find a position because organizations are afraid you will come in with a "that's not how we did it in my day" attitude. There really is an age / experience bias in the programming field as well.
+Michael Bernstein I had also done that but it turned out that starting a business a year before the "Great Recession" was not such a great thing :) I am now hoping to find a position to recover in while I plan my next venture! Good luck to you.
Now lets talk about the jobs that favour women over men, just as many of those :(
+Raven Sherbert we've already discussed the glamorous life of Avon salesperson.

I do IT in the medical arena. If you're taking about jobs like nursing, the pressure on guys not to go into it doesn't come from women, especially not nurses. Who is going to complain about having a big guy to help you move the morbidly obese patient to another gurney? It is men who pressure other men not to go into those fields, by calling it women's work and demeaning it. 
+Jan Ciger your point about the number of students absolutely is part of the problem. I stated that "the few women in the field", because ultimately the problem is that there just aren't enough of us. It starts in elementary schools, where girls are pushed to arts and lit and boys to science and math.

Treat kids with equal ability to learn, and the benefits will be amazing. If we encourage young girls to aspire to careers in STEM fields, it pays off for all of us in the long run. 
+Rugger Ducky I agree that the problem starts early. My wife and I once worked with an organization in Kansas City that mentored middle school girls, encouraging them to continue an interest in math and science. Most recently, I have coached a First Lego team and made sure the few female members we had felt engaged and valued. The mix of male and female coaches.

+Gina Trapani mentioned an effort yesterday's This Week in Google episode to create a different approach on teaching programming. The intent is to create a tact that will attract more females. Personally,I feel that how we teach programming needs to be revamped to attract better talent and open up the skill to more people.

We focus too much in the initial exposure on language constructs and compilers rather than on algorithmic thinking and problem solving. In a first semester programming, you are learning a jumble of language constructs, tool sets and and breaking down a problem. It would be better to teach how to solve problems first and break them down into instructions as a first skill set.

Bill Cosby has an old routine I have on DVD called "Fatherhood". In it, he describes the challenge of having his children get ready for bed. Rather than say go to bed, he has to describe in detail brushing teeth, putting on pajamas, etc. What a great opening to the world of programming, where the computer is the small child!
+Rugger Ducky So two IT professionals (you and Gina) are blinded by this 'sexism', when in reality, you make more money than any man I personally know, since my friends and I make minimum wage. Just walk in and look at all the men working in any McDonalds or grocery store, and be grateful that your life is better than ours. #firstworldproblems
+Benjamin Colwell - my take is that the male-culture of programming in the late 90s was much different than the described male-culture of programming now.

+Raven Sherbert - this isn't a discussion of how much they're making, it's about talent. People working at McDonald's can't program, that's why they work at McDonald's. Programmers, if they're good, generally can have options of where they work and thus, the culture of said workplaces matter. This is why tech companies regularly rank high on those "best places to work" lists, there is a lot of competition for the best talent.
+Bob O`Bob err you know that in telecoms "engineer" refers to the guys in the vans climbing the poles.

And whos work environment tends to have hard core porn pics posted on the walls - an d this is from a senior BT HR giy person who told me this
My dad, and his dad before him, both retired from engineering at PT&T.
+Raven Sherbert I'm a 40 year old woman from a very poor family, where most of them still work for minimum wage or just above. I joined the US Army at 17, busted my ass (literally and figuratively) for years, then got out, put myself through college, and got really lucky to get a job very early in the game with a great ISP. After learning every single thing I could for 4 years, I cashed out and moved home to Seattle to work at the VA hospital making diddly squat for a long time. Then even a stint doing phone IT at Comcast while my wife finished grad school. Now we work at a university, so no, we don't get paid a ton of money, we get job satisfaction and good benefits instead.

You sir, are a whiny twit. What are you, 17?
If we have brogrammers does that mean we can have sisadmins? (get it? Sister Administrator... a play on sys admins?)
+Nathan Hart Are you basing your comment above on experience, or just pulling that out of your ass? Serious question.

If you asked me, this whole article and discussion is kind of ridiculous, because "brogrammers" aren't a real thing. (You guys do know that it's kind of a big joke, right?)
No that one was right out of the nether regions. I think this shouldn't be taken seriously. So maybe by giving women there own name we can move past this. I think this particular dominance of men in programming is a lagging indicator anyway, and it's not helpful to make brogrammers a pejorative focusing on the negative, rather better to focus on the future positive equality.

When I graduated in 2002, from Carnegie Mellon, 60% of the computer science majors where women. Seeing as Carnegie Mellon was ranked the number 1 computer science school at the time, I think any sexism may be from the previous higher ratios, but will most likely resolve itself in the next 10 to 20 years as higher ratios of women enter the workforce.

In other words: "Where my brogrammers at? Where my sisadmins at? Oh, yeah, now it's a party, let me feel the love y'all!"
+Benjamin Colwell I was basing that comment on the article. In my experience, which has only been at established companies and not start-ups, have been nothing short of professional and typically evenly numbered in terms of men and women.
I wonder how many of the commenters today actually read the article, or just heard about it and headed over. 
CM was the #1 CS program in 2002?

Huh. I would have said UW or Stanford or even Georgia Tech, where a good friend graduated also in 2002 from the CS program. But I sure would never have thought CM. hmmm 
I have to say Gina that you make a decent point but on the other hand think of where most of us guys come from. We are the nerds who were put out of any other groups except for this one and were rejected by girls because we were so focused on learning how to make peoples lives better that we didn't take notice of how ridiculous we looked. So now your saying that we have to give up having as much fun as possible in our last group minus comicon? Can the nerds/geeks of the world's rights be infringed upon any further? I do however agree that it has to be toned down a bit. HUGE FAN and love the work that you do.
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