My own anecdotes.
Yes, it starts early.
When I was 3 I announced that I was going to be a physicist when I grew
1 - a physicist has a chair that is on WHEELS, and spins ROUND and ROUND
2 - a physicist has a blackboard with COLORED CHALK
3 (and MOST important) a physicist has a CANDY machine in the hall outside
Well, I didn't become a physicist, but those features certainly put
technology in a good light from an early age.!!
Second, while the statistics may say something else, I find MORE WOMEN, in
MORE RESPECTED positions, at IETF than in my work environment.
ietf-bounces(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org wrote on 04/30/2012 10:13:50 AM:
Mary Barnes <mary(_dot_)ietf(_dot_)barnes(_at_)gmail(_dot_)com>
Sent by: ietf-bounces(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org
04/30/2012 10:13 AM
Riccardo Bernardini <framefritti(_at_)gmail(_dot_)com>
IETF discussion list <ietf(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org>
Re: 'Geek' image scares women away from tech industry ? The Register
Yes, the article is far from complete. But, your antecdote only
goes to show your own bias towards women in science and engineering
in general. By the time most females reach high school they have
already been conditioned that girls aren't as good as boys in math
and science. There's a far amount of studies showing this - at least
in the US. As Monique said it is a very complex issue. Some of it
starts at home and it starts extremely early. It's far more common
for girls to be told they are pretty rather than smart. They have
found some physiologic reasons that do influence math abilities -
those with "math brains" tend to have higher levels of testosterone.
That all said, it still doesn't explain why the percentage of women
active in the IETF is less than the percentage of women that are in
the field. But it might have something to do with IETFers sharing
your perspective that women just aren't interested.