Re: Gender Issues in Technical Communication

Subject: Re: Gender Issues in Technical Communication
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 08:58:51 -0600

re: But what I'm curious about is this: is sexism greater or less in tech
writing than anywhere else? And, as a sub-question, are the geeks whose work
you interpret for everyone else more or less sexist than the norm?

Greater than anywhere else: no. Greater than average: yes. At the norm.

Men and women are different, and one result of that is that there are
occupations that one group tends to populate to a greater extent than the
other despite the 50-50 population demographic. The spectrum is wide of
course, and the goal is to not prevent entry to an occupation although some
would see the goal as 50-50 representation in every occupation. Another
goal is dominance of higher-paid occupations, obviously.

Whatever happens will in the long run happen naturally, and I feel tech
writing, due to its nature, is now and will continue to be populated more by
females than males. This for many puts it in that category populated by
teacher, nurse, care provider, support, etc. That is, the poorer-paid
occupations. If we can keep religion out of it (woman's place), this is
wrong and stupid. Within this area it appears to me we aren't as bad off as
the doctor-nurse relationship, but that is really no consolation. The real
stupidity is looking down on these essential and honorable occupations and
creating inefficiencies as a result. Vince Lombardi analogies make me puke,
but generically it is anyway about teaming, and, better said, maximizing
benefits arising from differences. Isn't it amazing how many organizations
(and societies?) are self-destructive?

PS: For an article on occupations and how they are populated by the sexes,
here is one that will make you mad if you agree with it and will make you
mad if you don't. It's long and impresses me at least (easily impressed) as
scholarly. I found it upon recommendation of a female writer for the
Washington Times (conservative).


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