gender issue, some hard data

Subject: gender issue, some hard data
From: Susan Fowler <sfowler -at- EJV -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 21 Apr 1994 10:50:40 EDT

Many years ago (between 1982-86), the firm I worked for was a subcontractor to
one of the original three personal computer firms. I was sent to Texas for a
week to reformat our manual there (some sort of deadline thing).

A very sweet and soft-spoken young woman was assigned to help me. I found myself
helping her. For example, no one had explained to her how to restart her
word-processor from the command line, so she rebooted each time she needed to
restart the program. (I gave her the program name.)

Anyway, at one point I asked her why the programmers were segregated on one side
of the floor and the writers on the other, and why neither side seemed to talk
to the other side. She said that she didn't know, but that all new hires went
through the same training. When they finished the training, all the men were
assigned to the programming staff and all the women were assigned to the
technical writing staff.

There was definitely a sexual disparity--you just had to look around you.

The reason I bring this up is that sometimes the problem isn't philosophical or
biological. Sometimes it's simply historical. (At least I HOPE it's

--Susan Fowler
sfowler -at- ejv -dot- com

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