Headlines for Wednesday:

  1. OMG. Girls have the geek gene, too?! NO WAY! (549 words)



1. OMG. Girls have the geek gene, too?! NO WAY!: 08:20

Girls have the geek gene, too, reports Jen Gerson of The Toronto Star. Read it and weep. Goodness gracious, someone *please* tell me that this is a satire article appearing in The Onion, not a serious article appearing in the I.D. section of a major newspaper.

The opening sentence starts the same way as most articles about women in technology, making us feel like an endangered species. (Crikey!) But then it gets worse, and worse, and worse. I feel like printing and framing it.

I.D. chatted with one of the key speakers, Dr. Telle Whitney, president of the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology, about why young women are frightened by the prospect of joining a field dominated by intelligent men who have no idea how to please them.

The things I could say about this...

So, women and technology. Why do they need their own symposium?

Because we're afraid of cooties. Snark snark snark.

Do you think fewer women are getting involved in technology because they're not as interested in it, or are they just not smart enough?

Could you possibly have a more provoking question if you tried?

But tech companies, they paint their electronics pink. Shouldn't that draw women in?

Apparently you *can* have a more provoking question.

So pink is not the way to go, for attracting women?

I like frilly interfaces and flowers myself. NOT.

Should we bring more women in? Aren't there few enough jobs in technology that we need to bring women too, into it?

Completely missing the point!

But how is it that women can juggle making computers with making babies?


But are the babies disruptive to the computers? How do you trust babies around all that sensitive equipment?

More than I'd trust a certain reporter, apparently.

The following segment is just... horrible.

  • Q Is Anita Borg a real name?
  • A Anita Borg was the founder of the Institute.
  • Q Was that before Star Trek: The Next Generation, or after?
  • A It was really her name.
  • Q Bad luck.
  • A She passed away a few years ago from brain cancer. She was a very dear friend of mine and I took over here a few years ago.
  • Q Oh. I'm a terrible human being. Is that what you're saying?
  • A No no, she used to have these big pictures of Borg all over her house. She was a Star Trek fan.




There are no words to explain how terrible the article is. It is downright irresponsible of the Toronto Star to publish something this insensitive and disrespectful, considering the pressures that are already on women in technology.

Should we cut Jen some slack just because she's a fourth-year Ryerson University journalism student, or the Toronto Star for giving its columnists free rein? At what point are journalism students supposed to gain common sense? Jen asked those questions, typed up the interview, and the Toronto Star published it. At what point was someone supposed to go, "Wait a minute, what is this article saying?"

ARGH! Read, blog, link, whatever: clueless journalist. Her e-mail address is jgerson@globeandmail.ca . Help her learn not to do that again.

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