Women and Tech ...

I keep hearing about how hard it is for women in tech, for example at last year's pre-day for Internet Week Europe, in the New York Times ... Exposing Hidden Bias at Google - NYTimes.com

If Google Google themselves - I don't and advise women not to - they might have seen this complaint last year:

It's one of many reasons I've been kind of ignoring the "would you be interested in space at Google Campus" and various other similar questions. (I think I mumbled something about the dog ... hint: when I use the dog as an excuse it generally means "no").

Here's the bottom line - if I need to use the loo and see the women's loo used as a storage space for cleaning supplies it annoys me. The P in PMS does not stand for permanent, but the S often stands for Snarky. Sometimes Super Snarky. Businesses providing an equal number of lavatories for both men and women is sadly still an issue. 99% of the time there are very few women at Google Campus, so having fewer cubicles is not an issue; at a conference where they were encouraging women to go into tech, it was.

Because of the way I choose to structure my life and whom I choose to work with, sexism is very rarely an issue in my life. There are some exceptions, notably at a conference on art theft and looting I went to the week after the tech conference I went to at the Campus. The constant put-downs about little girlie me by the big macho men who talk about looting - I clearly use my feminine wiles to get stuff actually done - was ... well it could have been soul-destroying, partly because of not despite the constant 'compliments' about the way I look as well (I didn't look particularly 'pretty' and no I hadn't lost weight as I was asked repeatedly), and the constant stream of men 'correcting' me on projects I had worked on and they had not.

In comparison all my experience with tech has been a near love-in, and the constant enthusiasm for new approaches was a very pleasant surprise. So what if there are two vacant stalls not three for the very few women at Google Campus, rather the three for the many men? Both the Campus and Internet Europe Week were very welcoming of anyone bright, rather than dividing them into men and women - which is surely what we want? Sure there are probably complete dicks in Tech, but there are in other fields too.

There are a variety of reasons why I don't need space at Google Campus, but as part of my Days of Awe sort-out I'd like to apologise for accusing Google Campus of being a "fail" for sexual equality.

I've signed up at Google Campus London instead, and if you're interested in anything to do with computers or the internet, then I'd suggest doing the same. Members can use the fast WiFi and use the lounge area, which includes such prehistoric creatures as this Apple ... which is this middle aged woman learnt to programme on ... And today they're launching Women@Campus. It's a bit like voting: if you don't take part, you can't complain!

I also highly recommend that anyone interested in the internet sign up for Internet Week Europe and attend some of their events.

Tech is often about measurable results, and they usually care more about that than whether or not you have a penis.