Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Let Market Determine the Fate of IT Girls

May 26, 2003

Re "The Computer World Could Use More IT Girls," Commentary, May 21: Like the abolitionists, suffragettes and celebrated stalwarts of the civil rights movement of the '50s and '60s, the critical mass of schoolgirls interested in careers in information technology that Jane Margolis alleges exists shall overcome someday -- or not. But the market, not misguided government intervention implicit in her message, ought to determine the fate of such IT girls.

Most of the boys obsessively wrapped up in computer gaming are and will forever be socially challenged losers with limited economic prospects. Will their collective experience occasionally produce a multibillionaire such as Bill Gates? Sure. And if girls want in on that action badly enough they'll find a way, just as Annika Sorenstam found a way to test her golf game against the world's best.

Darren McKinney

Washington

*

Many women have contributed to the information technology revolution. Grace Murray Hopper was a key guru-ette almost 50 years ago (she invented the term "bug" for a computer problem). Carly Fiorina is the president and chief executive of Hewlett-Packard, and many other women hold prominent places in the computing "schema of things," most specifically in marketing and distribution. Margolis displays the typical left-wing approach to any social problem in that if the numbers are not there, it's the system that is at fault, not the participants opting out. She prefers to argue it as some form of discrimination or sexist bias.

Further, girls in the computer game sphere prefer different kinds of games than boys: Girls enjoy "discovery" games, which have no mission or threat premise other than simply exploring a world, plus they gravitate toward highly gender-related themes, such as beauty makeovers and getting a date with the cute boy. These games are much harder to define, code and produce than the boy-type "twitch and fire" games.

Robert Swanson

Newport Beach

*

Margolis writes: "At the most basic and individual level, girls and women who do not become engaged in the technology are missing the educational and substantial economic opportunities that are falling into the laps of computer-savvy young men." Did she write this in 1998? Currently, the IT labor market is oversaturated, and opportunity is not falling into anyone's lap. The goal of having more women in any particular field is a potentially laudable one, but most people entering IT now are bound for disappointment.

Benjamin Hinkley

Flagstaff, Ariz.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|