DAC Women's Workshop
DAC 2009 - Women's Workshop
MIA: Women in EDA ...
by Peggy Aycinena
Since the beginning of the year, I've attended at least 10 different technical conferences. That translates into over 100 sessions, panels, keynotes, etc. Since the beginning of the year, during all of those meetings, I've seen exactly one woman on stage.The question is not where have all the women technologists gone. The question is, were there ever any women technologists at these conferences in the first place? From my vantage point, the answer is unequivocally no. Why is that?
Why aren't there any women executives in technical companies, the kind of people who give keynotes at conferences? Why aren't there any women engineering managers, the kind of people who manage engineering teams and attend and talk at technical conferences? Why aren't there any women engineers at all, the kind of people who attend technical conferences, mill around in the hallways between sessions, wear jeans and shirt-sleeves, collect conference bags, and design stuff?
Why? The answer is simple.
There aren't any women at these conferences, because girls don't study engineering.
Why? The answer is complex.
* It's too hard.
* It's too abstract.
* Girls are too stupid to master the material.
* Girls are too smart to be nerds.
* Girls see that there's more money to be made in business, law, or medicine.
* Girls get tired of being in the minority as undergraduates studying engineering, getting picked on, teased, hazed, singled out in all-male classes, or harassed about their looks or lack of confidence.
* Male students study together, but don't ask female students to join their study groups.
* Girls are too stupid to fight back by assembling their own study groups.
* Lots of boys drop out of engineering, but there are many more boys to start with, so they're not missed.
* From the time they hit puberty, girls who are good at science and math learn that girls who are cool are not good at science and math.
* From the time they hit puberty, boys who are good at science and math would rather date girls who are not good at science and math.
* From the time they hit puberty, boys who are not good at science and math would rather date girls who are not good at science and math.
* Pretty girls are cheerleaders. Girls who are good at science and math are not cheerleaders. Therefore, girls who are good at science and math are not pretty. Girls would rather be pretty. Even girls who are good at science and math.
* Fathers want their sons to study science and math, but would rather their daughters study art history. Daughters are just going to get married and have kids anyway.
* Mothers want their sons to study science and math, but would rather their daughters study art history. They hope their daughters will not get married, or have kids. They hope their daughters will live exotic, urban lives as curators of art museums.
* You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
Every year at DAC, there's a workshop specially designed to encourage Women in Design Automation. Some years, dozens of people attend the workshop. Some years, a hundred or more people attend the workshop.
The workshop is usually about gender-neutral topics like professional growth, mentoring, and figuring out how to transition from a technical role to a managerial role in the organization. These topics are important for everybody. But since the Workshop has the word Women in the title, men do not attend.
That's a pity. Men who are in EDA are too old to be worried about whether or not they're dating cheerleaders. They are old enough, however, to be worried about the trajectory of their careers. Unless, of course, they've already figured everything out, on account of boys being smarter than girls.
You think I'm kidding, but I'm not.
March 26, 2009
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