Hm. This all has been a long and really interesting conversation...but I
gotta ask if men really outweigh women in the higher paying library jobs
as much as they do in banks and K-12? I guess it depends on the definition
of "tech" vs. "non-tech" jobs in the library setting, which I'll leave to
that other email tread...but since I started working in libraries, 3 of my
last 5 managers (hi, Bess!) were women. I always thought one of the best
things about working at libraries was that there are way more women working
in higher positions than there are in most private for-profit companies.
And I'd be willing to bet my life savings that libraries have
a significantly higher percentage of women executives than Fourtune 500
companies. But maybe I'm delusional about this? I don't have any figures or
What I have noticed is that academic libraries have been trying harder to
emulate the Valley and the general tech field. Not only is "Thinking Like A
Startup" a mantra, but libraries are flocking to flashier cutting edge
technologies. This is probably not a bad thing, but communities like Rails,
Drupal, Django, Hadoop, and Node are all overloaded with particular
chromosome. So maybe a side-effect is that we're now emulating some of
their bad habits along with the good ones?
Another thing that Karen Coyle's comments about "coders" vs. "helpers" made
me think of is that academic libraries tend to be reorganizing their
departments in kinda interesting ways. There now seems to be things like
"Metadata" or "Systems" groups that are distinct from "Digital Repository"
or "Applications" groups. Catalogers and the people who work on the ILS are
often completely segregated from the people who work on the new flashy
grant-funded projects. The former, it kinda seems to me, tends to have more
women members while the latter is often lacking. Code4Lib draws mostly from
people working in these new-ish groups, which the others get sent to things
like ALA...maybe we can significantly improve our ratio by trying to
involve and interact more with our colleagues sitting on the other side of
the cubical partition? Although the last time I did that I learned the hard
way why turning off the Zebra index is a bad idea, so maybe on second
thought it's better if we don't get in each other's hair....
On Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 9:10 PM, Bess Sadler <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> The challenges around getting women into male-dominated professions is a
> little different from the challenges of getting men into women-dominated
> professions. For one thing, professions that are female-dominated are
> notoriously low-paying and low-status (think K-12 teachers, nursing, social
> workers, etc). These professions do have major recruiting problems, largely
> because they are low-paying, often considered to be undesirable, and they
> have high levels of stress burnout. When men choose to enter these fields,
> they often are promoted more quickly and paid more than women. There are
> many professions where this is true. Women outnumber men as K-12 teachers,
> but men outnumber women as K-12 principals and school superintendents.
> Women make up the majority of bank tellers, but men make up the majority of
> bank managers. Women make up the majority of librarians, but men make up
> the majority of the higher-paying technology jobs in libraries. Sensing a
> pattern yet? THAT is what we a!
> re trying to disrupt.
> Don't get me wrong, getting more men into nursing is a good thing too! The
> fact that men are less likely to put up with low wages, bad working
> conditions, or disrespectful colleagues can work in everyone's favor, and
> the field of nursing in particular has faced such problems with recruiting
> that they are trying to undergo a major cultural shift. Male nurses have
> been a part of that. Obviously I am not a nurse, but I do have a close
> relative who authored a study on this subject for a nursing school, so I
> have heard a bit about it.
> I highly recommend the book "Women Don't Ask" (http://www.womendontask.com),
> which is a great book for anyone who wants to know more about effective
> negotiating. (Read it before your next salary negotiation!) The book
> discusses why men tend to ask for better treatment, better salaries, more
> opportunities, etc, while women more often accept whatever they are given.
> This is learned behavior that we can learn to change, though. I think a
> place like code4lib, where there is so much opportunity to speak up or
> spark initiatives without any hierarchy or bureaucracy getting in the way,
> can be a fertile ground for women who want to develop their negotiation and
> leadership skills, as well as their technical capacity. My entire career
> has been shaped around stuff I learned in code4lib, and only some of it was
> about code.
> On Nov 27, 2012, at 7:56 AM, "Huwig,Steve" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I'm just the peanut gallery (having never attended Code4Lib) but it
> > seems to me that a useful analogue to programming/tech conferences --
> > which Code4Lib surely is -- would be conferences aimed at professional
> > nurses.
> > Do those conference organizers take measures to increase the number of
> > male attendees? If so, what do they do?
> > Just throwing ideas out there,
> > Steve Huwig