The New York Times editorial board contains people who studied history, economics, law, history (again), journalism, journalism (again), history (again, this time for the “science” expert), journalism, English literature, French literature, English literature (again), comparative literature, law, psychology, international relations, German, modern history, and law. Yesterday, the group signed an editorial entitled “Missing from Science Class; Too Few Girls and Minorities Study Tech Subjects.” The group of history and literature majors confidently wrote about the benefits of a tech education, how to motivate women and people with particular skin colors, and the sagacity of President Obama’s proposal on preschools (my previous post on the subject; note that Obama has previously extolled the virtues of STEM education for people other than himself (example)).
Why would folks who apparently preferred other subjects suggest that women and particular minority groups be encouraged to study tech subjects that they themselves did not like and ended up not needing?
Separately, here is a much more substantive approach to the challenge of getting more women interested in computer science: “Feminism and Programming Languages” by Arielle Schlesinger. Excerpts:
- “In the scope of my research, a feminist programming language is to be built around a non-normative paradigm that represents alternative ways of abstracting. The intent is to encourage and allow new ways of thinking about problems such that we can code using a feminist ideology.”
- “The idea came about while discussing normative and feminist subject object theory. I realized that object oriented programmed reifies normative subject object theory. This led me to wonder what a feminist programming language would look like, one that might allow you to create entanglements (Karen Barad Posthumanist Performativity).”
- “I realized that to program in a feminist way, one would ideally want to use a feminist programming language.”
[Among existing technologies, my personal choice for a feminist programming language would be SQL. The woman expresses her demands for data with five lines of code; a team of 100 men writes 2 million lines of C that must consider all possible ways of satisfying the the query and ultimately supply the answer.]