I see and hear regularly that "we need to recruit more women in IT". However, there is a lot behind this sentence.
In this post, I will give you my opinion on the presence of women in IT jobs.
For several decades now, we have been repeating over and over again that IT is a man's world, we repeat it so much that we end up believing it's real...
Last reading to date, while reading an article on testimonials concerning management closer to sexual predation than anything else that took place at UbiSoft, I came across this sentence (Translated from french) :
If the world of tech is modern, cool and macho, the world of video games is even more so.
That's how you help keep things from changing, congratulations to the journalists who persist and sign such nonsense.
I've had the chance to work with women in various positions in IT, from managers to developers, project managers, architects and production engineers, and I have to admit that ... it doesn't change anything! These are colleagues like any other.
Sexist and macho jokes are indeed frequent in IT, but it is (fortunately) a minority that behaves in this way, and many women flourish in this field.
"We need to recruit more women"
I've heard that phrase a lot too. We need women in IT, yes, but at what cost?
When I see companies claiming to advocate gender equality by recruiting 50% men/50% women, my only observation is that we don't recruit skills, but a gender, a statistic, to clear our conscience. A bit like ecology, which just helps to give you a cooler image.
Those who talk to me about "positive discrimination" forget that there is still discrimination. I've taken part in recruitments on several occasions, and for my part, I judge the skills and the state of mind, to see if the person will be able to integrate into the team without creating tension. At no time is gender, skin colour, sexual orientation, or the fact that the candidate is raising albino unicorns a factor!
I grew up in Clichy-sous-bois, in Seine-Saint-Denis (French parisian suburb), and at no time would I have wanted to be recruited because of this point, by allowing a statistic to be filled out.
Why not? Because when you are recruited like that, the only thing that comes out of it is that label, no matter how good you are, you will remain the young person from the suburbs who was recruited to fill out a stat, and also because by filling out that stat, I may have taken the place of someone more deserving than me.
From my point of view, recruiting a woman to recruit a woman is just as stupid. Especially when I see how difficult it can be for recruiters to recruit at all, putting such limitations on themselves is even more counterproductive.
We're in the wrong fight
So what do we do? It is a fact that we have few women in our fields of work.
But is the real problem really recruitment? Not that I question the fact that some recruiters have racist and/or misogynistic preconceptions, but for me the problem is not recruitment.
The real problem is that it has been said for decades that IT is a man's world, personally, I never understood how having a penis allowed me to be more efficient at typing code and drawing clouds. The result is that we train fewer women because we let this myth be talked about and, in fact, we attract fewer women.
From my point of view, we have to succeed in motivating young women to go into tech professions as soon as they start school, show them how captivating and exciting our professions are, that they are professions where women and men can fully develop.
But it's also up to men to change the situation, by not letting sexist prejudices or stupid jokes get in the way, or by only qualifying women on their looks (unfortunately, all three are real-life experiences...). It's up to us to take action to make the IT world a healthier place for men and women.