No, I Need Mr. Caitlyn

by Caitlyn Martin

Lately I've been looking to pick up a new contract or even possibly move back into a long term corporate position. My resume (CV for those outside the United States) is, I think, fairly impressive. I am a competent systems administrator and security geek with over 27 years of experience in the industry. I've had lots of calls from recruiters: some quite good, some not so good, and some, well...

In the past couple of weeks I've had several calls like this. I'm pretty close to word for word on the most recent:

Me: Hello.

Recruiter: Can I speak to Martin please?

Me: This is Caitlyn Martin. How can I help you?

Recruiter: No, I need Mister Caitlyn Martin.

Me (annoyed): There is no Mr. Martin. What is this about?

Recruiter: (sputters and trips over his tongue, then goes on to say it's about a job)


Roy Schestowitz
2007-09-01 19:53:22
I agree with everything you say and I'm seeing this type of discrimination. Most people just turn a blind eye to the problem.

What I also wonder is, shouldn't the recruiter have asked for "Mr Martin?"....

An anonymous (or blind) job application procedure would be hard because recruiters do background checks and wish to do phone interviews. Ideally, one's skills should always come first, but then there's character, social considerations, etc.

That stupid ad from Linux Journal certainly does not help.

2007-09-02 01:47:47
You state: "These recruiters have several things in common"
Then you proceed to blather about: #1: "They are all male".
Why does this bother you? Idiots come in both sexes. Many is the time that I am on the phone with a Woman, and I try to explain my issue, then I am passed along to a Man, and he/she/they are both idiots.
Then you state:"All but one have a foreign (Asian or Middle Eastern) accent"
I will now ask you; did the one that did not have an accent do a better job of helping you? Obviously not....
Finally you conclude that absolutely none of them can believe that you, a *mere Woman* can be a skilled professional. Methinks that thou are indeed oversensitive.
Roll with it, roll over their sorry asses, but never roll it up. Doesn't matter if you are a male or female, just keep on rollin. (And quit the bitchin, it doesn't solve a thing)

2007-09-02 04:16:22
If you still don’t believe there’s sexism in IT in general and in the Linux community in particular either you are blind to it or part of it.

I think you are part of the problem, by jumping to conclusions about a person of the opposite sex.

Willard van Orman
2007-09-02 06:39:42
> All but one have a foreign (Asian or Middle Eastern) accent

Your generalization fails to hold, so why should it be necessary to mention their accents in the first place?

> most come from places even more misogynistic than the United States

I've read that twice and it still looks like a sweeping generalization...

2007-09-02 07:07:25
Ok, Ms. Caitlyn - or should I say *Comrade* Caitlyn, to be absolutely gender-neutral? - how about something less anecdotal than your personal experience? For example, statistics that are based on numbers higher than "several"? I guess that would be more of a challenge than just slapping a "you-are-all-male-chauvinist-pigs" into our faces.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-02 07:37:30
@Roy Schestowitz: Thank you for your comments. My only guess at why they got the name wrong the way they did is that Martin is a common male first name while Caitlyn is anything but. Maybe they thought I meant to write "Caitlyn, Martin" and inverted my name. That's just a guess.

@Willard van Orman: I've mainly been a contractor and have moved around a lot over the past 10 years. I've probably dealt with recruiters more than most IT professionals as a result. The one American who did this was the absolute first. I've probably had 50 examples with Indian/Pakistani or Middle Eastern accents. So, yes, the generalization definitely holds. I think it's a cultural thing. I also think in this age of outsourcing that some of the recruiters I dealt with are probably still in India (in one case e-mail confirmed that) and made mistakes an Indian immigrant recruiter who had been in this country for some time and knew American culture would probably not have made.

I only included the one exception to demonstrate that it's not about race or ethnicity. I've worked with some absolutely fantastic Indian recruiters in my time, not to mention top notch Indian programmers, consultants, sys admins, you name it. Ditto people from the Arab world. Having said all that, yes, there is a pattern here.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-02 07:43:36
@Sean: If my experience disagrees with your viewpoint it's "blathering", is it? Yes, I've run into sexist women and yes, idiots come from both genders. However, in 10 years of dealing with technical recruiters I've never had a woman do this and I've probably had 50 men do it.

Am I oversensitive? Based on my experience with the professional women in LinuxChix I'd say I'm anything but. Why should I "roll with" or accept overt sexism? "Quit bitchin"? You want the uppity women to shut up, be quiet, and accept our station in society, is that it? "Doesn't matter if you are male or female" is easy for a man with the privilege that entails to say. In my experience it matters greatly.

Example: About nine years ago I applied for a position that would have involved putting me in front of customers a lot. I went through the entire process. At the end the recruiter (a woman) was terribly frustrated and confided to me that a less qualified man had gotten the job. She quoted the hiring manager: "There's no way that little woman is going to impress my customers." My size and gender were the deciding factor. Don't you dare tell me gender doesn't make a difference. It does.

You sir, have demonstrated the problem very well. Without meaning to you have validated all that I had to say.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-02 07:46:58
@Trueash: "Comrade"? Red baiting? Let's call someone we disagree with a Commie. That's a very dated way of dismissing someone, isn't it?

As I stated in a previous comment I have about 50 such experiences in a 10 year period. Spend some time hanging out on the LinuxChix Issues list (yes, it's open to men) and you'll learn that this isn't isolated to me. Many, many, many women have had this experience over and over and over again.

Thanks for the Slashdot quality response. I didn't call all men "male chauvinist pigs". I don't think I've ever used that term at all. However, if that shoe fits you so well you had to bring it up feel free to wear it.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-02 07:53:25
@Anonymous: What conclusion am I jumping to? I am relating my very frustrating experiences as they happened. I make no assumptions about men or male recruiters. Lame post trying to make lame justifications from someone without the courage to post their name. What you are doing here is blaming the victim.
Willard van Orman
2007-09-02 09:47:47
So according to you it's a "cultural" problem, something that could tackled if only recruiters of different cultural backgrounds (Middle Eastern and Asian, in your examples) were adequately trained in American cultural mores.

But on the other hand, you've worked with people from precisely those cultural backgrounds, and found them to be "top notch".

Therefore, your generalization doesn't hold.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-02 09:54:25
@Willard van Orman: Of course my generalization holds. I find it hard to believe you can't see it. Having had more than a little first hand experience with Middle Eastern cultures let me rephrase it this way:

Sexism (misogyny if you prefer) is a problem worldwide. Almost every culture has it to a greater or lesser degree. It is certainly worse in the Middle East (though clearly less so in Israeli society than in most Arab countries) than it is in the United States. My experience also teaches me that sexist attitudes are more prevalent on the Indian subcontinent and some other parts of Asia than in the United States.

I have never claimed that all Asians or Asian men in general are sexist. Ditto Middle Eastern men. What I have said is that MORE are than in western society, particularly American society. I have said that the problem with recruiters is predominantly with men from those parts of the world. What part of that doesn't hold? What part of that doesn't precisely match my experiences? What are you trying to defend?

Having said all of that I believe sexism is a major problem in the American IT industry. It's just my experience that most American recruiters are better educated about American culture and aren't so blatant about it.

Willard van Orman
2007-09-02 11:16:22
So we've established that it's not a question of race or ethnicity, but of the indigenous culture in which people happen to find themselves immersed. But there are people similarly immersed in those very same cultures who, of your own admission, treat you with what you regard as due respect.

Therefore, modus tollens, those indigenous cultures, equally partaken of by sexist recruiters and "top notch people" alike, could not have been the cause of the prejudice you experienced.

There is an alternative explanation, that these "top notch people" have sold out their culture to its "Western" or "American" counterpart. But to suggest, especially following a century of Arab, African and Asian liberation struggles, that an egalitarian vision of human dignity is somehow peculiar to Western culture would of course be chauvinistic nonsense.

2007-09-02 11:46:35
So, now you are victim? Can you tell me what the crime was?

2007-09-02 11:51:46
Having said all of that I believe sexism is a major problem in the American IT industry. It's just my experience that most American recruiters are better educated about American culture and aren't so blatant about it.

By saying they aren't blatant about it, you are pretty much calling every male IT person sexist. I don't think so...

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-02 12:08:57
@Willard van Orman: Now you are talking around or ignoring my point. I am not blaming any one culture per se. I am blaming sexism in all cultures, something you seem to want to ignore. What have you said that invalidates the point that I get calls from recruiters who can't believe that someone with my credentials can be female? What have you said that invalidates the point that the overwhelming majority of these recruiters speak with Asian or Middle Eastern accents? Case closed, at least for you.

Anonymous: Women (including myself) who are discriminated against in hiring or recruiting practices are victims of that discrimination, period. Whether a crime is technically committed or not doesn't change the fact. There was no law on the books that forbade slavery prior to the American Civil War, and there were laws that codified segregation and discrimination of African-Americans until the 1960s. No laws were broken yet I think any sane person would agree that African-Americans were victimized. They still are victimized by societal attitudes and racism, just not to the same extent as before the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. A law doesn't have to be broken for there to be a victim.

Anonymous #2: I have NEVER said that all men in IT are sexist. I am saying that enough are to create a more difficult environment for women.

ALL: The comments are so predictable. They are pretty much the same every time the discussion of gender in IT comes up. A few clueless ones make my point over and over again without even realizing they are doing it.

Willard van Orman
2007-09-02 15:53:31
> I am not blaming any one culture per se. I am blaming sexism in all cultures

So on the one hand you're saying particular cultures beget sexist attitudes (I quote: "I think it's a cultural thing. I also think in this age of outsourcing that some of the recruiters I dealt with are probably still in India [...] and made mistakes an Indian immigrant recruiter who had been in this country for some time and knew American culture would probably not have made"), and on the other that sexism is not a phenomenon specific to particular cultures.

> What have you said that invalidates the point that the overwhelming majority of these recruiters speak with Asian or Middle Eastern accents?

Where, at any stage of my argument, have I actually sought to deny that observation?

You have my sympathies, Caitlyn, but to paint people from certain cultural backgrounds as intrinsically more prone to sexist attitudes is frankly naive.

2007-09-03 06:33:10
You equate sexism in IT hiring with slavery? Huh? Not the same...
2007-09-03 06:54:19
i am tired of being afraid of what woman think of me. It sickens me every time a woman looks over her shoulder as I walk the same path as her through the parking lot. I am saddened when i open a door for a woman (I open doors for both men and woman) and she thinks it's a flirt. (i admit that the open-the-door problem is not as bad as it was 20 years ago.) and now i am angry with the realization that every encounter i have with a woman there is the possibility she thinks i am a murdering raping man.
2007-09-03 07:27:47
i have been sexually abused as a teenager by a man. i have been raped at knife point by a man. i have been robbed twice by knife point by men. yes, i look over my shoulder at night. i will not go into a bar because of the lame "boysterous" behavior i expect to find there; "no, i have not thought about the ladies ass to comment about it". Oh and i can not stand the lets give a mighty firm hand shake to see if your a man. oh, curse the idiot who breaks any and all conversations to look away comment on passing woman.
a good post to vent in. sorry, i am a man.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-03 08:08:18
@Willard van Orman:
So on the one hand you're saying particular cultures beget sexist attitudes...

Yes, indeed. Nothing I wrote contradicts that either, as much as you might want to portray my words that way. Sexism is present in some degree in every culture, but the degree varies.

...but to paint people from certain cultural backgrounds as intrinsically more prone to sexist attitudes is frankly naive.

So you are now arguing that cultural differences don't affect the way we perceive things and interact with one another? Are you arguing that the way men perceive and treat women isn't, in part, dependent on the culture they are in? I don't think you'll be able to find many (if any) competent sociologists who agree with you. Rather than naivete my argument is based on hard experience. I've talked to other women in IT who have had identical experiences. Your attempt to discredit my experiences, however well argued, defies common sense.

@Anonymous: You love putting ridiculous words in my mouth, don't you? First you tried to claim that I couldn't be a victim because no crime was committed. I used slavery as an extreme example of how no crime was committed under the law at the time and yet people were victimized. I certainly did not equate sexism with slavery. I do, however, equate sexism which leads to discrimination in recruitment and hiring practices with racism that has precisely the same result.

@javajazz: First, thank you for sharing your experiences. Sexual abuse or sexual assault is a horrible thing to experience regardless of your gender. Societal attitudes make it even harder for a man to express his feelings or receive justice for such an act. That's a prime example of where sexist attitudes in our society unfairly disadvantage men. You have my sympathy.

Regarding your fears in dealing with women, I humbly suggest that working towards a more equalitarian society and working against pervasive sexist attitudes might actually lead to things being better someday. You say that things are better than 20 years ago. In western society at large I agree with you. I would argue that the efforts of both men and women efforts to shine a light on sexist attitudes and work against them is a significant reason why.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-03 09:38:24
NOTE: I just deleted a further post from Mr. Van Orman, who is now engaging in repetition and argument rather than making any salient points. It's beginning to resemble trolling. Mr Van Orman, feel free to write your own blog but don't try to dominate mine.
2007-09-03 10:05:05
i need to make one further point about door-holding. (it's a lazy holiday here.) woman do not open the door for me as much as men. i can only guess they are afraid that i will miss-interpet the gesture and think it is a come-on. Now that is another sad reflection. If that is the case, should woman show more courage? yes! open doors for men!
2007-09-03 10:09:41
@Caitlyn Martin

thanks for the gesture of sympathy. but sympathy at this stage, so many years removed, feels opressive. i only used my real life to share that men also can walk with an undercurrent of fear, especially as youngsters and young men.

I was only speaking of that one phenomena, "opening doors", when i said things have gotten better. i should have also made it 35 years ago, when the feminist angry voice was being given air time; "door-holding" was a petpeave of a feminist track I read. back then, I examined the situation and realized that it is more effeciant for the door to be opened only once, that the door would get less wear and traffic would flow faster. i began holding the door for those behind me regardless of sex or age. back then men would look at me funny and woman would give the slight friendly gesture OR look as if they would refuse entry until I relinquished the door. I very seldom see these offensive behaviors today. I also note with optimism that many others are behaving like me. trust me, door-holding used to be quite different in our culture. hell i remember when a man was not a man if his hair was over his ears. :-) i digress.

i blame john wayne when he saves the little lady. :-)

You are not being oversensitive, no your not.

Clair Ching
2007-09-03 10:30:47
About the caller thinking that Caitlyn is a man's name:If the caller is from a different country, they're probably not sure about what the female names are and what the male names are.

In any case, it's sad and frustrating to find people who think that technical jobs are only for men. It's not fair. I personally think that technology bridges gaps and also levels the playing field, so to speak.

Jim Driscoll
2007-09-03 10:49:44
I don't have much to add, but speaking from a hopefully sensible perspective, your (Caitlin's) point of view on this is educated in a way mine (as a man, and thus not generally affected by sexism in the same way) cannot be. Obviously someone with direct experience of a problem is better equipped to draw conclusions.

Though I can't speak with authority to the question of cultural causes, I can say that my second-hand knowledge of Indian communities living in the UK is that they can be (from the ancestrally European point of view) very traditional. It seems likely to me that such is likewise the case over in India itself, and that would go hand-in-hand with particular (if faded) expectations of gender roles which might have been more fitting in the past, ie: men doing work, and women looking after men. I'm sure the culture in general is laudable (and I have certainly heard good things about people interacting with Indian culture), but that doesn't make it incapable of being wrong or offensive to some others in certain respects.

Regarding those who would see such comments as prejudice, one must bear in mind that nothing which is demonstrably fundamental to the subject can actually be prejudicial: that would be judging, not prejudging. Thus to say that Middle Eastern people have dark skin is prejudice, but to say that they are from the Middle East is not. A culture is among other things a set of rules, conventions and inclinations; to speak of such things in the context of the culture, even if negative, is not prejudicial at all.

People who are well educated in the culture of those they are dealing with are those best placed to avoid offence, and the lack of such knowledge or experience seems likely to be the cause of the unpleasantness (if that's a fitting word) described. And yes, plenty of people have a poor understanding of their own culture!

2007-09-03 12:30:12

> My résumé (CV for those outside the United States) is, I think, fairly impressive.

Made me laugh. Reminded me of the Bush entrepreneur story

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-03 16:45:39
@ken: Are you trying to insult me? What is wrong with my résumé?
2007-09-03 21:06:54
@Caitlyn Certainly no intention to insult you or your achievements - I'm here because I like your writing and I'm an Ubuntu novice. I was just commenting on the 'for those outside the United States' and the French word "résumé".
Simon Hibbs
2007-09-03 23:15:21
A few months ago I had a job interview question - "What had I done to promote equal opportunities in the work place". I struggled to find an answer, because I honestly don't think about it much. It's not something that affects me and so I'm not realy aware of it, so thanks for blogging about it.

I'm realy disappointed at the hostility of some of the negative comments abgout this post. 'Blathering', 'Comrade', etc. How easy it is for people who do not suffer prejudice to dismiss it's impact on those that do.

Roy Schestowitz
2007-09-04 02:51:34
I'd like to thank "Trueash", for making my point seem even /more/ valid.
M. David Peterson
2007-09-04 06:43:14

Excellent post! There is one critique I would like to bring about, but let me first speak to the other commenters who seem to have issues with this whole adaptation/evolution thing,

The problem you all seem to overlook is that all things being equal, we live and work in an industry that puts prejudice before common sense. In some cases things are not equal: For example, if your job requires the ability to consistently lift objects in which weigh more than you are capable of handling on a regular basis, then you are unfit for the position. That said, if you are capable of this and yet you are passed over for a job you are qualified for because of your race, your gender, the color of your hair, or any other reason that you are not qualified (physically, mentally, or otherwise) then this is completely unfair and should be scrutinized.

So coming back to my critique, I'm not sure if your message is coming across as soundly as it could if you hadn't placed a bit of prejudice of your own into the mix. Recognition towards cultural divide is important: It certainly exists, and when it does recognizing that it exists instead of turning a blind eye to its existence is critical if we are ever to gain any hope all adapting and evolving our collective cultures to be more sensitive to the issues at hand that relate to other cultures.

Using prejudice to fight prejudice is a losing battle from the start. That said and to be perfectly honest, I'm not really sure how one could write this in a way that didn't at least come across a little bit prejudice. And to be completely honest, I'm not so sure that it should be rewritten as your points are completely valid.

So how to make your overall argument something that more people are willing to open an ear and listen to? Absolutely no clue, but maybe someone who has been critical of your post might be able to suggest some improvements.


Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-04 08:44:51
I'd like to address the excellent comments by both M. David Peterson and Jim Driscoll if I may:

David makes an excellent point. I could have written this without any reference to ethnicity but it would not have been a fair portrayal of what has been happening. It would have been totally unfair to use an overly broad brush and claim there is a huge problem with blatant sexism among male recruiters across the spectrum. There isn't. I'm not saying that there may not be some with such attitudes -- there are -- but the problem really does seem to be largely cultural.

Having said that I then felt compelled to write about the very positive experience with some folks from those parts of the world. If I didn't then this post would have definitely had a racist tinge that I wanted to avoid because I honestly don't care where someone is from. My parents were both immigrants and my father came here from Israel which, last I checked, in in the Middle East. I've worked with men and women whose roots were in India, Pakistan, the Arab world, Iran, and Indonesia and, as Mr. Van Orman pointed out, some were truly top notch in every possible way.

How to get the message across? David is right. It's a very difficult balancing act.

Why bother at all? I just in the past half hour had yet another call asking for "Mr. Martin." I replied stating there was no Mr. Martin and asked if I could help. The Middle Eastern man on the other end of the phone said no, he had to talk to "him" about a job opportunity. When I explained I was the one who had posted the résumé he hung up on me. How much more sexist can you get? It just never ends.

Jim, I take it you were primarily addressing Willard van Orman's comments and you did a great job drawing on your own experiences. I think a lot of us enjoyed "Bend It Like Beckham" which lightheartedly portrayed cultural and gender issues among the U.K.'s immigrant Indian community. It certainly showed strict gender roles in that culture, didn't it? Sure, it's just a film but you've pointed out that there is a lot of truth behind it.

Which brings us back to this: I wanted to accurately portray my experiences. As the Linux Journal ad for QSOL which Carla Schroder blogged about there is plenty of sexism in IT and the Linux Community to go around and it is not just restricted to recruiters. There seems to be a large percentage of immigrant or overseas recruiters nowadays and cultural differences do seem to exacerbate the problem.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-04 08:52:18
@ken: No offense taken. I find many Americans have no clue what a C.V. is so I assumed the same might apply in other parts of the world for résumé.
Carl Cygnenoir
2007-09-05 04:39:05
Would it be uncommonsensical to point out that "common sense" is itself a cultural and ideological construct, loaded with unquestioned but nevertheless false assumptions?

As the great logician Bertrand Russell once put it, "Common Sense is the metaphysics of savages".

2007-09-05 06:05:46
Honestly, are we all really so willfully blind as to argue with posts like this one (as well as Carla's)?!? I'm not sure the problem is limited to just the IT world (sadly, I think sexism, like racism, is still all too real in our "enlightened" world), but the IT world is the one Caitlyn has experience in and the one we're all a part of (else why be reading this?) It is, to put a not-so fine point on it, OUR world. We can choose how we treat each other, and for all the talk of meritocracy, there's all manner of prejudging that goes on.

In order for things to ever be better, consciousness has to be raised. Thank you, Caitlyn, for having the courage to do just that!

M. David Peterson
2007-09-05 07:49:51

Thus the word "common." I doubt anyone will argue that common sense is based on the collective viewpoints of any given society. But that doesn't make it any less relevant in regards to the importance of using it.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-05 09:43:43
@Mike: I think the one word answer to your question on willful blindness is "yes".

@M. David Peterson: Posts by Carl, Willard, and some of the anonymous posts are an attempt to discredit what I am saying by attacking my post tangentially. They can't take it on directly (what would the argue?) so they nitpick and attack around the edges.

Carl Cygnenoir
2007-09-05 10:27:49
But that doesn't make it any less relevant in regards to the importance of using it.

So as good bien pensants, we can afford to leave our unacknowledged chauvinism and bigotry -- let's call them the hypocrisies of Western liberalism -- uninterrogated?

News to Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, I'm sure.

2007-09-07 09:14:14
You are right, the opportunities afforded to women are way out of alignment with our male counterparts. I have been passed over several times, while my education level is superior to those selected. I enjoy IT, but may leave the profession to find other advancement opportunities.
2007-09-07 09:16:28
I forgot to mention that women should get more preferential treatment too. That would include more time off so we can create and raise our families, free child care and other time flexibility. Too often these different needs are treated as performance measures.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-07 13:02:08
Michele, or should I say Michael? Nice try. I have yet to meet a woman who thinks that education should be a sole criteria in determining advancement and promotions. I also don't know of any who would have written your bit about "preferential treatment". Your hostility and sexism comes right through and your use of gender stereotypes is typical.

There are plenty of single women and couples who choose not to have children. There are plenty of women who don't need more time off and are every bit as dedicated to their careers as their male counterparts. My brother's wife was able to take advantage of on-site daycare to be able to continue her career after having her children without interruption. I wouldn't call that "preferential treatment". It's something employers do to retain valuable employees. Oh, and men can take parental leave as well, in case you didn't know.

None of this had anything to do with what I wrote in the original post, of course, which was about recruiters. The companies who use these recruiters may have entirely fair hiring and employment practices and may not even realize the problem with individual recruiters.

Why are some men so terribly threatened by the idea of equal treatment and equal opportunity regardless of gender? "Michele", are you that insecure about your own skills and abilities?

David Churchland
2007-09-08 03:54:02
With respect, Caitlyn, Michele is a by no means unheard of name for girls, both within and without the Spanish-speaking community.
Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-08 11:16:41
@David: Of course Michele is a girl's name. My point was that I find it hard to believe a woman wrote what "Michele" wrote. I'm amazed that you completely missed that. Is it possible that a woman could have so bought in to gender stereotypes that she's right such a post? Possible but unlikely. I still think those posts were very thinly veiled attacks on me.
Carla Schroder
2007-09-10 12:21:14
wow, Caitlyn, you sure have a talent for bringing out the...well, I'm having a hard time thinking of a suitable term other than "trolls", which doesn't really fit. Or maybe it does.

I sure do wonder about the folks who get so foamy every time one of us derned uppity women dares to complain about being mistreated. Sorry, but I'm not going to shut up and take it. No one should. You foamy persons act like we're taking something away from you by standing up for ourselves. What are we taking away from you? Why do you get so bent over our insisting on being treated with courtesy and respect? Nothing is going to change if we don't make it happen.

Of course it's not unique to women. Online forums are chock-full of whiny unhappy trolls who criticize everyone and everything no matter what the issue is. Some folks just aren't happy until they've spread their own misery as widely as possible.

Caitlyn, one of my fave personal stories is from a few years ago. For some reason I thought I needed a job, so I sent out some resumes. I made up three batches of identical resumes, with one difference: the first batch was for Carla Schroder. The second batch was C. Schroder, and the third was Carl Schroder. I sent one of each to every company I had targeted, spaced out over several days to hopefully not be obvious. Carl went last.

The tally: out of 35 different companies, Carl got callbacks from 17. C. got 11. Carla got 3.

The Linux Journal story is not resolved yet. They have stubbornly refused to respond to anyone who has contacted them. We have contacted the members of their advisory board in hopes of actually getting a response. I'll be writing about this some more soon.

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-11 10:43:41
Carla: Thanks for your kind words and your exemplary story which again illustrates the problems we face as women in IT. Thankfully my own job search is over.
Carla Schroder
2007-09-11 14:41:10
No problem, Mr. Caitlyn. We uppity ones need to stick together. :)

I gave up trying to work for other people years ago, anyway. With freelancing I can maintain my self-respect and do actual work, instead of having to choose between butting heads with dorks, and doing actual work. When you consider how all these high-tech companies are crying the blues about skilled labor shortages, so that they simply must offshore for all they're worth, you'd think they would wake up to the other half of the population's existence.

But that's all a smokescreen anyway, because their real goal is dodging wage and hour and other labor laws. Musn't risk losing all those nice cheap no-benefits permatemps and 37-hour part-timers.

Rene Marca
2007-09-12 16:02:36
Keep up the good work Mr. Caitlyn!

I's a shame that so many men react so small-minded with the slightest insinuation that men discriminate women in todays society.
You only have to google a litle bit to see that women are actualy discriminated in todays society at large: education, employment/career, healt care, etc.
Often it's the men who calls women for men-hater are the hater(in psicologi called projection).

Caitlyn Martin
2007-09-13 08:37:15
@Rene: Please, it's Ms. Caitlyn Martin. The Mr. on Carla's post was followed by a smiley. The whole point of the post was that "Mr. Caitlyn", at least in the U.S., is ridiculous.
2008-06-09 23:26:59
It is rather curious that in Asia women programmers are far more common than in the US. This is definitely true of India and the Philippines.