Yes, Women Do Code — But @hardaway still misses the point.

Approximate Reading Time: 4 minutes
Businesswoman looking at computer Credit:   Tetra Images

Credit: Tetra Images

Her attempt at an apology just digs the hole deeper.

Yes women do code.

And I have found them all this week, for which I am grateful.

Hardly (on both points I expect).

I am on the board of a STEM charter school, and when I see the public schools rushing to put every child in code camp, code class, etc., I see several recipes for failure.

  1. Not everyone who learns to code will be good at it.
  2. We now have a shortage of coders, but soon we will have a glut.
  3. For women especially, learning to aim higher than simply to code, or to become literate, is not enough.

My gosh, should we really avoid teaching something to someone because they might not be good at it? REALLY? We should only teach people things if they are going to be good at it?  SERIOUSLY??? Even worse, who gets to choose who’s going to be good at something before they’ve even tried?

The “we’ll soon have a glut” argument presumes that the only reason to learn to code is so one can get a job coding. Is that why people learn English? To get jobs in what, talking?

“Learning to aim higher” – hmmm, now THAT’s insulting. What if someone (male OR female) actually LIKES coding? Is she saying that’s not good enough? Not everyone wants to be rich (which is, after all, what much “entrepreneurial” pursuit is about). I’m guessing that aiming higher means we should all want to be like her.  o_O

While I’d agree that becoming literate is not enough, I’m willing to bet that my reasons for agreeing are not the same as @hardaway’s reasons.

So I wrote the article to try to stop the herd mentality. What I meant to say in the article everyone obviously misunderstood is that there should be many paths to success in the tech industry.


I wanted to get all the other women recognized who are in the industry on the business side and have been there for years without getting enough credit for how much they do for the companies they work for. There are plenty of women in marketing, sales, and finance. They just don’t get recognized the way the software engineers have been recognized lately.

So, if I understand this argument correctly, we should not be teaching women to code because women in marketing don’t get enough recognition? That sounds kind of like telling a kid to finish her plate because children are starving in Africa. I expect better of a PhD in English.

As for women programmers are getting more recognition than women in the business end of tech, I don’t agree. Women in tech *still* aren’t getting, and never have gotten recognized the way ‘business’ women have. And, teaching women to code has nothing to do with marketing, sales, and finance (thank God).

I’m all for diversity goals, and for equal opportunity and?—?most important?—?equal respect for women.. I left Intel because I couldn’t get it, and I taught myself to code enough to know I wouldn’t ever be good at it.

OK. So, she taught herself to code and was no good at it, so now she feels qualified to say others shouldn’t learn? By that logic, I should be telling people they should not go into construction (because I taught myself to build things, and I’m not especially good at it), or any of the trades, or,…. business.

Now, I’ve had my share of discrimination based on gender (and talent), and I’ve worked at more than a few places where I did not get the respect I felt I had earned, but given @hardaway’s self-description as pushy, bossy, and polarizing, maybe, just maybe she didn’t get the respect she wanted because she hadn’t earned it. Maybe, there is no way for someone like that to get the respect they want unless they are in charge of things where they can push people around. But, I don’t know this woman, so that’s just conjecture.

That’s okay. I’ve done fine as a writer of English. Or at least I thought I had until this week, when I was so roundly misinterpreted. My bad. I should have been clearer, and less strident.

I don’t think there was a lack of clarity; the explanations here don’t actually fix anything. As for the part about being less strident, well, probably, but I didn’t actually detect any softening in the explanation, so this apology* misses the mark.

I mean ‘apology’ in the “presentation intended to justify or defend something” sense.

Thank you “ladies. “I admire all of you and I’m happy you chose to speak out.

I’m still trying to figure out the intent of the placement of the double quotes in the above statement. For someone who holds 3 degrees in English, this seems curious. If it’s a typo, then a bit of proof-reading might be helpful. If she meant to say “ladies”, then that’s kind of insulting. Let’s take the more charitable stance and assume it was jut a typo.

This is really not someone I’d ever want to advise people on issues of STEM. She may see recipes for failure in what public schools are doing when it comes to STEM, and I’ll happily admit there are many things that could be improved, but the attitudes displayed in Hardaway’s post (and the previous one) only make things worse.

Be the first to like.

Leave a Reply