There Is No Cat

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Wednesday, July 24, 2002

Nurturing One's Self Through Computer Security

Dori Smith is troubled by the existence of this technical conference, attendance at which is restricted to women. Laura and I discussed this last weekend when she received an e-mail about it. She thought it was so outlandish that it was a joke. But after looking at the web site, we concluded that they were serious, and it wasn't a forgery or something. The worst bit, and the part that made Laura think it was a joke, was this, which also appears on the front page of the conference site:

[W]e are having special sessions of Birds of a Feather (BOFs) that will focus on self-expression and self-nurturing to improve the quality of life when you return to the workplace.

I'm sure there are technical aspects of self-nurturing, but I suspect that discussion of them belongs at a completely different type of conference.

Posted at 6:22 AM

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Note: I’m tired of clearing the spam from my comments, so comments are no longer accepted.

WTF? This makes no sense. Yes, I understand that there are few women in IT - and fewer in computer security. And yes, it would be nice to get together with other IT women and talk tech. But this is just plain odd.

I think it's even stranger that they mention "return to the workplace"...

Is the BOF for pregnant women? I still don't see why the entire conference is women-only. Are they sleeping in tents or something?

And the "explanation" is from a man. When the glass is half full, he's probably a well-intentioned "sensitive, new-age guy" or something. When the glass is half empty, he's patronizing and trying to give "the little woman" a leg up on the field.

I wonder how many women are going to suspect that the quality of training is lesser than normal? Are the topics at a more basic level? Will sending a woman to this conference enable a corporation (in their mind) to fulfill their equality obligation and justify sending the men to other (better, more advanced) courses?

I just don't get it... *shrug*

Posted by BlueWolf at 12:05 AM, July 26, 2002 [Link]

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"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."

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