DemoCamp Gender Bias

Jennifer McCarthy tables the issues of gender bias at DemoCamp events. I don't think anyone would disagree with Jennifer that every DemoCamp is biased towards men. Jennifer believes that our stereotypes of men and women in technology are the basis and that "We are all well aware of the idea that men are simply better at math and computers then women".

Now call me naive, but I've never heard the stereotype put this way before. I would rather characterize it as men like gadgets more. This is a personal observation rather than fact but if true, its amplified by DemoCamp as it's partly a gadget demo before a product demo.

When I attended Mesh, my business partner Jay pointed out the much more balanced ratio of women to men as is generally viewed in technology related conferences. I agreed but realized that Mesh was marketed not just to technology but at media, marketing and business in general as the name suggests.

Imbalanced gender ratios in technology are nothing new. I would be surprised if there were more than five women in my graduating computer science class. The issue is why. What are the aspects of technology as is that doesn't not attract as many women as men?

If we wish to make DemoCamp more attractive to women we have to ask what aspects other than the dearth of men are making the event undesirable. I would suggest that DemoCamp requires a more holistic approach factoring in product applications, design and marketing. Unfortunately because of the format of DemoCamp we can't enforce this but it can certainly be encouraged by questions from the audience. We can force the presenters to address issues beyond the "coolness" of their product and focus on the applications and implications.

Am I even close here or am I falling into the same stereotypical observations that my male colleagues are?