The Instrumental Bias of the Male

I have been paying a lot of attention to Software Development – the one place our economy that is alive and flourishing. Occasionally, the people there have noted that there aren’t many women in their midst – but they have not spent much time wondering why. I have.

I have the advantage of looking at them from the outside – from Costa Rica, where I now live – after spending 20 years in the Computer Industry in California.

My observations are based on one fact – that women are different from men – fundamentally different. And not just in their biology – only they can have babies. But also in their general outlook. They are more social, and less interested in using tools to get ahead.

Referring to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged – I see what I am looking for in Instrumentalism:

A conception that the significant factor of a thing is its value as an instrument; specifically :  the doctrine that ideas are instruments of action and that their usefulness determines their truth.

This is most clearly seen in warfare – where men are eager to use the latest tools for them to win. Women have been content to remain in the background – and let their men do their fighting for them. They are not too choosy about the means their men use to get ahead – they will simply enjoy the results.

And Business has been War – not the nicest human interaction, but the most successful. An integral part of the Industrial Revolution and Capitalism.

Software Development has been divided into two camps – those who support the war between companies – and those who want to make software better. Some efforts support both.

Cisco, for example, supports the development of Java computer language – that benefits everyone. It does so reluctantly, however, because it inherited the language when it acquired Sun Microsystems. It is being forced to be a good guy – when it would rather be a bad guy.

But let me return to the main point. Women are still being left on the sidelines – because their special skills are not needed in the world of Business. There are exceptions, of course – but they remain exceptions.


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