Warning! Any relationship with HR and Talent in this post is going to be accidental.
I was complaining about something yesterday to a friend and he suggested that it might be time for a blog entry. Entirely possible this was a “change the subject and shut her up” tactic, but I decided to take him literally anyway.
As a bit of background, I should confess that I’m not a particularly good representative for the female norm. While I do understand some stereotypically female things such as how a “charger” could relate to a table setting vs. just electronic devices, many traditional female “strengths” are lacking for me.
For example, I have always preferred sleep over complex grooming rituals, I have never enjoyed talking on the phone, I prioritize foot comfort in shoe selection and [gasp] I do not enjoy anything about shopping.
In addition, I really can’t complain about personal discrimination. Any “glass ceiling” that I have experienced in my professional life has to be attributed to my gift for inserting my foot into my mouth, more than any bias against my gender. As a general rule, working in high tech is a good place for a woman to be, maybe since there are so few of us, general expectations tend to be low… probably should think about that, but don’t plan to today.
I was, however, surprised to find that the Oracle OpenWorld conference had a very strong gender bias. I was surprised by this since I personally saw a good attendance of females at the conference. I know we were there because I was actively using the conference as personal fashion research (Was the short skirt and tall boots a good choice? Turns out yes.) and I didn’t have any trouble finding a representative sample.
So, why was it that the restrooms at Moscone were configured (yes it was news to me as well that there was the ability to configure the restrooms) to have a significantly smaller number of women’s stalls than men’s stalls? Those of us who had the misfortune to wait in line for facilities were left wondering, was this a bias based on registration numbers? Or had those who planned the conference not heard about the Women’s Restroom Equity Bill?
Then there was the question of the Cow Palace (the venue of the concert/appreciation party). While standing in the line after the concert this topic came up. One person in line suggested that since this building was old, maybe it was built before … suggesting it was built before people have been made aware of the need to have a different male-to-female ratio in facility planning. But, my sharp colleague who was standing next to me asked the wise question of “what? the building was constructed before there were women?”
So, I ask the question, should I just realize that tech conferences at Oracle have a male bias? Or, should I add this to the list of things that women need achieve in technology? Makes me wonder if a similar restroom bias exists in SAP conferences? Apple Conferences? Anyone know?