Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Monday 7/3/2005It's not exactly IT, but Boeing chief executive Harry Stonecipher has been given the boot for playing park the jumbo with a female manager further down the corporate structure. This may have repercussions beyond aviation.

Monday 7/3/2005

It's not exactly IT, but Boeing chief executive Harry Stonecipher has been given the boot for playing park the jumbo with a female manager further down the corporate structure. This may have repercussions beyond aviation. Public morality is big business in the US right now, so big business must be publicly moral - and that will curtail one of IT upper management's favourite hobbies.

For example. Elsewhere in Seattle, Melinda "Mrs Bill" Gates was plucked from the ranks, as it were. She used to be the project manager for Microsoft Bob, so it's hard to argue that the company was harmed by her retasking to a different kind of user experience. And while no hint of suspicion clings to Bill's post-marital behaviour, there are plenty of rumours to be had regarding any number of other ranking executives in the industry. It's a mystery - what on earth can drive people with highly competitive alpha-male personalities, equipped with vast amounts of money, opportunity and energy, into dalliances with attractive women? Thank goodness such types will be drummed out of IT.

Actually, they'd better hurry if they want the opportunity. According to Prof Deb Armstrong at the University of Arkansas - a state that knows a thing or two about philandering potentates - the number of women in IT is diminishing rapidly. In 1996, the feminine gender made up 41 percent of the IT workforce, but by 2002 it was down to 35 percent and the drop-off is accelerating. That's not to be blamed on predatory behaviour by the suits, though: IT's constant demands on updated skills and unsocial hours make it particularly unfriendly for families - so attempting to curb salacious activity behind the monitors isn't going to do much good here either.

In the end, I'm inclined to agree with entertaining blogger Harry Hutton, to whom I bequeath the last word on testosterone-driven downfalls.

"The only civilized reaction to this type of thing is a patient shrug. Every adult must at some point have paused during some slapstick piece of debauchery and thought, "Christ, this is ridiculous". Having testicles is like being chained to the village idiot; sad, but there it is. And when we have solved every racial, political and economic problem, we will still be stuck with that one."