One for My SQL Sisters

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Women, for the entire male half of the population, I apologize.

Those who know me well recognize, pretty easily, that I am hardly “politically correct.” My mode of address can be blunt and even rude. But… I think it’s also recognized that I’m very even-handed with my blunt statements. Female or male, if you have in some way crossed me, I’m generally pretty clear about letting you know. So while I absolutely have prejudices (and I won’t get into what I think mine are), they are not around Male/Female abilities. Yes, there are differences between the sexes coming from a million+ years of biology and Darwinism, but by & large, especially when talking about cognitive abilities, we’re evenly matched.

In the computing world, I’m an “old guy.” With three or four exceptions (and you know who I mean) when in a group in the SQL Server community I’m usually one of the oldest. I’m coming from multiple decades in computing. Further, I spent another decade plus outside of computing in the working world. I’ve worked with and worked for, learned from and taught, a very large number of people over all those years. Many would ask, “Lordy dude, how in heck are you still so dense?” Ignoring that for a moment, I have managed to learn a few things in all that time. One of the things I’ve learned is that no one group has cornered the market on stupidity or genius. As an example, I had a manager who was a glorious leader and mentor that I would have marched through fire for. It just so happens she was a she and that fact had nothing to do with her ability to lead, teach, program or manage, from absolute authority on the technical aspects of the job.

I bring this up because of the event referenced in Steve Jones recent editorial. Read that now.

I’m with Steve. I’m just stunned. Stunned, angry and ashamed. Stunned because I keep thinking that surely people who use their brains all the time are capable of a little more thought. Angry because I know so many magnificent, capable, learned, TECHNICAL, women that I’ve learned from (Kim, Kalen, Jes, Karen, Kathi, Jen, Jen again, Gail, Erin, Vicky, I can keep going) making this statement utterly asinine. Ashamed because once more an unsavory individual  is making us, men, look like idiots (and some of us do a fine job of that on our own, thank you very much).

To the individual who did this. This attitude is unacceptable. It’s wrong. If  you’re in charge of a user group, step down. Get out of the way. Your attitude is not wanted in this community. Hell, it’s not wanted in polite society. Your beliefs are vile. Be a real man. Apologize for what you did. Your user group doesn’t share your beliefs even if you think they do. In fact, there are women in your user group, aren’t there. It’s pretty unlikely they share your ignorant, prejudiced, backward attitude. You have no excuse.

Other guys. Don’t. Just don’t.

Again, I apologize for this. He is NOT representative of this excellent group of people that we refer to as SQL Family.


  • James Fogel

    Don’t apologize for all men or that clown. It goes without saying he is wrong and speaks for himself and only himself. He should be slapped around by someone such as Gail Shaw. She’d kick his butt in the datacenter and the street.

  • G Bryant McClellan

    Just what we need…some moron to move us back into the stone age.

    I am with both of you. But I am a little beyond stunned, bordering on pissed. Like you, Grant, I’m one of those old guys. I’ve been in IT since the mid 80’s and SQL since the early 90’s. And I don’t need to ask what everyone else sees as my shortcomings. But I have never and will never think this way. Perhaps it is good that Steve didn’t reveal the name. He would have been pilloried (I think that is an old guy term) by this time.

  • James Fogel

    I guess that clown chooses to ignore the true history of women in computing. From the early day women have been on the front lines. I’m not offended by this guy’s sexism. I’m offended by the ignorance of facts.

  • Allen White mentioned this post last night at our post-user group hangout, and I was beyond words. Actually, it was more like “let me at ’em! I wanna show him how very wrong he is. I’d love to hit him with my PowerShell book, especially with the appendix that I wrote showing how to build PowerShell stuff with C#. Women not being technical, my…”.

    I hope there are technical women in this guy’s area who can put him in his place. Closed-minded jerks like him don’t deserve to be in tech, as the industry really is a melting pot of cultures and backgrounds.

    How frustrating!

  • Ha! I’d pay good money to watch you beat someone with your PowerShell book.

    I agree though, it is frustrating. Prejudice, of any and all kinds, will never, ever, go away. You always just hope that the more virulent forms of it are not being practiced by people you know. Frustrating and sad to be so disappointed.

  • Morticia

    It’s really good that people like you and Steve are highlighting this kind of dinosaur attitude, which is fairly prevalent and sadly not just among ‘old guys’.

  • Vanessa

    Well, I’m not terribly surprised that the sexist attitude still exists, and I’m not surprised that there are plenty of men who do NOT have this attitude, so I agree that you don’t need to apologize for all men. We understand. And for the record, we have 7 devs at my company, 4 of them women, including the Lead Dev/Architect, and we ALL kick a** (including the 3 guys). 🙂

  • Dave Schutz

    As a chapter leader and SQL Saturday leader I don’t know how I’d get enough speakers if I excluded the excellent women in our SQL Family. We also have a number of women who participate in our user group and add great value. If that idiot doesn’t think women give technical sessions he should come to PASS Summit and see all the great sessions by both men and women.

OK, fine, but what do you think?