Why do women lag men in high-tech?

The answer to the above question (posed in the Jan. issue, pg. 24) is simple. Women are smarter than men. They avoid high-tech like the plague!

There was a time that women were considering high-tech and IT in particular in greater number, partly encouraged by larger organizations dangling positions to beef up numbers on the basis of misguided gender equality rather than performance notions.

My anecdotal evidence suggests that many women have eschewed IT in favour of fields that offer more stable career prospects. I cannot blame them. IT may be rewarding for some. But three years after the dot-com bust I still read in Internet forums about many seasoned professionals, mostly men, having a tough time landing a job. Given the short shelf life of knowledge in high tech, it is not surprising that many women are seeking more promising venues.

Name withheld by request

A toothy question

Regarding the question “Would you hire a hacker?” (Trendlines, Feb, pg 8)… it’s sort of like putting a wolf in charge of the hen-house. Try explaining that one to your customers after an event.

Bruce Galbraith, Rousseau Controls Inc., Pointe Claire, Quebec

The last word on spam

I hope I am not too late to comment on the issues you raised about spam and the responses you received (Nov, pg 4, and Jan, pg 8). I share your passion about spam.

Spam exists because we all have made it easy for aggressive and all too often unscrupulous marketers and criminals to get our e-mail addresses. We are all frustrated by it, but so far the fix that is most popular, spam filters, sift through e-mail using generic rules, put suspected messages in a junk e-mail box, and depending upon the rules, anywhere from 4 to 38% of these e-mails are incorrectly labeled as spam – so we have to go through all our mail anyway!

Everyone complains about spam, but few want to invest real time or effort to prevent it.

We need to take the offensive. Use tools that will prevent spam from happening in the first place. The best way to do that is not to give your e-mail address to those you don’t know – and not necessarily even to those whom you think you know!

I’ve come across a product called My Privacy Policy ( that provides a unique, virtual e-mail address to be used (instead of your real e-mail address) for each site that requires an e-mail address. Its innovation is that I control how mail is received by me, since I, and not some third party service or filter, set the rules. When something comes to my virtual address that is not from the site where I registered, it is blocked completely or sent with a warning – my choice. I now have control of my Inbox. In passing, I also will know if my “trusted” site partners with spammers by selling my address. If so, I can take my business elsewhere.

Yes, it takes a little work on my part when I set up a relationship on the Internet, but if someone steals or is sold my virtual address, they don’t get my identity and I don’t get spam. I keep my privacy. This is definitely an interesting solution. It doesn’t solve the problems of the past – perhaps changing one’s e-mail address is necessary, just as changing one’s phone number is required to escape harassing/obscene phone calls – but it is certainly helping me with the present and the future.

Edward Arditti, Vice-President, Wyndham Hall Consulting, Windsor, Ont.