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怎样才能培养出女版乔布斯

Poornima Vijayashanker 2014年01月08日

技术创业者的队伍中之所以少有女性的身影,深层次的原因有很多,不是教会女性学会编程就能解决的。它需要个人、社会和全世界在各个层面通过长期的共同努力,消除阻碍女性发展的壁垒,同时给予她们必要的支持。

    作为一种假说,摩尔定律提出,集成电路上的晶体管的数量每两年就会翻倍。这样我们就完全可以认为,这个翻倍的效果也会让处理器的速度加倍,因为芯片上晶体管多了,处理器也必须更快才行。

    不过,要想无限提高芯片的速度,不是说拼命往芯片上塞晶体管就行了。计算速度还离不开内存容量等因素,同时也受到磁盘速度等要素的限制。

    正如我们不能为了无限提高处理器速度而往芯片上多堆晶体管一样,也不能仅仅通过让更多女性进入工程学院和编程学院就指望下一个马克•扎克伯格能够应运而生。扎克伯格只用了大约七年的时间就打造了一个价值10亿美元以上的公司。就算是选拔那些从青少年时期就开始黑客生涯的女性也是不够的(这样的女性确实存在,本人就是其中之一,而我这代人中这样的人还不少)。

    如果真的打算造就一位女版马克(或者女版的斯蒂夫•乔布斯、杰夫•贝佐斯、埃隆•穆斯克等科技英才),同时出于讨论的目的让我假设这确实是个很有价值的事业,那就需要在很多方面有所改变。光教会女性如何编程是远远不够的。

    改变心态

    请包涵一下我爱用历史掌故打比方的习惯。1865年,美国政府正式废除了奴隶制。尽管这确实是一个巨大的成就,但对非裔美国人来说,它所提供的只是一定程度的经济自由。85年后他们仍然因为种族隔离制度被视为二等公民。直到20世纪50年代种族隔离制度才宣告终止,又直到2008年才有了第一位民选的非裔美国总统。掐指一算,非裔美国人获得平等的政治地位用了整整143年!

    遗憾的是,女性直到1920年才获得投票权。在这之后,一直到20世纪50年代和60年代,社会才开始重视培养女性上大学。不过就算是这样,当时女性进入职场、婚育后继续留在工作岗位上还是被人们看成是怪事;而这恰恰表明女性要么经济状况不佳,要么缺乏社会支持。

    因此,尽管女性和少数民族享有自由的口号一直喊得震天响,但实际状况的改变却始终步履迟缓。

    实实在在的改变意味着必须积极推出能让人们获得自由的举措,而这既需要教育,也离不开社会实践,只有这样才能破除陈规陋习。

    我得措辞谨慎地指出,西方社会好不容易懂得了让女性接受教育的价值,但现在是时候向一些社会陋习宣战了。

    Moore's law, which is really a conjecture, states that the number of transistors on an integrated circuit doubles every two years. It is safe to presume that this doubling effect also doubles processor speeds, because having more transistors on a chip means faster processors.

    However, you cannot just cram more transistors onto a chip in order to double its speed indefinitely. Computing speed is also based on things such as memory capacity and it is limited by factors such disk speed.

    Just as you cannot cram more transistors onto a chip in order to double processor speeds indefinitely, you cannot expect that simply adding more women to engineering colleges and code academies will produce a Mark Zuckerberg, who will go on to build a billion-dollar company in roughly seven years. Even having women who have been hacking since they were teenagers isn't enough (and mind you these women do exist, I am one of them, and there are more than a handful of others in my generation).

    Now if the goal is to produce a female version of Mark (or Steve, Jeff, Elon, etc.), and for the sake of argument I'll assume that this is a worthy cause, it's going to take change on many levels. Teaching women how to code isn't enough.

    Change in Mindset

    Please bear with me as I draw an analogy using history. In 1865 the U.S. government abolished slavery. While this was an achievement, it only afforded some level of economic freedom to African Americans. Nearly 85 years later they were still being treated as second-class citizens via segregation. It wasn't until the 1950s that segregation ended, and it wasn't until 2008 that we elected our first African American president. Doing the math it took 143 years before African American were supposedly on equal political footing!

    Unfortunately, women weren't afforded the right to vote until 1920. Even after that, it wasn't until the late 1950s and 1960s that society valued educating women at the university level but, even then, entering the workforce and actually staying in it after marriage and having children was considered an anomaly; it was a sign of having limited financial means or social support.

    Hence while freedom for women and minorities was proclaimed, the status quo was slow to change.

    Actual change means having to vigilantly put forth practices to enable people to exercise their freedoms, and that requires a combination of education and social practices, which will eradicate social norms.

    I'll be careful in stating that in Western societies, we finally believe in valuing education for women, but we now have to turn to social practices.

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