It’s rare that I go on a rant but…
I was pretty disappointed by what I saw on the ABC (Australia) program The Drum this afternoon.
Former military officer and transgender Cate McGregor was discussing the defence white paper released today and in particular the recruitment of people to fill positions related to cyber security.
When detailing the type of person that they would need to recruit she smirked describing them as:
“Living like a vampire in their Mum’s basement”
“Not on the Meyer-Briggs scale of the natural extroverted born leader, type A personality that military organisations have tried to recruit”
She went on to describe them as “socially isolated”, “eccentric”, “play with computers all day”, “keep funny hours” and “probably wouldn’t pass a military PT test”
As someone who has been on the receiving end of a fair bit of prejudge herself, I’m extremely disappointed that she would fall back to using such hackneyed stereotypes of people in the IT industry.
It should be noted that this was taking place in a discussion about the “difficulty finding the right people to do this type of work”. Good luck recruiting them now. Not only is this demeaning to future recruits, but to serving military personnel working on IT systems (of which I once was).
I really expected better from a former senior officer and someone who has been on the receiving end of a lot of prejudice herself.
The portrayal of these IT stereotypes needs to stop if it is ever going to solve its current diversity issues and make it an attractive career for all. This applies way beyond the military.