So what if there is a lack of women in IT? There is a lack of men in Human Resources and child care. Why is it an issue? Why does our society need to be specially engineered to reflect demographics in some industries and not in other.
Having said that, I don't believe such remarks should have a place in any professional conference.
It's not about "society" it's about IT. I don't have a moral reason to make all genders equal or whatever. I just want more women in IT because A) we need more people in IT in general and B) women have different kinds of interests, influences, and experiences in our society and it would be good to add those to our collective problem-solving pool.
I disagree that there aren't enough people in IT. What I makes me annoyed is that there are many, many talented women who could be in IT or CS but who don't participate because of sexism or hostility in the workplace ecause of their gender.
It's not a matter of "lighten up". It's a matter of "stop being sexist and hostil to women". The onus is not on the victim to change her behaviour, but rather very much on the transgressors!
Both my mother and wife work in the health field and both are always going on about all the hostility that goes on in the workplace, to the point that they are both ready to leave – some of their colleagues have already done so for the same reasons. Yet, the health industry remains a place where a lot of women are drawn to work in it.
I'm not trying to justify the actions of people in IT. I'm all for it to become the paragon for the treatment of women and set the standard for the rest of the working world. However, I'm not sure IT is unique in this regard so it does not really explain why woman are drawn away into other, just as hostile, professions.