Lots of well-meaning people in the tech industry are giving free things to girls. Free classes, conference tickets, hotel rooms, child care, and automatic jobs. What they are unintentionally saying is that the only way to address the gender imbalance issue, is to make it really, really easy for girls to be career programmers, if they want. And if that isn't sexism, I don't know what is.
I have wanted to be a programmer all my life, and the path to get there has been very difficult. I firmly believe that the difficulty has made me more passionate about my work, and thus a better developer.
I tried reading books. I bought a big thick Teach Yourself C++ book back in 2001, and I never made it past the second chapter. I guess I just don't learn that way. Or maybe it was a bad book. I don't know. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who suffers from insomnia.
As I've said elsewhere, my (public) high school had a vocational program, where you could learn C++ every other day, in lieu of college prep courses. My father was convinced that this was "alternative school" and refused to sign the paperwork that allowed me to go.
The Marine Corps recruiter promised that I'd learn programming at Communications School (in 29 Palms), after completing boot camp. But by the time I got there, they had discontinued that occupational specialty, in favor of using DoD contractors. So, I went into Network Administration instead.
Years later, I used my Montgomery GI Bill benefits (that I paid into) to attend ITT Tech, where the instructors are incentivized to pass everyone. Participation and homework are weighted to compensate for low test scores. By the time I figured out what was going on there, I also realized that my credits would not transfer elsewhere. Luckily, there were a couple of passionate instructors, who devised their own curriculum. But in most of my classes, we mindlessly typed source code verbatim from outdated textbooks.
So, I mostly taught myself, through trial and error, and scouring the internet. The path has been long and winding, but the rewards have been made sweeter, as a result. And I'm still on the path. I have no illusions about having arrived. Nor am I blinded to the fact that there is still so much out there I've yet to learn.
I just think we're doing these ladies a disservice by making it so easy. We're denying them a truly equal opportunity. And we're artificially inflating the market with female programmers. That road leads to ruin.
I love the Ruby community. They are positive and uplifting people (just as long as you're not standing by the bike shed). But I think their radical, liberal, and feministic views may be a little misguided. Correlation does not equal causation. And diversity for diversity's sake breeds mediocrity.