It’s often guys we think of when someone says “computer nerds” and they are considered to be the undisputed lords of the dark corners of the internet. But there’s a new research that has finally balanced the gender fight for brain power.
According to researchers at Cal Poly and North Carolina State University, the ladies kick more butts when it comes to coding. The paper on the matter is still awaiting peer review, so the guys will soon get their swing at its credibility.
Researchers analyzed the actions of four million people who accessed GitHub with an account over the course of one day, on April 1, 2015. GitHub is one of the largest and most popular creators of software, boasting to have contributed to more than 31 million projects.
The team was able to determine the gender of 1.4 million users by either checking their profiles or by connecting their email addresses to social media.
Interestingly, users accepted 4 percent more code contributions – also known as pull requests – completed by women than by men (78.6 percent vs. 74.6 percent).
In other words, code made by women and subscribed to GitHub has a higher acceptance rate than what their peers come up with. The paper also suggested that one of the reasons behind this difference is the fact that “women disproportionately make contributions that projects need more urgently.”
What’s more disturbing, is that regardless of the requests’ urgent factor, the code created by women was accept only when they didn’t “outright display their gender.”
Women who kept their profiles gender neutral had a 71.8 percent acceptance rate, but when their gender was more readily identifiable, that number took a dive to just 62.5 percent. This tendency was similar in the case of men, but the effect not nearly as strong.
So the matter of the fact is that women are indeed better at coding, but they are still considered as outsiders in the IT field. The paper’s conclusion sums up what we’re all thinking: “Our results suggest that although women on Github may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.”
In spite of the many initiatives started by tech firms, this gender diversity problem is encountered almost universally. Even Facebook and Google, two of the biggest names in the field, still have a long way to go, as women take up only 15 and 17 percent respectively of their technical staff.
So it almost doesn’t matter that women are statistically better programmers than men, because gender bias – and the existing sexism that keeps rearing its head in the industry – are still keeping them down.
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