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New study says women are more competent coders than men

Maryam Dodhy Written by Maryam Dodhy · 1 min read>
Woman Coders

For centuries now, women have been under-estimated in their level of intellect and expertise. But this latest study suggests otherwise. The study conducted by a group of researchers suggests that female coders may be more competent than what we give them credit for.

The study, titled Gender Bias in Open Source: Pull Request Acceptance of Women Versus Men, was conducted by six Computer Science researchers from Caltech and North Carolina State University. Their research was performed on a subset of 4 million Github users that logged in on 1st April 2015. Github is an online repository for coders to critique and collaborate on coding projects.

The main aim of their research was to point out gender bias in the world of computer programming. On Github, some people make their gender public and some don’t. For that reason, using what they called a “novel gender linking technique”, they were able to identify the gender of 35% of those people which rounds up to about 1.4 million. The researchers have accepted the fact that this is privacy violation but vowed not to make any of the data public.

Also Read: This female engineer is challenging gender stereotypes with #ILookLikeAnEngineer

The researchers performed an analysis of pull requests – suggested changes to an existing piece of code submitted by another user. Their findings indicate that the code submitted by women were accepted 78.6% of the time. For men that number sits at 74.6%, fairly pointing out women as more competent. But the story doesn’t end there.

Gender bias is as prevalent in the world of Computer Science as anywhere else in the world. The researchers also found out something that is interesting and also disappointing at the same time. When female coders made their gender public, their code acceptance rate dropped to 62.5%. There is drop for men too but not as significant.

The research has not yet been peer-reviewed and so it will definitely be subject to a lot of criticism from the male population. But nonetheless it is very thorough. To further support their findings, the authors went on to say that women’s acceptance rate dominate men for every programming language in the top ten.

The situation has improved over the years. Women are inclined towards technology now more than ever. But despite several high profile initiatives, women still face gender bias and companies are faced with gender disparity allegations. And this latest study only proves that the world of open source is no better.

Source — The Guardian

Written by Maryam Dodhy
I love bringing to light stories of extraordinary people working in Pakistan's tech and startup industry. You can reach out to me through Profile