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Women Are Better Coders Than Men But Are Only Acknowledged When Their Gender Remains Unknown

Women might be better coders than men but their talent will only be acknowledged if their gender remains unknown, says new study published in the journal Peer J. Yes, the world is unjust.

female coders

The most precious things in this world will be misunderstood — can we expect anything else for women? No matter how undeniable the true nature of women is (that is, their complementari-ness to men as well as their unparalleled abilities), the world is bent on diluting her power and intelligence just because her strength is not like the strength of men. She remains the unwilling victim of gender bias as proved by a new study .

In an attempt to determine whether the stark imbalance in the world of computer science encourages sexism in the field of study, the group of researchers set out to investigate the reactions to women coders at a software community, GitHub. Women used to show greater interest in computer science than their males counterparts before becoming outnumbered by them; the latter eventually dominated the field such that most computer users and coders came to be men. What are the causes and ramifications of this changing trend? Is this prejudice against women that has decreased their number?

To test an aspect of this, the researchers started with the hypothesis that coders would show undue criticism to code written by females. The community of GitHub comprises millions of people who can request for a code (pull request) needed for some project of theirs. The researchers studied the pull requests to find out whether male or female coders were more accepted. Their results show that code written by women gained approval at a higher rate than that authored by men (78.6% against 74.6%).

Women are thus, apparently, better coders than men. The researchers ruled out several other possible reasons that could be accounting for this such as whether the women would only be better in coding languages that were more common and whether they were already famous in their field of work. Rather, regardless of this, their coding acceptance rates would outshine men’s in the top 10 programming languages, from Java to C.

If this was a good news, wait to hear out another aspect of the finding. These female coders would only have their codes accepted if their gender remained unknown. On the other hand, when they were actually identified as females, the overall rate of pull request acceptance went from 78.6% to 62.5%. This great fall suggests that women might be the victims of discrimination — according to this study, women are better coders but bear the burden of the prejudice of others.


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