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Are Women Better Coders?

GitHub is an online service that is used to share open source programming with other users of the service all over the world. It is an excellent platform through which developers can share and collaborate on ideas to build software, programs, apps, games, and more. And recent studies of GitHub’s user generated code quality has revealed that women tend to write better code than men.

Women have been taking on many more roles in the past couple decades, levelling the playing field when it comes to, well, just about everything. The coding scene, which has been primarily led by men the world over since the dawn of the computer age, is now finding that women are exceptionally gifted coders. An analysis of the acceptance rate for written code on GitHub has revealed that while women were better at writing the actual code, there was still a bias against them ­­­ but only if their gender was known.

The researchers from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and North Carolina State University wrote a paper titled “ Gender Bias in Open Source: Pull Request Acceptance of Women vs Men ” that detailed their findings. A “pull request” is the preferred way of submitting contributions to an open­ source development project. In essence, it could be a section of code written from the ground up or a corrected set of code that improves functionality.

When pull requests are submitted anonymously, they are ranked on their accuracy and quality. When the code’s writer has a readily visible profile (be it from user­ volunteered data on their own profile or by using emails to find social media accounts), they were more likely to be appraised based on the gender of the code writer. Self identified women had their code rejected more often than self identified men, regardless of code quality, but when the code submission had no readily available gender information, the higher quality code was accepted more. According to the statistics of this research, which analyzed 1.4 million users over the course of one day, found that 78.6% of the code written by women was accepted vs 74.6% of the code written by men..

Women are becoming a driving force in many aspects of business and entrepreneurship that were previously dominated by men, but the growth is slow. Even among two of the biggest tech giants out there, Facebook and Google, only 16% and 18% of their respective staffs are women. If we can get by the gender bias, we can introduce more quality coders into the world of development and take coding to a whole new level.


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