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The bias against women in tech [editorial]

(OPINION EDITORIAL) Although it should be a no-brainer that women are just as capable as men at doing literally anything, our rampantly sexist society still needs science to endlessly cough up research to prove the point.

women in tech working woman

More on the gender gap in tech

Women continue to face discrimination and pay gaps when working the tech industry. A measly 16 percent of Facebook’s tech staff, and 18 percent of Google’s, are women.

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Although it should be a no-brainer that women are just as capable as men at doing literally anything, our rampantly sexist society still needs science to endlessly cough up research to prove the point.

Analyzing Github users

A new study confirms not only the sexist bias against women in technology, but also shows that women may be even better than men at coding.

Researchers from the computer science department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and North Carolina State University analyzed users on Github, and open source program-sharing service. They analyzed the 1.4 million users who logged onto Github on April 1, 2015.

Github doesn’t ask users for their genders, although the researchers were able to categorize users by gender using their profile information and sometimes the Google Plus accounts associated with their email addresses. In order to ensure the privacy of users, they will not be releasing any raw data.

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Newsflash: Women are competent

The study looked at pull requests – which is when a Github user suggests a coding change for the service.

They found that, when users genders were unknown, pull requests by women were actually slightly more likely to be accepted than those submitted by men.

A full 78.6 percent of pull requests written by women were accepted, compared to 74.6 percent of pull requests written by men, even when controlling for other factors – but that was only when the gender of the person making the pull request was unknown.

Women’s acceptance rates dropped to 62.5 when their gender was made known on their profile.

There was accompanying drop in acceptance rate when men’s genders were known as well, although not nearly as dramatic as the drop for women, suggesting a sexist bias against women coders.

Tech resurgence for women

Such studies may be helpful in proving to the tech industry that they are seriously missing out on some of the world’s top talent by discriminating against women.

Computer science professor Dr. Sue Black told BBC, “I think we are going to see a resurgence of interest from women in not only coding but all sorts of tech-related careers over the next few years…Knowing that women are great coding gives strength to the case that its’ better for everyone have more women working in tech.”

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Dr. Black also gave a shout out to Ada Lovelace, the woman who invented software, reminding us that coding wouldn’t even exist without the creativity and innovation of a woman.

#WomenInTech

Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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