Guys may loudly rule the dark corners of the internet and be considered the “computer nerds”, but according to a new paper from Cal Poly and North Carolina State University, it’s the ladies who are kicking arse and taking names when it comes to coding.
The paper, still awaiting peer review and thus subject to all the criticism dudes will no doubt hurl at it, examined the actions of four million people who logged onto GitHub in a single day. Using SCIENCE the researchers were able to determine the gender of 1.4 millions users. They found that 78.6 per cent of pull requests made by women were accepted versus the 74.6 per cent accepted by men. That means that the code women contribute to GitHub is more likely to be accepted by their peers.
One of the reasons suggested? “Women disproportionately make contributions that projects need more urgently.”
However those requests, urgent or otherwise, are only accepted when the women don’t outright display their gender. Women with gender neutral profiles found their work accepted 71.8 per cent of the time, and that number dropped to just 62.5 per cent when their gender became readily identifiable.
According to the paper, “Women have a higher acceptance rate of pull requests overall, but when they’re outsiders and their gender is identifiable, they have a lower acceptance rate than men.”
The paper goes on to conclude what we’re all thinking: “Our results suggest that although women on Github may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.”
So there you go. Women are statistically better programmers then dudes, but the gender bias, and the systemic sexism inherent in the industry, are keeping them down.