re: Things Nobody Told Me About Being a Software Engineer VIEW POST

re: I am very curious to know how gender, ethnicity and wardrobe affect the perception of someone's code.

Study finds gender bias in open-source programming

Basically PRs submitted by women are more likely to be accepted if the gender is not known. If the gender is known, then they are less likely to be accepted.

"Our results indicate that gender bias does exist in open-source programming," Murphy-Hill says. "The study also tells us that, in general, women on GitHub are strong programmers. We don't think that's because gender affects one's programming skills, but likely stems from strong self-selection among women who submit pull requests on the site.


Just one remark here, there is (at least in my city) one woman programmer per 10 men programmers. I suspect that this might be a part of the reason why there are less woman PRs than mans PRs, if we were equal in number (and should be) this study would be relevant, but right now I don't think that it represents the correct situation fully.
Also, the differences here was -4.1% for all female pull requests, -3% for identifiable female pull requests, and +5% for non-identifiable female pull requests.

Those are pretty small differences.

I suspect that if you compared two subsets of the data with some obviously irrelevant characteristic such as men with beards and men without beards, you'd find the same statistical fluctuations.

If we were studying particle physics this large an effect would be relevant, but people are more complex than particles. A 3, 4, or 5% variation in behavior could be a mostly random chance.

Opinion polls are taken with samples of 1000 people usually have margins of error of about the same magnitude as the "bias" found in this study.

Hi Darkø, fair point.

But I think there is valid data in there: 58% of acceptance rate if you are easily detectable as a woman, against 70% of women with gender neutral profiles. That's outside the range of error.

One study is not enough to make an iron clad case but if you measure it against women's experience (just talk to them) you'll notice a pattern of their gender being a factor in perception.

And it seems to be happening also to trans men:

I know, a few cases don't make a fool proof opinion, but if you check you'll quickly notice a pattern of women being judged as less worthy "just because"


So you'd trust an anecdote over real data and studies?

The lack of empathy inherent in "I haven't personally experienced ______ so it doesn't exist" is deeply upsetting, really.

Well the article implies the author learned all this stuff through experience. It isn't titled "Things I read about in reports about the IT industry"

Also I said I have not heard of ONE case of this happening outside of "studies". Even one.

So again: if it didn't happen to you personally, it doesn't happen to anyone. Makes sense.

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