Gender bias

Women are better coders than men … but not perceived as such, study finds

(LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)

New research by computer scientists suggest that women actually write better code than men, but their code is judged more harshly when reviewers knew that a woman wrote it. The study found that women who proposed changes to open-source software (so-called “pull requests”) on coding platform GitHub were more likely than men to have their work accepted: 78.6 percent of women, compared to 74.6 percent of men. The researchers looked into the reasons for why women’s work was more readily accepted, and found that it wasn’t because they were solving more urgent problems, or were writing simpler code, but simply because their code was better.  When they looked at how the reviewers accepted pull requests when it was clear that a woman had written the code, however, they were more likely to be rejected than men. “Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless,” the researchers wrote in their study. While this study has not yet been peer-reviewed, it wouldn’t be the first one to reveal a bias against women’s work. Inc.com cites a study that showed that research papers were reviewed more favorably when they appeared to have been written by men, and another which showed that while woman receive better performance reviews at their jobs, they are less likely to be considered for a promotion.

Read the full story at Inc.

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