When a woman writes code, it is approved by experts at a higher rate than code written by men.
However, when experts know the code was written by a woman, as opposed to an anonymous (seemingly male) figure, the approval rate drops.
Recent GitHub data shows that anonymous female-written code boasts a 78.6% approval rate, as opposed to the male-written code approval rate of 74.6%. When the anonymity is no longer there, the results of GitHub’s study shows “that although women on GitHub may be more competent [than men] overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.”
These findings come as no surprise to Lisa French, engineer and co-founder of Nashville Women Programmers. “As a woman, I feel that I start at a disadvantage because of people’s perceptions of women in programming,” French said in a compelling interview with Broadly.
Because of the negativity geared towards women who code, French feels extra pressure to perform her work as flawlessly as possible. To her, men are socialized to know it’s okay to make mistakes, especially in a male-dominated field like programming. Women, however, hold a more precarious spot in the industry. “I think guys feel empowered and okay with not having to have all the answers, and many women are taught from an early age to not put themselves out there or fail,” she said.