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Do women write better code?

 
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ICYMI, there was a paper released which stated that code written by women on GitHub had a higher acceptance rate than that written by men.

This was then taken by the BBC (amongst other outlets) and translated into women are better at writing code! Talk about "bad science".

I found this to be a lot more of a measured analysis of the research.

http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/02/12/before-you-get-too-excited-about-that-github-study/

In my personal opinion, men are statistically better at logical and numerical reasoning. Women are statistically better at things like languages. This is most likely due to the way we evolved and the different roles men and women played. Men needed to be able to solve problems for the tribe to survive and so they developed better skills in these areas. Women needed to be able to be effective communicators to raise their children and work with others to keep peace and harmony, which is why they developed better skills in these areas. Of course, needless to say, how good we are at something is a combination of a lot of other influences, and it isn't all down to your genetic makeup, and therefore, we should never judge anyone on their ability based on their gender.

Now of course, having an analytical mind isn't the only skill required to write good code - it is just one part of the equation. If you are working on multiple projects, then being able to multitask is also a skill required to ensure your code is of good quality. So is the ability to pay attention to detail. Having a good memory too can also come in handy. Etc etc.
I think women are probably statistically better at some of these other skills, so it might well be the case that women could, statistically speaking, make better programmers. I however do not believe that this study extrapolates this at all. There are way too many variables that make it impossible to make any meaningful contrast. The biggest such variable I can see is that the women who are coding are more likely to be from the academically gifted, whereas because there are so many more men programming, the percentage of academically gifted programmers is much lower. There were some pretty thick developers in my last company, one day I was totally shocked when two of them didn't even know the answer to a really simple probability question!

I think my biggest issue with the study is that a) I hate "bad science", and b) some of the commentary is actually quite sexist against men.

Yes, women suffer sexism, and I believe many feminists have done many great things to better the lives of women, however, that doesn't mean one should have the right to be sexist against men, and unfortunately, there is sexism against men too. I'd like to make it clear I am not one of those MRA who are actually misogynists and hide their bigotry behind their activism for rights for men, I severely dislike such individuals, however, men also suffer hardships, we're more likely to die from workplace accidents, we're more likely to die by committing suicide, we're more likely to be killed, we have shorter life expectancies - you get what I mean, and I believe fighting for equality means fighting for equality for everyone, and not just focusing on one group.

Anyway, the authors, when pressed for further information, remarked: “Our analysis (not in this paper — we’ve cut a lot out to keep it crisp) shows that women are harder on other women than they are on men. Men are harder on other men than they are on women”. I wonder how many feminists we will hear commenting that women in the Tech Industry seem to be more sexist against other women than men ...
 
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women do the same as men when gender is hidden


This quote was interesting from the article you linked to.
 
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forum: Rattlesnake Pit



my personal opinion? you're talking aggregates - it's probably better not to generalise even if there is some evidence one way or the other. nature vs nurture means that at least your first paragraph doesn't say a huge amount about the candidate in front of you, as you mentioned. interested in reading the whole article though.

myself? i literally can't do two things at once. i'm not sure if that makes me better or worse at coding things
 
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Well, you use the term "statistically" a lot there, but I'm not seeing any statistics to back up those sweeping generalisations. Given the complex interaction of genetic, historic and cultural influences on the ability of women to compete on a level playing field with men, not to mention how little we really understand what skills or characteristics make a good programmer, I would be very cautious about claiming women are intrinsically better or worse than men at doing pretty much anything that isn't a direct function of biology (like childbirth).
 
Ahmed Bin S
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chris webster wrote:Well, you use the term "statistically" a lot there, but I'm not seeing any statistics to back up those sweeping generalisations.



Theory and hypothesis have two completely different meanings.

To form a hypothesis, all you need are observations and logical reasoning - you do not need statistics to back anything up. That's where theory comes in, because a theory requires testing to have occurred, and therefore, for you to have some statistics available.

I wrote (emphasis is added):
"In my personal opinion, men are statistically better at logical and numerical reasoning. Women are statistically better at things like languages. This is most likely due to the way we evolved and the different roles men and women played ... I think women are probably statistically better at some of these other skills, so it might well be the case that women could, statistically speaking, make better programmers."

I am clearly hypothesising and not theorising, so I am not sure why I need to produce any statistics to back up my claim.

chris webster wrote:Given the complex interaction of genetic, historic and cultural influences on the ability of women to compete on a level playing field with men, not to mention how little we really understand what skills or characteristics make a good programmer, I would be very cautious about claiming women are intrinsically better or worse than men at doing pretty much anything that isn't a direct function of biology (like childbirth).



But I wasn't claiming that women are better or worse than men at programming. I wasn't even asking whether anyone else thinks women are better or worse than men at programming. It was a rhetorical question, which I answered myself:

"Of course, needless to say, how good we are at something is a combination of a lot of other influences, and it isn't all down to your genetic makeup, and therefore, we should never judge anyone on their ability based on their gender" ... and I then went on to say there are actually a combination of skills required to make someone a "good" programmer.

I don't however think that we should never be able to hypothesise about how the behaviour of men and women might differ because of their gender - I loathe to use the term "political correctness" because it is so often used by certain individuals to mask their bigotry against certain other groups, but that is exactly what that would be. I love science, and I love finding out about things, and I believe we should be able to form hypothesis without fear of offending anyone.

Anyway, the point of my post was to show how bad the media can be at reporting things, and the double-standards we have in society whereby it is acceptable to make sweeping generalisations if it puts women in a good light but not for men.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:In my personal opinion, men are statistically better at logical and numerical reasoning. Women are statistically better at things like languages. This is most likely due to the way we evolved and the different roles men and women played. Men needed to be able to solve problems for the tribe to survive and so they developed better skills in these areas. Women needed to be able to be effective communicators to raise their children and work with others to keep peace and harmony, which is why they developed better skills in these areas.



But this is just pop psychology. You could equally well say "Men needed to be able to negotiate with other men threatening to invade their territories so they developed better communication skills than women." There's no evidence for what you said, or what I said either. Such things are usually trotted out to justify some choices, whether past choices or future choices.

For example it's easy to make up such a pop psychology explanation of why more doctors are men. But then in Russia more doctors are women than men. Here the evolutionary hand-waving falls on its face. It's not evolution. It's culture. And culture can be examined critically, and more importantly it can be changed. We don't have to say "We're like this because we evolved that way and so we really can't consider trying to change that."

And likewise statistics are often trotted out to justify choices. Sure, statistically there are more men at the top level of mathematics than women. But just voicing that fact can encourage people to choose men rather than women, or to persuade women to stay out of the field. It's a subtle encouragement, too, as those people favouring men over women will deny it, and indeed often they aren't consciously doing it. But actions directed by the subconscious mind work just the same way as actions directed by the conscious mind.
 
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Paul Clapham wrote:But this is just pop psychology. You could equally well say "Men needed to be able to negotiate with other men threatening to invade their territories so they developed better communication skills than women." There's no evidence for what you said, or what I said either.



Again, there is a confusion of hypothesis and theory. You do not need evidence to form a hypothesis, so I am not sure why I an being asked to provide evidence.

But anyway, ignoring that, there is some evidence to suggest that women are genetically pre-dispositioned to communicate better than men. For example, women have more neurons in the part of the brain that is responsible for communicating. Girls also have higher levels of a protein in the cortex that is responsible for language development.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130219172153.htm

So, yes, whilst culture might play a role, even a significant role, in women being statistically better at communicating than men, there does seem to be some evidence that gender difference might also play a part.

As for you giving an example and saying that it is just as likely as what I said, actually, I kindly beg to differ. And the reason is this - the frequency of men having to communicate with other men from other tribes to avert war was much much less than the frequency with which women had to communicate on a daily basis with the children they were looking after, with the other women in their tribe they had to communicate with, and so forth. Tribes only started communicating extensively with each other to avoid war in the past few thousand years - before that, they would largely avoid one another, or just wipe one another out. And even if we do assume that there was complex communication going on between tribes to keep peace, even then, it wouldn't be all the men who would need to be good at communicating to make peace, it would just need to be the leaders i.e. <20%. Therefore, the hypothesis (that you provided as a random example) that men are better communicators than women because they had to communicate to avoid wars is a weak hypothesis, whereas the hypothesis that women are intrinsically better at communicating than men because historically, their role required them to be good at communicating, is a stronger hypothesis. Hypothesis, and not theory.

Paul Clapham wrote:Such things are usually trotted out to justify some choices, whether past choices or future choices.



I'm not concerned with what people usually do. I am concerned with gaining knowledge and finding out why things are the way they are.

Paul Clapham wrote:For example it's easy to make up such a pop psychology explanation of why more doctors are men. But then in Russia more doctors are women than men. Here the evolutionary hand-waving falls on its face. It's not evolution. It's culture. And culture can be examined critically, and more importantly it can be changed. We don't have to say "We're like this because we evolved that way and so we really can't consider trying to change that."



This is comparing apples with oranges. I know of no academic who has ever hypothesised that there are more male doctors than female doctors because of some evolutionary reason. None. The reason being, there is no well-reasoned argument that suggests men are more likely to be doctors. However, there are well-reasoned arguments on why women should be better communicators than men.

Paul Clapham wrote:And likewise statistics are often trotted out to justify choices. Sure, statistically there are more men at the top level of mathematics than women. But just voicing that fact can encourage people to choose men rather than women, or to persuade women to stay out of the field. It's a subtle encouragement, too, as those people favouring men over women will deny it, and indeed often they aren't consciously doing it. But actions directed by the subconscious mind work just the same way as actions directed by the conscious mind.



So basically you're saying that because there are sexists who will use statistics to discriminate, we should not be able to discuss certain things? I could not disagree more. If there is evidence that shows that men are statistically better at Maths than women, then we should be able to say this. Discrimination isn't believing that one group might perform better than another group on a certain task, discrimination is painting every member of the group with the same brush and not treating them individually. If I am a Warehouse Manager, and a woman applies for a job that involves heavy lifting, and I say to myself women are statistically weaker than men, and therefore I won't give her the job, then I am being sexist. That is totally unacceptable. However, holding the belief that men are stronger than women isn't sexism.
Similarly, if someone believes men are genetically pre-dispositioned to be better at Maths than women, and they have some rationale for their hypothesis, that isn't sexism, and this individual should be able to say why they think the way they do. However, if this individual then decides to employ a man instead of a woman based on his hypoethsis, that now is discrimination.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:Again, there is a confusion of hypothesis and theory. You do not need evidence to form a hypothesis, so I am not sure why I an being asked to provide evidence.



I'm not asking you to provide evidence. I'm just saying that your hypothesis is just one example of a class which is full of made-up stuff and so therefore it shouldn't be considered too seriously.

I'm not concerned with what people usually do. I am concerned with gaining knowledge and finding out why things are the way they are.



And yet what you posted isn't really about gaining knowledge, it's more like posting the usual excuses. The way things are is because people behave that way, so looking into behavioural psychology would be a better idea.

I know of no academic who has ever hypothesised that there are more male doctors than female doctors because of some evolutionary reason.



That's a strawman argument. I didn't mention academics -- such arguments are routinely made up by people of all types.

So basically you're saying that because there are sexists who will use statistics to discriminate, we should not be able to discuss certain things? I could not disagree more. If there is evidence that shows that men are statistically better at Maths than women, then we should be able to say this. Discrimination isn't believing that one group might perform better than another group on a certain task, discrimination is painting every member of the group with the same brush and not treating them individually. If I am a Warehouse Manager, and a woman applies for a job that involves heavy lifting, and I say to myself women are statistically weaker than men, and therefore I won't give her the job, then I am being sexist. That is totally unacceptable. However, holding the belief that men are stronger than women isn't sexism.
Similarly, if someone believes men are genetically pre-dispositioned to be better at Maths than women, and they have some rationale for their hypothesis, that isn't sexism, and this individual should be able to say why they think the way they do. However, if this individual then decides to employ a man instead of a woman based on his hypoethsis, that now is discrimination.



Yes, yes, that's all true. Even if we believe discriminatory stuff we shouldn't act on those beliefs. And yet people do act on those beliefs. And frequently they manage to produce explanations about how they weren't really acting on those beliefs but they had some other reason for behaving the way they did. So sure, you can discuss all you like. You're free to do so. But when you discuss those things you support sexism, even though you say you don't mean to. There are studies, for example, which show that when girls are told something like "Usually girls aren't good at math but I'm sure you will do well on this test" they do less well than when they are just told "I'm sure you will do well on this test".
 
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Paul Clapham wrote:
I'm not asking you to provide evidence. I'm just saying that your hypothesis is just one example of a class which is full of made-up stuff and so therefore it shouldn't be considered too seriously.



For a hypothesis to be taken "seriously", it has to be based on observations that seem real, and the reasoning behind it has to be logical. That is all there is to it, nothing more, nothing less.

The hypothesis I believe in meets the criteria, which is why it is taken seriously by many people in academia. They don't go as far as theorising it (at least not that I am aware of), but neither did I.

You provided a hypothesis to show just how ridiculous the one I provided was, but you were using a false equivalence. Your hypothesis was definitely one that cannot be taken seriously, because men have not been observed to be better at communicating than women, and because the logic behind it is weak. That is why no one in academia has ever made the hypothesis you made. The hypothesis that I provided is observable and the logic behind it is reasonable in evolutionary terms. It might not be true, however, it meets the criteria for being a "serious" hypothesis.

Paul Clapham wrote:
And yet what you posted isn't really about gaining knowledge, it's more like posting the usual excuses. The way things are is because people behave that way, so looking into behavioural psychology would be a better idea.



Actually, the point of my original post was to show "bad science" and to show how certain types of discrimination are not allowed yet other types of discrimination are tolerated. Some posters then seemed to think we shouldn't be discussing whether men or women can be intrinsically better at certain things, but I absolutely disagree.

I am not quite sure by what you mean about making the usual excuses. What excuses? I haven't made any excuse whatsoever that I am aware of.

Paul Clapham wrote:
That's a strawman argument. I didn't mention academics -- such arguments are routinely made up by people of all types.



But it isn't a strawman argument. You were again providing a false equivalence. I was, by mentioning academics, showing that you are providing a false equivalence i.e. trying to compare a hypothesis that no academic would ever take seriously to one that is taken seriously by many academics.

Paul Clapham wrote:
Yes, yes, that's all true. Even if we believe discriminatory stuff we shouldn't act on those beliefs. And yet people do act on those beliefs. And frequently they manage to produce explanations about how they weren't really acting on those beliefs but they had some other reason for behaving the way they did. So sure, you can discuss all you like. You're free to do so. But when you discuss those things you support sexism, even though you say you don't mean to. There are studies, for example, which show that when girls are told something like "Usually girls aren't good at math but I'm sure you will do well on this test" they do less well than when they are just told "I'm sure you will do well on this test".



Again, we come to that hypothesis versus theory! I am not theorising that men are better than women at problem solving or maths, I hypothesied. Even then, it is a rather weak hypothesis - it isn't a strong hypothesis like women are better than men at communicating. Therefore, if I had a daughter and she asked me whether boys are better than girls at Maths, my answer would be "I think there might be a possibility that boys are genetically pre-dispositioned to be better than girls at Maths, however there is no proof for this at all, and anyway, nurture tends to have a much greater effect than nature and if you study hard there is every chance you will score very high on the test" - and I very much doubt that this would cause a girl to lose confidence and perform worse on a test. The real issue here isn't hypothesising, the real issue is the culture we are raised in where boys and girls are boxed into certain categories and are expected to behave in certain ways according to their gender.
 
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Ahmed Bin S wrote: Therefore, if I had a daughter and she asked me whether boys are better than girls at Maths, my answer would be "I think there might be a possibility that boys are genetically pre-dispositioned to be better than girls at Maths, however there is no proof for this at all, and anyway, nurture tends to have a much greater effect than nature and if you study hard there is every chance you will score very high on the test" - and I very much doubt that this would cause a girl to lose confidence and perform worse on a test. The real issue here isn't hypothesising, the real issue is the culture we are raised in where boys and girls are boxed into certain categories and are expected to behave in certain ways according to their gender.


Really? I hope you'd say something more like "I believe you can do anything you'd set your mind to. You are just as smart as everyone else".
 
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Well, it's like this. The experiment which you described in your OP was strictly a study of behaviour. And as such I completely approve of it. As far as I can see it didn't attempt to measure the goodness of any code involved in the process. It just attempted to test how people would behave knowing that a man or a woman wrote some code. But you've twisted that into "Do women write better code?" which as I've tried to point out, is not a harmless question. And you have continued to defend that question by trying to make distinctions between "hypothesis" and "theory" which are really pointless distinctions and to defend various other statements which aren't particularly relevant.

My point is that we don't need to know whether women write better code at all. The best you can get is some kind of statistics, but first you'd have to define a goodness metric for code and have that metric applied impersonally and so on. So getting good statistics on that would be a complicated and controversial process. But we don't need those statistics. They don't help us to evaluate code and they don't help us to evaluate coders. All they do is to provide us with reasons to discriminate.

Ahmed Bin S. wrote:Therefore, if I had a daughter and she asked me whether boys are better than girls at Maths, my answer would be "I think there might be a possibility that boys are genetically pre-dispositioned to be better than girls at Maths, however there is no proof for this at all, and anyway, nurture tends to have a much greater effect than nature and if you study hard there is every chance you will score very high on the test" - and I very much doubt that this would cause a girl to lose confidence and perform worse on a test.



This is how it works. Here you make a (hypothetical) discriminatory statement but you excuse yourself by doubting that it's discriminatory.

 
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Paul Clapham wrote:Well, it's like this. The experiment which you described in your OP was strictly a study of behaviour. And as such I completely approve of it.



I actually don't have a problem with the study in itself. I do have a problem that they chose to omit the fact that women were harsher on other women once gender became known, and that men were actually harsher to other men than women once gender became known. They should have known that this kind of research will invariably lead to people jumping to all sorts of incorrect conclusions, and that's exactly what happened. Maybe I was too harsh on them - they are undergraduates, and they did clearly state on their paper that it hasn't been peer-reviewed.

My main criticism wasn't against the researchers, but against the media for the "bad science".

Paul Clapham wrote:
But you've twisted that into "Do women write better code?" which as I've tried to point out, is not a harmless question.



Dear Sir, in the spirit of this forum being a friendly place, can I please kindly ask you not to twist my words and attribute things to me which I have clearly not said or implied.

I did not twist the research into asking whether women write better code. Please misattributing this to me. I even made it clear in a later post but you still choose to ignore that and continue to misattribute to me.

I am sure you are aware of how it is common for people to ask a rhetorical question in the heading/title/subject of an article/forum post in a newspaper/magazine/forum, and then answer it themselves in the actual article/forum post. This is exactly what I did. Some sections of the media took the study to conclude that women write better code. So I challenged their conclusion by asking the question whether women write better code, and then I answered it myself - I said that whilst it might be true that we are genetically pre-dispositioned to be better at certain things because of our gender there are "way too many variables that make it impossible to make any meaningful contrast" from this study. I then went on to attack the media for bad science and for reverse discrimination.

What if I wrote an article with the headline "Are older workers less productive?" and then in the article I write that studies that show older workers are less productive are flawed, and that we cannot extrapolate anything from those studies - does this imply I was asking people whether they think older workers are less productive? Of course it doesn't - it's a rhetorical question that I answered myself. It's a very common style to challenge a belief by asking a question about it in the heading, and then answering it yourself. This is exactly what I did - I challenged the belief that was being pedalled by certain sections in the media that women write better code by saying this study doesn't show that.

Paul Clapham wrote:And you have continued to defend that question by trying to make distinctions between "hypothesis" and "theory" which are really pointless distinctions and to defend various other statements which aren't particularly relevant.



No Sir, please do not misattribute something to me. I made the distinction between hypothesis and theory because I was being accused of theorising when I was hypothesising and not for any other reason.

Paul Clapham wrote:
My point is that we don't need to know whether women write better code at all. The best you can get is some kind of statistics, but first you'd have to define a goodness metric for code and have that metric applied impersonally and so on. So getting good statistics on that would be a complicated and controversial process. But we don't need those statistics. They don't help us to evaluate code and they don't help us to evaluate coders. All they do is to provide us with reasons to discriminate.



Yes, yes, I never said we need to know whether women write better code. As you say, even the definition of "good code" is hard to define, and there are all other sorts of complexities. If there was a simple test that could tell us whether one gender is better at writing code than another, then I would have no problem** with research being done by academics, but there isn't, and so it is meaningless.

** You will argue it could lead to discrimination, I would argue that society's lack of action to root out discrimination shouldn't determine what scientists can and cannot study.

Paul Clapham wrote:
This is how it works. Here you make a (hypothetical) discriminatory statement but you excuse yourself by doubting that it's discriminatory.



With all due respect Sir, just because that is how you think it works, it doesn't make it a fact.

Discriminate can have multiple meanings. If you are using it in the sense that I make a distinction, then, yes, you are right, I make a discriminatory statement. But using this definition, we ALL discriminate. Every single one of us. Do you believe that men are statistically stronger than women? If you do, then you are discriminating, because you are differentiating.

Of course, when we usually use the word discriminate, we don't mean differentiate, instead we mean that we are making a distinction in favour of a group, and using this definition, I am sorry, you are wrong - I am not making a discriminatory statement. You are again making a false equivalence. You are taking a statement which is discriminatory - "Usually girls aren't good at math but I'm sure you will do well on this test" - and has a discriminatory effect, and then making it equivalent to a completely different statement and using the false equivalence to show that the other statement is discriminatory. However, on closer analysis, you are wrong.

Statement P: "Usually girls aren't good at math but I'm sure you will do well on this test", it is discriminatory because it gives the impression that there is something about being a girl that makes them poor at it.

Statement Q: "I think there might be a possibility that boys are genetically pre-dispositioned to be better than girls at Maths, however there is no proof for this at all, and anyway, nurture tends to have a much greater effect than nature and if you study hard there is every chance you will score very high on the test", I am clearly not saying that there is anything about being a girl that makes them poor at Maths. I clearly state that there is no proof that boys are better than girls at Maths, and I clearly state that any advantage that boys might have due to nature is negligible compared to nurture, and therefore, studying hard will result in a high score.

As the two statements are clearly not equivalent, you cannot use the negative effect caused by P to say Q will also have the same negative effect. That isn't the way things work. That's a bit like saying that children who want to play and are told by their parents "I am busy right now, please come back a bit later" suffer the same negative emotions as when they're told "I am busy, shut up and go away and come back later". I mean, sure, in both instances the child was told to go away, but you cannot possibly make an equivalence between the statements to say they will result in the same negative outcome for the child.

I really admire your stance of standing up against discrimination. I think it is noble. I strongly believe in standing up for the rights of others. That includes standing up for the rights of men too.
Are men genetically pre-dispositioned to be more violent than women? I think so. (I guess that makes me sexist against men). Do men commit a lot more violence than women because of this genetic predisposition? I don't think it can all be attributed to genetics. What if boys and girls were raised in an environment where the males were never seen fighting in literature and television, and instead, it was the females who were fighting - would this result in males being less violent? I think so. Would this lead in females being more violent? I think so. So if we are concerned with equality, we should be campaigning to have more women in violent roles in literature and television.
How about the fact that in 90% of divorce settlements, women get custody of the children. Is this not sexism? Of course it is. Are women who downplay this sexist? Of course they are. To suggest women cannot be as sexist as men is ... sexist.
The problem with men's rights activism is that it attracts all the misogynists. So many of the people who are fighting for equality for men too are actually doing it not for noble reasons but to further their misogyny. However, I am sure the same can be said of feminism, I am sure there are many feminists who are actual misandrists. Misandry - what an interesting word - one you rarely hear of in the media...

Anyway, I actually regret starting this thread now! I think some topics are way too emotional that the debate just ends up becoming extremely reactionary. Note to self: Next time you're having a quiet weekend, stay away from Rattlesnake Pit! :D
 
Ahmed Bin S
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Jeanne Boyarsky wrote:
Really? I hope you'd say something more like "I believe you can do anything you'd set your mind to. You are just as smart as everyone else".



Well, I don't believe in mollycoddling, so I wouldn't say something like that! Unrealistic expectations usually lead to disappointment.

(Of course, parenting decisions should be made by both parents and not just one, and so if my partner felt my statement wasn't appropriate, I'd be happy to amend).
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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I like that you started the thread. It was an interesting study.
 
Paul Clapham
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:I did not twist the research into asking whether women write better code. Please misattributing this to me. I even made it clear in a later post but you still choose to ignore that and continue to misattribute to me.



I apologize for that. I was misled by the title you applied to the thread which was "Do women write better code?"
 
Paul Clapham
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Ahmed Bin S wrote:Anyway, I actually regret starting this thread now! I think some topics are way too emotional that the debate just ends up becoming extremely reactionary.



You and I are pretty much on the same side, I think. I didn't find the thread emotional but then I'm not an emotional person. So it seems I inadvertently stressed you out. I didn't intend to do that.
 
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Quality of code doesn't depend on gender. Quality of code depends on how much effort and time one spends on gaining knowledge and experience. Our Jeanne is a good example. She put a lot of time into developing her skills and I bet she writes way better code than majority of that forum, including me. I am now reading one of her Java books, and I am really impressed how easily she clarified all the concepts in the book.

The issue lies in behavior of people. I noticed in IT world that many men have tendency to either praise women even when their skills are not so good, or to being negative toward women even when their skills are good. Both of those things are bad, because they are creating either overconfidence or killing confidence. Those things are not just bad for women, but for any human being.

Thankfully, over years we have more and more women in IT world which makes this behavior slowly disappearing. As percentage of women in IT will be growing, this inequality should be disappearing, I believe.
 
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I think a greater percentage of women programmers are more conscientious about being good at what they do than men that program or it may just stick in my head as such because of lower numbers of women in the ranks. There are tragedies that call themselves programmers on both sides of that line, and there are good solid programmers too, but with women I think we are still seeing fallout form women's equality movements. Historically programming is a man's world, and when a woman jumps into it, it is because they want to compete, more often than what I see many of the men doing when they say: "Hey, it's a good paycheck." What I am saying is that there are a greater percent of the male programmer population just putting in time to collect a paycheck than with women in programming.

There are psychological and physical differences that may give women an advantage: historically women have been the once to do the repetitive tasks while the men go out and exercise their muscle. Programming is not a muscle intensive task, but is a task that can be highly repetitive over long periods of time. So if you buy into that type of thing, there is a premise on how women may have an edge in the programming world.

In my experience the best programmers in the companies I have worked have always been men. There have been some great programmers that were women too, but the ones that have truly excelled have all been men. I don't have an explanation for that, but it has always been that way.

 
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