by Elizabeth Ames
Originally published: May 7, 2017
Earlier this week, Silicon Valley’s gender problems made headlines—again—when a former Facebook engineer told The Wall Street Journal that female developers received 35% more code rejections than their male peers, and waited 3.9% longer for approvals. Facebook leadership quickly questioned the data’s validity, but a spokesperson admitted “the current representation of senior female engineers both at Facebook and across the industry is nowhere near where it needs to be.” On that point, we can all agree.
Of course, Facebook is far from the only tech venue where gender bias looms large. Last year, a group of researchers analyzed open source software contributions on GitHub, one of the industry’s largest code-collaboration sites. Their data showed women’s code changes were accepted more frequently than men’s (78.6% vs. 74.6%), so long as their site profile was gender-neutral. Even more impressively, a quarter of women with ambiguous profiles maintained a perfect acceptance rate, compared with just 13.5% of men. But when it came to profiles with a feminine name or photograph, peers rejected their code at significantly higher rates than code submitted by men (71.8% vs. 62.5%).