You’re a Female Coder? Great, Don’t Tell Anyone

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Photo: Corbis

A new study confirms something you may have already guessed, which is that women face biases because of their gender.

However, the study also suggests something some people (probably not women) could find surprising: While women (in this case, coders on software repository GitHub) may do work that’s superior overall to men’s, it will be seen as inferior.

The study, conducted with research money from the National Science Foundation, examined the behaviors of developers on GitHub, which is one of the largest open-source software communities in the world. In the words of the researchers, the results were “surprising.” They write: “our results show that women’s contributions tend to be accepted more often than men’s. However, when a woman’s gender is identifiable, they are rejected more often. Our results suggest that although women on GitHub may be more competent overall, bias against them exists nonetheless.”

Eek. So let’s get this straight: Women are better coders, and people recognize that, but only if nobody knows they’re women? Gotcha.

You’re a Female Coder? Great, Don’t Tell Anyone