In open source, women better coders than men

Pioneers of IT (above in 1962 with cards of the first Eniac computer), women are still victims of sexism. © Wikimedia Commons

Women code better than men. Provided that they remain anonymous… This was evidenced by Gender Bias in Open Source: Pull Request – Acceptance of Women Versus Men, a study published in the PeerJ journal analyzing the sexist prejudices in the open source programing communities.

Researchers from the American universities of San Luis Obispo and North Carolina scrutinized 3 million contributions published in 2015 on Github, the gigantic library of open source codes that federates a community of 12 million users. And women’s contributions, when they are posted without mention of their author’s gender, tend to be more approved of: 78.6% against 74.6% for lines written by men. But when the coder specifies her gender, the approval rate falls to 65%.

The free culture activist world would not therefore escape from the rule of sexist practices and the under-representation of women in the IT trade, often pointed out. In fact, according to the study, only 11.2% of open source developers were women in 2013.

However, the first developers were… women. In 1945, the American army recruited six women researchers from the university of Pennsylvania to work on a top secret government project, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyser and Computer), the first electronic programmable computer. These pioneers of IT and their historical computer have since become icons, to the extent that Philadelphia celebrates them every February 15.

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