Are most programmers male?

David Mertz, Ph.D. mertz at gnosis.cx
Sun Aug 11 06:35:18 CEST 2002


ponderor at lycos.com (Dean Goodmanson) wrote previously:
|And more seriously, why is it that most contributors here are male?
|Are most programmers male, if so why?

I've reflected on this a bit lately.  It's kinda sad about the
overwhelming male bias of programming and related areas.  Programming,
of course, is not the only important thing that people do--but in the
world of work, we are a fairly highly-paid and highly-skilled group.  In
a societal way, having women excluded from these areas is to the
detriment of both the field and to overall gender equality and women's
rights.  I think this is so even if the primary intermediate cause for
the exclusion were/is the self-image of girls and women in relation to
this field.

My own experience feels like it is even more biased than the field as a
whole.  I don't know why, but I wish it were otherwise.  As some list
readers will know, I am a fairly well-known writer on Python matters,
and have created a few moderately well-received free software packages
for Python.  But unlike many people, I am a free-lancer, and write and
program generally in isolation--from my home office, rather than in a
company full of cubicles of people doing roughly the same thing as me.
Therefore, my contacts with other programmers are predominantly with
folks who write me with comments on either my book, my articles, or my
software--often with suggestions and corrections for any of those.

What I've found is that my ENTIRE contributor/acknowledgement lists are
full of male names.  These are getting big enough that it seems like
something is going on, even past the fact that programming is 95% male.
My lists run 100% male instead.  I don't even show that 5% female names
that one might expect, let alone the much larger percentage a perfect
world might have.  Of course, I enormously value the advice and aid of
the MEN, worldwide, who write me with comments.  But I sure wonder why I
see so very few women's names in this collection.

Yours, David...

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