zondag 6 augustus 2017

Women as developer

Disclaimer

The views expressed on this blog are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.

Recently there is some news about women feeling discriminated in the it-world; especially as developer e.g.

  1. http://gizmodo.com/exclusive-heres-the-full-10-page-anti-diversity-screed-1797564320
  2. https://www.infoq.com/presentations/programmer-unconscious-bias
And I'm sure it happens from time to time; but from my personal experience I have not discovered discrimination as industry standard.

Female developers can be as good as male developers?

Yes. Believing that females can't be good programmers is nonsense. There are enough examples of females that are leading. I'm listing a few females that I know about due to my work in distributed systems and performance tuning:
  1. Nancy Lynch: author of Distributed Algorithms
  2. Monica Beckwith: one of the authors of Java Performance Companion and lead of the G1 performance team.
So there is no reason to believe a woman can't be as good as a man.

Woman!=Man

To give a very concrete example: my daughter of 3.

I insisted that she has a large amount of Lego (Duplo) to play with; apart from the dolls and stuffed animals and her kitchen. I want to give her the opportunity to play with all the toys instead of just the typical girl toys. But she isn't really interested in building. She loves to play with the animals, flowers etc; but I'm the one that needs to build the houses/towers etc.

My two nephews that are 2.5 year old (twins) are visiting us for a few weeks. Together they immediately started to stack blocks and see how high their fragile towers would go. They didn't really care for the animals.

The most logical explanation of this different behavior is hormones.

Career

This different behavior eventually leads to different positions in a company. Almost every company I worked for, most of the people on the technical side are male. Most people on the facilitating/people-facing positions are female. I have no reason to believe that women are actively rejected as engineer. For the companies I worked for, I have been doing interviews with candidate developers; and most of the candidates I talked to are male; hence it is logical that you get more male engineers. This starts in university; in Computer Science most students in my class were male.

Positive Discrimination=Discrimination

I believe in the best (wo)man for the job. If someone is the best person for a job, that person should be hired regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation etc.

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