This comes as no surprise to those following the trends in technology staffing; but there is an alarming dearth of women in coding positions throughout the industry. Consider these sources for more details on this disturbing trend: Wikipedia.com, TechRepublic.com, Kirupa.com and NYTimes.com. No matter how you slice it, there just aren't that many women programmers. The question that plagues us all, is why? Why are there so few lady coders?!
Thankfully, this pressing question has been taken up by the keen minds at the Global Consortium of Women's Studies. Their 10 year investigation into the lack of women in coding positions has recently concluded. Their chief researcher, Dr. Emily Sharp, published some initial findings in her essay titled: "Women in Programming." If you haven't seen this wonderful essay, please take a moment to download and review it. It's amazing! You can get a copy here.
The tireless researchers at the Global Consortium of Women's Studies have spent countless hours interviewing, investigating and testing willing female subjects to determine why involvement in technology by women is at an all time low.
One of their most interesting research projects involved putting willing females into FMRI machines to help determine how they responded to technology. Their findings are both shocking and conclusive. This is best described by the following diagram from their seminal work titled "Neurological Imperatives for Women in Technology." In this work, they categorized the top 10 functions best suited for the female brain:
It's immediately obvious that the average subject's brain is way too small for the cranium. And, the top ten functions of the female brain discovered have nothing to do with coding or technology whatsoever. The researchers did find an area of the brain that might be suitable for coding (highlighted in red); but it was extremely small and rarely activated during FMRI testing.
This research is disturbing. It shows clear evolutionary pressure that has precluded many women from possibly attaining significant technological skill -- especially those related to computer programming. I was deeply disappointed by these findings. However, there is a silver lining to this research. One group of women consistently tested well...
Here's the figure of a typical subject that tested well in this research:
There you have it folks. I hope things improve for women in programming. But, for now, it seems that the dick is stacked against them. Good luck out there!