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Programmed differently? Testing for gender differences in Python programming style and quality on GitHub

Brooke, Sian ORCID: 0000-0001-7558-7924 (2024) Programmed differently? Testing for gender differences in Python programming style and quality on GitHub. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 29 (1). ISSN 1083-6101

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Identification Number: 10.1093/jcmc/zmad049

Abstract

The underrepresentation of women in open-source software is frequently attributed to women’s lack of innate aptitude compared to men: natural gender differences in technical ability (Trinkenreich et al., 2021). Approaching code as a form of communication, I conduct a novel empirical study of gender differences in Python programming on GitHub. Based on 1,728 open-source projects, I ask if there is a gender difference in the quality and style of Python code measured in adherence to PEP-8 guidelines. I found significant gender differences in structure and how Python files are organized. While there is gendered variation in programming style, there is no evidence of gender difference in code quality. Using a Random Forest model, I show that the gender of a programmer can be predicted from the style of their Python code. The study concludes that gender differences in Python code are a matter of style, not quality.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/jcmc
Additional Information: © 2024 The Authors
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2023 15:00
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:30
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/120988

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