Only 7.6% of developers are women. What's going on?

'IT guy'. It rolls off the tongue, but what about 'IT girls'? Don't women have just as much of a relationship with computers and as much ability to the think logically as men?

You can definitely find a lot of people (and a lot of developers) who really subscribe to the idea that 'blokes just have a more logical mind than women'. Even if this is true (which we consider highly doubtful), this doesn't explain the extreme inequality between the sexes in the IT industry.

Female Developer

And even if the majority of girls are creative numberphobiacs, such a small number still seems kinda odd. 

According to new research by Stack Overflow, who asked 64000 developers (!!), only 7.6% of software developers are women. 

When we shared this stat on our Facebook page, the result was an extremely interesting discussion which suggests that perhaps the answer lies elsewhere than the diminished female brain. 

Judge for yourself:

If you want to the see the whole discussion in context, have a look at it here. (in Czech)

Thanks to the girls below for their permission to post their comments in full! 

(English translation of comments underneath)

Women in IT
Girls in IT

Translation of comments

Anon user
That's probably because girls just don't have what it takes

Vendulka Ašenbrenerová 
Those 8% do :)

Veronika Cassi Havelková 
I think that there are many factors involved, including the fact that since the beginning of time, girls were encouraged to play with dolls and that is just considered 'normal', whilst when boys prefer to play with computers, this is considered 'correct'. Women in IT were always seen as abnormal and rare (with the exception of the early years of computer development, when women programmed because it was seen as inferior work), so 'thanks' to these prejudices even if women enjoyed programming, they'd rather not go into it to avoid being seen as freaks. 

Anon user 
But not those 42%. Everyone can't be suited to everything. For instance, I have to do the ironing today and it won't be as good as if my girlfriend did it.

Anon user
Support for women in IT, support for women in science and yet nobody gives us anything.

Vendulka Ašenbrenerová 
Cry over it for a bit longer then realise what you're writing. Girls are supported because when there's one in IT, she gets targeted more and some people even try to put her down by telling her she doesn't have what it takes...so she'd rather quit...but as soon as she gets over this, she can actually do really well...so those who were looking down on her before now see her from a new perspective.. and that's what supporting women is all about, so it won't be such a rarity anymore [to have women in IT].

Interestingly, according to a last year's study focused on Open Source, women are considered better programmers. However, only in the case when it's not generally known that they are women. 

Hmm, so perhaps there is some prejudice at play here?

We are not calling for quotas or preferential treatment of women simply because they are women (which would be highly offensive to talented female developers). But instead, we dream of a world where talented girls don't give up on a career in IT because society is standing in their way. 

A shamefully incomplete list of ways to improve the situation

  • Personal support for the girls and women around us which have an interest in IT or already work in the industry.
  • Motivate girls to consider IT at primary or secondary school (so that they can 'have a go' and see if it's for them). 
  • A workplace culture that doesn't accept ridicule or inappropriate behaviour directed towards women in IT.
  • Programming and other IT courses tailored towards women on maternity leave.
  • More great initiatives such as Czechitas (great job, keep it up!). 

We probably forgot to mention about 186 other things, but that's not really the point. It's up to each of us to make it easier for women to get into IT so we can get to a point in the not too near future when female developers are no longer an exotic species. 

Would you like to share your opinion about women in IT or do you have any interesting experiences? Do you think women are disadvantaged in the IT industry or that it's harder for them to reach senior positions? Get in touch with us below in the comments section or on Facebook or Twitter.

Create an anonymous profile on Techloop and let your dream job find you. No prejudices ;).