The truth about GitHub and Gender bias


By now, you may have heard of the study of GitHub and bias showing that women get their code accepted more than men, except when people know that it’s a woman. If you haven’t, feel free to look at these blogs, Quartz, BBC News, Business Insider, Tech Times or one of the many other sources that have covered this. The story, though, when you actually read the research itself, is not quite as black and white as everyone is making it out to be. As someone who’s done a lot of regression analysis in my day, let me take a moment to clear up some confusion surrounding the actual results of this study.

Firstly, the most important result of this study, in my opinion, is that female users are more likely, on average, to get their changes on GitHub accepted than male users. This conclusion is based on the researcher's use of a program to link 1.4 million GitHub user profiles with email addresses with Google plus profiles, where this group of users has self-identified their gender. Female users’ acceptance rate (or merge rate) is 78.6% and men’s is 74.6%, a difference that is statistically significant.

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