GitHub pull requests affected by gender bias, new study suggests

github gender bias coding
Pixabay
Evidence that gender bias exists in the field of computer science has emerged in the form of a new study examining acceptance rates of contributions from men and women in an open-source software community. The study’s findings indicated that women’s contributions were rejected more often, but only if their gender is identifiable. If, in fact, it is unclear whether the contributor is a man or a woman, women’s contributions tended to be accepted at a greater rate.

“There are a number of questions and concerns related to gender bias in computer programming, but this project was focused on one specific research question: To what extent does gender bias exist when pull requests are judged on GitHub?” Emerson Murphy-Hill, corresponding author of a paper on the study and an associate professor of computer science at North Carolina State University, told phys.org.

In order to conduct this research, Murphy-Hill and his colleagues analyzed more than three million pull requests (methods to improve code on a project) from around 330,000 GitHub users, about 21,000 of whom were women. Within this group, 78.7 percent of women’s pull requests were accepted, while 74.6 percent of men’s requests were accepted.

But when gender got involved, things got a bit more complicated. Murphy-Hill also looked at pull requests from individuals who were not considered “insiders” on a project, and found that gender appeared to play a role in acceptance. Computer scientists who were easily identifiable as women (as a result of their name or profile picture) ended up with lower pull request acceptance rates at 58 percent than male users at 61 percent. Curiously enough, female programmers with gender neutral profiles had the highest acceptance rates of all in this group (70 percent), even more so than men with gender neutral profiles (65 percent).

“Our results indicate that gender bias does exist in open-source programming,” Murphy-Hill said. “The study also tells us that, in general, women on GitHub are strong programmers. We don’t think that’s because gender affects one’s programming skills, but likely stems from strong self-selection among women who submit pull requests on the site.”

You can check out the full results of the study in the open-access journal PeerJ Computer Science, where the research is published under the title, “Gender Differences and Bias in Open Source: Pull Request Acceptance of Women Versus Men.”

Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Mobile

Need a date for Valentine's Day? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Computing

Is it worth spending more for the Surface Pro, or is the Surface Go good enough?

The Surface Go vs. Surface Pro — which is better? While the higher price tag of one might make you think it's an easy choice, a deeper dive into what each offers makes it a closer race than you might assume.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or OS.
Computing

Decades-old Apple IIe computer found in dad’s attic, and it still works

A New York law professor went viral last weekend after he discovered an old Apple IIe computer sitting in his dad's attic. In a series of tweets, he showed that the vintage machine still works perfectly fine after 30 years.
Computing

Why limit yourself to one OS? Try one of these great virtual machine apps

Buying a new computer just because you want to utilize another operating system isn't necessary. Just use the best virtual machine applications to emulate one OS inside another, no matter what your platform or budget is.
Computing

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.
Web

Rid yourself of website notification requests in just a few easy steps

Wish you knew how to block browser and website notifications? You can do it on a case by case basis, but that can become dull after the 10th site has asked for your approval. Here's how to block them outright.
Computing

Don't take your provider's word for it. Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.
Computing

Logitech’s G MX518 gaming mouse pairs classic looks with all-new tech

Logitech is relaunching one of its most popular classic gaming mice, the MX518. Now called the G MX518, it sports upgraded internals that give it a 16,000 DPI optical sensor and new and improved memory.
Computing

Microsoft could be planning a laptop with foldable screen, hints patent filing

Filed in late 2017 and titled "Bendable device with Display in Movable Connection With Body," the patent filing explains a new mechanism for laptops which can eliminate a hinge and allow the screen to fold shut from the inside,
Deals

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for February 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work or you're just doing some post-holiday shopping, we've got you covered: These are the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.