Code: Debugging The Gender Gap

As today is International Women’s Day there’s no better day to write about the screening of the documentary “Code: Debugging The Gender Gap” I went to last week.

Being a female developer, the sole female developer in a team  of  10 where I work, i’d been wanting to see the film, directed and produced by Robin Hauser Reynolds, since it was released – so when White October organised a screening in Oxford I was there.

Happily a few of the other developers also decided to come along to watch too, but not without the usual “coding for girls? is that where it’s all written in pink or something?” comments and the like from some of the less modern minded men in the office.

(Don’t worry, all comments mentally noted for next time said people ask for my help / require urgent changes to something ;))

I can’t praise the film enough. There was the depressing insight into the gender splits at big tech companies, and also hearing from the female engineers/developers working for companies like Facebook, Pinterest, Etsy, Pixar and Airbnb, not only about their work life experience, but their journeys to get into those roles.

There was also a look into why many women in programming jobs tend to drop out after the 10 year mark – mostly due to being worn down over those years by the everyday casual sexism they get in the workplace and deciding enough is enough.

The documentary also covered the effort being made to bring more girls into computer science at a younger age, and to try and reassign the gender stereotype of ‘programmer’, because if you are brought up being told that you can’t do something then you believe it to be true – when in reality women make just as good programmers as men.

Most definitely worth watching, no matter what your gender or career, as a thought provoking and discussion generating documentary.


Go to for more information and screening information.

2 Replies to “Code: Debugging The Gender Gap”

  1. You’re right Katie, it’s depressing. After I finished working with you, I went to a company with ~5 female devs (out of ~60). When I left there in 2014, I didn’t work with another female developer until this year. It also struck me that I’ve rarely worked with anyone who is an ethnic minority or LGBT (granted, the need to say “I’m LGBT” is rarely needed as part of stand-up).

    After working with you and other female developers, it struck me that the average female developer is better than the average male developer. This may be a specious conclusion as is entirely based on feel rather than evidence. It also may be the case that, as there are so few female developers, it’s easier to skew an average.

    For me, a good developer is someone who questions their abilities, spends time practicing, is less focused on dogma and more willing to ask for help. These are traits I see more in female than male developers.

    1. It is depressing Simon, it mentioned in the film that female developers often work harder because they subconsciously feel that they have to prove themselves, and that they should be allowed to be there in the first place, so that probably links up somewhere.

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