21 Feb 2023
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Breaking the Gender Gap in Programming

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By Tyrone Showers
Co-Founder Taliferro


Men have primarily dominated the world of software development for many years. According to a recent National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) report, just over a quarter of computing-related jobs in the United States are held by women. This raises an important question: why are there so few women programmers?

A Theory

One possible explanation is the theory that the way programming languages and programming in general work may not be conducive to how women think. This theory suggests that since men write software languages, the way they work and the tools they use may differ from women's thinking patterns.

programming is a highly logical and analytical field that involves breaking down complex problems into small, manageable pieces. The process requires a great deal of focus and attention to detail, as well as the ability to think abstractly and creatively. To explore this theory, we must first consider the nature of programming itself.

Research suggests that men and women tend to approach problem-solving tasks differently. Men tend to focus more on the end goal and the specific steps required to reach that goal, while women are more likely to consider multiple possibilities and take a more holistic approach to problem-solving. These differences in thinking patterns may make it more difficult for women to excel in programming, as the field requires a highly structured, linear approach.

Another factor contributing to the underrepresentation of women in programming is the need for more diversity in the industry. When women are in the minority, they may feel isolated and excluded, which can lead to feelings of imposter syndrome and a lack of confidence in their abilities. Additionally, women may need help finding role models and mentors in the field, which can make it difficult to envision themselves succeeding in the industry.

It's also worth noting that the stereotype of the male programmer is deeply ingrained in our culture. This stereotype portrays programmers as socially awkward, mathematically brilliant, and obsessed with video games and sci-fi movies. This stereotype may dissuade women who don't fit this mold from pursuing careers in programming, as they may feel they don't belong in a field that doesn't align with their interests and personality.

So, what can be done to address the gender gap in programming? One approach is to encourage the development of programming languages and tools more suited to how women think. This could involve designing languages that are more intuitive and flexible, as well as providing more opportunities for collaborative, creative problem-solving.

Another approach is to promote diversity and inclusivity in the industry. This can be achieved by encouraging women to pursue careers in programming, providing mentorship and support to help them succeed, and working to eliminate gender biases in the workplace. Additionally, it's essential to challenge the stereotype of the male programmer and to promote more positive and diverse representations of programmers in popular culture.


The theory that the way programming languages and programming in general work may not be conducive to how women think is one possible explanation for the underrepresentation of women in the field. However, it's essential to recognize that a variety of factors contribute to this issue, including the lack of diversity in the industry and the influence of cultural stereotypes. By addressing these factors and promoting inclusivity and diversity in the field, we can help create a more equitable and inclusive programming industry.

Tyrone Showers