Effect of Gender in Learning Ada 
Author Message
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Is there any data on the relative grades of males vs. females in learning
Ada or other programming languages? A real problem exists in the decrease in
the proportion of female programmers and/or software engineers. If there is
any dimorphism between the genders, I would suspect that woman might have
the advantage. At least in US society, organization, neatness, and capacity
for verbal and written expression are not preferentially associated with
college age males. However in US society, risk taking and impatience are
associated with college age males. I have a gut feeling that the use of C
and its dialects for the introductory programming language may turn off the
ladies.

I should note that the purpose of this posting is neither to start an
argument nor to propose a hypothesis. It is a request for data.

Bob Leif



Wed, 12 Oct 2005 13:59:38 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:


>>Is there any data on the relative grades of males vs. females in
>>learning Ada or other programming languages? A real problem exists in
>>the decrease in the proportion of female programmers and/or software
>>engineers.

> Decrease? I thought the number was increasing?

So did I...  If it is decreasing perhaps it's just stateside?  Perhaps
it's also due to the economy?  I know alot of people who are considering
non-programming and non-SE careers now, and they haven't even graduated
yet.  I'm certainly considering something other than Software
Development (multimed, DB,  .  Given the evident (& regretable) gap in
pay in the uk between women and men, it's concievable women are less
inclined to go for SE/programming jobs or courses.


Wed, 12 Oct 2005 23:37:06 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:

> However one should of course never generalise these things.

"In general" one must generalize about almost all things. I am
not an expert on learning or cognitive processes, but it is
clear to me that we can not process information and survive
without generalizing.

We generalize about C programmers, liberals, hockey players,
SARS patients, doctors, WMD, country-and-western musicians,
pit bulls, anti-gunners, priests, etc.

What we should not do is apply the generalization to a specific
individual person or thing indiscriminantly:

    Oh, he is an Ada programmer so he must be ...

I suspect that is what most people probably mean when they make a
statement against generalizing.

I feel silly stating (to me) the obvious, but I get chills when I
see a statement about "not generalizing" like the above. It seems
like some PC "knee-jerk" thing to make that disclaimer.

Should I don the asbestos suit?
peace  :-)

Peter

PS - I don't care if there are more or less of a gender in SW unless:
       -- it is costing me money
       -- there is something illegal or imm{*filter*}going on

And I do not want my tax money spent trying to get "even parity"
in programming (or back hoe operators or ...)



Wed, 12 Oct 2005 23:37:34 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada


Quote:
> I feel silly stating (to me) the obvious, but I get chills when I
> see a statement about "not generalizing" like the above. It seems
> like some PC "knee-jerk" thing to make that disclaimer.

> Should I don the asbestos suit?

Probably not.  In my experience the majority of people I know agree with you
about generalizations. ;)


Wed, 12 Oct 2005 23:45:52 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:

> I feel silly stating (to me) the obvious, but I get chills when I
> see a statement about "not generalizing" like the above. It seems
> like some PC "knee-jerk" thing to make that disclaimer.

I get chills when I listen to people who only perceives the world in
black and white.

--
Preben Randhol                    http://www.pvv.org/~randhol/



Thu, 13 Oct 2005 00:53:38 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:
> PS - I don't care if there are more or less of a gender in SW unless:
>        -- it is costing me money
>        -- there is something illegal or imm{*filter*}going on

> And I do not want my tax money spent trying to get "even parity"
> in programming (or back hoe operators or ...)

"My tax money". Are you making deposits and counting? :)

You would if it meant a greater probability of safer software being
installed in the planes you fly or the subways you take, wouldn't you?

 -Frode

--

|  with Standard.Disclaimer; use Standard.Disclaimer;  |



Thu, 13 Oct 2005 06:14:48 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:

> I get chills when I listen to people who only perceives the world in
> black and white.

Hey, me too. This might be the start of a ...     :-)


Thu, 13 Oct 2005 07:24:53 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:


>> PS - I don't care if there are more or less of a gender in SW unless:
>> -- it is costing me money
>> -- there is something illegal or imm{*filter*}going on

>> And I do not want my tax money spent trying to get "even parity"
>> in programming

[snip]

Quote:
> You would if it meant a greater probability of safer software being
> installed in the planes you fly or the subways you take, wouldn't you?

But it doesn't mean that at all, rather the opposite. People should be
hired purely based on their ability to do the job. When you start to
push for numerical parity among the sexes (, races, etc.) for it's own
sake you undermine that goal. Fighting illegal/imm{*filter*}discrimination is
one thing, but there's a very fine line between that and say, throwing
out your top applicant because you need meet your quota on red haired
(^_^) employees. Quotas are a form of discrimination in themselves - a
legal one perhaps, but dubiously m{*filter*}and nothing that will make the
software in planes or underground trains any safer.

--
Wishing you good fortune,
--Robin Kay-- (komadori)



Thu, 13 Oct 2005 07:41:45 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada
Sheesh, to some people *all* questions must be political.
I really, really, doubt that Bob Leif was planning to propose gender, hair
color, or any consideration other than ability, for hiring programmers.
The question was whether there is any data available on the average grades
people get in programming class, as a function of gender and language.
Such averages would not be very useful in a single hiring decision, but it
might, or might not, turn out to be helpful for language advocacy (and
perhaps for language design).
----------------------------------------
Observation trumps belief.


Thu, 13 Oct 2005 10:57:21 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:

>> You would if it meant a greater probability of safer software being
>> installed in the planes you fly or the subways you take, wouldn't
>> you?

> But it doesn't mean that at all, rather the opposite. People should be
> hired purely based on their ability to do the job.

Which, sometimes, may depend on their sex. "hired purely based on their
ability" is not very objective. Also, if two candidates, one male and
one female, had identical "abilities to do the job", _I_ would chose,
independent of quotas, the female candidate purely based on the
not-documented-but-in-my-experience effect of, on average, females
outperform males in the field of engineering.

Quote:
> Quotas are a form of discrimination in themselves - a
> legal one perhaps, but dubiously m{*filter*}and nothing that will make the
> software in planes or underground trains any safer.

Have you worked in an all-male environment (dislaimer: Robin being a vry
neutral name)? The only thing worse is perhaps an all-female
environment (or so have I been told). :) Even if all those males
possessed better abilities than their female rivals, I would never have
such a composition in my (hypothetical) department.

 -Frode
--

|  with Standard.Disclaimer; use Standard.Disclaimer;  |



Thu, 13 Oct 2005 08:19:25 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:

> I really, really, doubt that Bob Leif was planning to propose gender, hair
> color, or any consideration other than ability, for hiring programmers.

I wasn't replying to Robert (Bob?) Leif's original question but rather
to Frode's suggestion that government enforcement/encouragement of even
numerical parity between the sexes would increase the quality of
software in safety critical applications.

--
Wishing you good fortune,
--Robin Kay-- (komadori)



Thu, 13 Oct 2005 20:38:47 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:



>>> You would if it meant a greater probability of safer software being
>>> installed in the planes you fly or the subways you take, wouldn't
>>> you?

>> But it doesn't mean that at all, rather the opposite. People should be
>> hired purely based on their ability to do the job.

> Which, sometimes, may depend on their sex. "hired purely based on their
> ability" is not very objective. Also, if two candidates, one male and
> one female, had identical "abilities to do the job", _I_ would chose,
> independent of quotas, the female candidate purely based on the
> not-documented-but-in-my-experience effect of, on average, females
> outperform males in the field of engineering.

Ability can be measured objectively, at least to some extent. On the
other hand, selecting a candidate based (at least in part) on their sex
is subjective, influenced by whether you believe that a particular sex
is superior or inferior at performing a certain task. In practice it may
be necessary to sometimes make such educated gueses, but still I regret
its necessity.

Quote:
>> Quotas are a form of discrimination in themselves - a
>> legal one perhaps, but dubiously m{*filter*}and nothing that will make the
>> software in planes or underground trains any safer.

> Have you worked in an all-male environment (dislaimer: Robin being a vry
> neutral name)? The only thing worse is perhaps an all-female
> environment (or so have I been told). :) Even if all those males
> possessed better abilities than their female rivals, I would never have
> such a composition in my (hypothetical) department.

Given that the abilities of an average male and female candidate are
roughly equal, then a fair and non-discrimatory hiring process should
result in roughly equal numbers of male and female empolyees. A single
sex enviroment of any significant size is indicitive of something having
gone wrong.

--
Wishing you good fortune,
--Robin Kay-- (komadori)



Thu, 13 Oct 2005 20:42:02 GMT  
 Effect of Gender in Learning Ada

Quote:

> Given that the abilities of an average male and female candidate are
> roughly equal, then a fair and non-discrimatory hiring process should
> result in roughly equal numbers of male and female empolyees. A single
> sex enviroment of any significant size is indicitive of something having
> gone wrong.

These topics are very complex... let me just expound a bit more.

"Given that" - Above, do you mean "Assuming that" or "Since it has
been proved that"? Is it hypothesis or fact?

"Abilities" - to do what? Get good grades? Impress the hiring agents?
Or to
effectively produce as a good team member? I have seen lots of people
with "abilities" to work, cramming 4 hours of so-so work into 8 hours,
and
being praised for what they do (really for how the "look").
Measurement is
VERY difficult.

Robin's first sentence above, instead of "equal numbers", should
(IMHO) be
"numbers proportionate to the applicant pool" or something to that
effect.

Though I still do not agree that every software group (or any group)
must be proportionate to the applicant pool on the basis of gender,
race, ethnicity, (dis)ability, religous (un)affiliation and {*filter*}
preference. Isn't that the
total package? Or did I leave out any criteria?

Robin's last sentence above should (IMHO) have a "possibly" between
"is"
and "indicative".  So many factors ...

enough for now   :-)
Peter



Fri, 14 Oct 2005 02:06:25 GMT  
 
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