Check it out:
Emma McGrattan, the senior vice-president of engineering for computer-database company Ingres-and one of Silicon Valley’s highest-ranking female programmers-insists that men and women write code differently. Women are more touchy-feely and considerate of those who will use the code later, she says. They’ll intersperse their code-those strings of instructions that result in nifty applications and programs-with helpful comments and directions, explaining why they wrote the lines the way they did and exactly how they did it.The code becomes a type of “roadmap” for others who might want to alter it or add to it later, says McGrattan, a native of Ireland who has been with Ingres since 1992.Men, on the other hand, have no such pretenses.
What I find interesting here is not that men and women write different code. Well, duh… coding is a linguistic enterprise, and humans are going to very dramatically in how they do it, with a gender-related overprint that will be pretty visible. Like with all linguistic enterprises.What I find interesting, rather, is the way this is described. Oh, Emma is a female but I’m not sure if she’s going to get the Feminist of the Month award on this one.Here women are depicted as touchy-feely when what they are really doing is what everyone who writes code is supposed to do. The men are fucking up, ignoring their training, doing it wrong, for no good reason. The women have a pretense, but the men do not. So doing the right thing is a pretense that the men are spared of.But you have to read the original piece to be fair (to Emma). She is being paraphrased here by a journalist who may not be representing her properly.
There’s a big need to fix testosterone-fueled code at Ingres because only about 20% of the engineers are women, McGrattan says. (Most of them are in jobs involving quality assurance or adapting the product to a new locale, she says, and not the “heavy lifting” of writing code.) She’s on a mission to get more women interested in computer-programming careers. But “it’s proving very challenging,” she says.
Why am I missing the imagery of the steroid-popping iron pumping geeks writing perl scripts….