Gender differences and programming environments across programming populations.

Margaret M. Burnett, Scott D. Fleming, Shamsi T. Iqbal, Gina Venolia, Vidya Rajaram, Umer Farooq, Valentina Grigoreanu, and Mary Czerwinski


Although there has been significant research into gender regarding

educational and workplace practices, there has been little investigation

of gender differences pertaining to problem solving with

programming tools and environments. As a result, there is little

evidence as to what role gender plays in programming tools—and

what little evidence there is has involved mainly novice and enduser

programmers in academic studies. This paper therefore investigates

how widespread such phenomena are in industrial programming

situations, considering three disparate programming

populations involving almost 3000 people and three different

programming platforms in industry. To accomplish this, we analyzed

four industry “legacy” studies from a gender perspective,

triangulating results against each other and against a new fifth

study, also in industry. We investigated gender differences in

software feature usage and in tinkering/exploring software features.

Furthermore, we examined how such differences tied to

confidence. Our results showed significant gender differences in

all three factors—across all populations and platforms.


Publication typeProceedings
PublisherACM ESEM
> Publications > Gender differences and programming environments across programming populations.