What if Girls Are Not so Good At Programming?

Image result for stuart regesA UW instructor in comp sci recently got flamed on for raising the possibility that women are less good at math and comp sci.  Stuart Reges’own Chair lashed out saying that such an idea violated the Dept’s commitment to training women.

As a scientist and, hopefully as a rational human, I call PC.   Males and females … in all species … have inherited differences. So we must too. Beyond that there are cultural differences.

Obviously I do not know whether the biological differences affect female or male abilities in comp sci. Hell, perhaps women might be better at coding.  Perhaps there are no differences.  Perhaps males are better.  The answers to that biological question are likely hidden within the huge variations within each gender and even more so under the thick layer of civilized behavior we call cultures.

The problem is that “culture” needs to be a plural, “cultures.”  Since we grew beyond the first few Homo sapiens living in Africa, humans have lived in many cultures .  The US itself has several different cultures, a phenomenon now greatly exploited by Trump.  To Trump’s credit, however, there is good reason to show as much respect to the coal miner culture of West Virginia as we do to data miners living in ohso liberal Western Washington.  I would bet $100 that students growing up on Mercer Island make better programmers than students growing up in Bethany, WV, but I would also argue that the cultures in both places are worthy of respect.  If coal miner culture is bad for finding people to work for Bezos, perhaps it is great for training economists like my neighbor Dick Zerbe.  Across the US and the world men and women also have distinct cultures.  Talent to write code is more likely to be attributable to male vs female culture than to our choice of genital organs.  However, that is no reason to disparage culture.  Macho males take a beating from the dominant ohso liberal culture of the left.  The assertion that male culture .. being a marine, being macho, frat boys … is bad, is itself sexist. I am not very male in this sense, not macho and never interested in being a marine, but I know folks, including some women, who are very much of that male culture.

Why disparage gender culture? Why not celebrate female culture?  If  playing princess is bad training to write code, so what? I suspect that it is great training to be a doc.

I like marines and princesses.

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