|The stupid question is the question not asked|
Re: Female Programmers-WOTby John M. Dlugosz (Monsignor)
|on Jul 13, 2001 at 19:35 UTC||Need Help??|
I also agree that it's physical, not just cultural. Real Hacker (as defined in the Jargon File) Culture is very tolerent and open, so there would be no problem with acceptance based on sex.
Re multitask: In my own mind, I employ spacial skills to organize a program or a system. Hardware support in the brain for that kind of spacial reasoning is a distinctly male trait. Likewise, you mention "multitask rather than superfocus", the superfocus thing is also the sterotypical male "hunter" mindset.
But, TMTOWTDI, right? The "gatherer" (as opposed to the "hunter") would go through the forest and find things, and includes the ability to tell things apart easily when they might look just the same to us. Navigation is done via landmarks rather than by remembering distance and bearing, but it still works. If a female programmer also mapped a problem to a territory map, she might notice subtle difference and find bugs that way, recognise idioms and patterns more easily, etc.
Most significantly, the female brain has much better language ability. And just what is programming, but language? So I would expect that would avail itself to developing a very high level of fluency in programming languages.
So, we hyperfocus when "hunting down a bug", "tracking a problem", etc. But who says she has to do it the same way? Maintain awareness of the large system, rather than focusing on a detail.
Something I saw on the Discovery Channel showed rock-climbing as an example where different male/female skills worked out to give equal results, overall. Why isn't programming the same way? Maybe it's only a matter of appeal, not ability. But those generally go hand-in-hand—we evolve to be good at what we do.