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You're right that we "don't see anyone scrutinizing public commit counts when it's a man in a similar context". Well of course! The media never promotes an inflated story of a man's accomplishments due to him being a man, so it would be silly to suspect it.

Nobody is doubting that it is possible for a woman to do impressive science.

It's just the ordinary problem of trying to promote/advance/assist a particular group of people. Any time that happens, it casts suspicion on the whole group. Both the deserving and the undeserving are suspected of having what isn't earned. Everybody in the group is thus hurt.




> The media never promotes an inflated story of a man's accomplishments due to him being a man, so it would be silly to suspect it.

Stories about men aren't thought of as being inflated "due to him being a man" because the default perspective is that men make history. Now that more awareness is being given to the contributions of overlooked women and members of other disenfranchised groups, people seem more eager to think that someone is being celebrated because of their identity.

> Nobody is doubting that it is possible for a woman to do impressive science.

Women's contributions to science and engineering have long been overlooked, if not outright doubted. Fran Allen's (the first woman to win the Turing Award) chapter in "Coders at Work" [0] is a good example.

> Seibel: So when you won the Turing, did you think to yourself, "Gee, there's another woman who should have won this a long time ago?"

> Allen: Well, the very first thing I thought about was how wonderful it was. And then I started to think about all the many other women who were never recognized at all for their work. In many cases, their work was stolen. I thought about the women who had done some very amazing things that have not been recognized, even by their peers. When I approach them and say, "You need to join some professional organizations-I'll write some recommendations for you," they kind of shy away from that.

> Seibel: So you think that part of the problem is they don't get recognized because they're not putting themselves in a place to be recognized as easily.

> Allen: Right.

> Seibel: Are there any particular folks that you would like to name-to give a little recognition now?

> Allen: Well, there's Edith Schonberg, who is a great computer scientist. In terms of technical work, it's just one first after another on some of her papers. She's had work stolen-absolutely brutally stolen. She wrote a paper on debugging of parallel code, which is a very hard problem. It was not accepted at a conference and somebody who had been on the program committee made three papers out of it. That kind of thing. It happens in our field and we don't have good ways of dealing with it.

> Seibel: And it happens more to women?

> Allen: Yes, I think it does. They were often viewed as not going to put up a fight-that they were more isolated and don't have the advocates who will deal with a famous thief. He was a famous thief, known but nobody dared touch it. And there are plenty of others way back from the Stretch days. There was a woman who essentially was the inventor of multiprogramming and credit was taken by somebody who eventually became a Turing Award winner.*

Peter Seibel. Coders at Work: Reflections of the Craft of Programming (Kindle Locations 6413-6419). Kindle Edition.

[0] http://www.codersatwork.com/fran-allen.html


cough James Watson cough




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