There are so few female programmers because they find it BORING
I was thinking again, today, about why there are so few female computer programmers.
Some will say it’s because women aren’t good at math. Now it’s true that girls score lower, on average, on the math SAT than boys. And I agree that aptitude to do well on the math SAT is very similar to the aptitude to do well at computer programming. However, I’ve worked with a lot of Indian computer programmers and the vast majority of them are not mathematical geniuses. I am certain that there are millions of women in the United States who scored high enough on the math SAT to have the aptitude to program at the level of the typical Indian immigrant mediocrity.
I believe that the BORINGNESS factor plays a very important role. Girls find computer programming BORING. They also find math really boring, which could explain in part why they don’t do as well on the math SAT. This is not to say that there aren’t biological differences between the sexes, but is it that girls are biologically inclinded to do poorly at math (relative to boys), or are they biologically inclined to find math boring, which in turns demotivates them from studying and learning the material, which causes the lower math SAT scores? I say that it’s probably a little of both. And the BORING factor can run in the other direction, because people are naturally less interested in things they are bad at.
Computer programming is pure logical thinking, and women prefer emotional thinking over logical thinking. Logical thinking is something they can do when they have to, but their preferred mode of thinking is emotional rather than logical. I also believe that the majority of men favor emotional thinking over logical thinking as well. But of those people whose preferred mode of thinking is logical rather than emotional, probably 95% of them are men.
We don’t live in a society where young people are normally told that they should persevere with boring material because it would lead to a higher paying, but boring, career. Young people are more often told the opposite. “Follow your passion.” “Do what you love and the money will follow.” You are ten times more likely to hear a high school commencement speaker say something like that rather than “study something BORING that pays well.” But in India, the opposite is true. Everyone in India wants to learn IT, not because they love it or have passion for it, but because they see it as a ticket for moving to America and getting a job here. (And I should add that American corporations seem happy to punch a lot of Indian tickets.)