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Worldwide Gender Differences in Public Code Contributions

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Abstract

Gender imbalance is a well-known phenomenon observed throughout sciences which is particularly severe in software development and Free/Open Source Software communities. Little is know yet about the geography of this phenomenon in particular when considering large scales for both its time and space dimensions. We contribute to fill this gap with a longitudinal study of the population of contributors to publicly available software source code. We analyze the development history of 160 million software projects for a total of 2.2 billion commits contributed by 43 million distinct authors over a period of 50 years. We classify author names by gender using name frequencies and author geographical locations using heuristics based on email addresses and time zones. We study the evolution over time of contributions to public code by gender and by world region. For the world overall, we confirm previous findings about the low but steadily increasing ratio of contributions by female authors. When breaking down by world regions we find that the long-term growth of female participation is a worldwide phenomenon. We also observe a decrease in the ratio of female participation during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that women's ability to contribute to public code has been more hindered than that of men.
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Dates and versions

hal-03571837 , version 1 (14-02-2022)

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Davide Rossi, Stefano Zacchiroli. Worldwide Gender Differences in Public Code Contributions: and how they have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 44th International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2022) - Software Engineering in Society (SEIS) Track, May 2022, Pittsburgh, PA, United States. ⟨10.1145/3510458.3513011⟩. ⟨hal-03571837⟩
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