FEMINIST WEEKLY

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Women Write Better Code, as Long as People Don’t Know They’re Women

Gabrielle Inhoffe
February 15, 2016 4:47 PM

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Third Art+Feminism Wiki-A-Thon is Upon Us

The feminists are taking over the interwebs, again!Art+Feminism is hosting its third Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Museum of Modern Art in New York next month, with over 100 associated edit-a-thons simultaneously occuring all over the world throughout March. The edit-a-thon is an all-day event aimed at creating more Wikipedia pages on women and the arts, covering feminist art movements, female artists, and feminist scholarship. (Might we suggest they add a section on the hidden women who influenced history’s greatest artists? Like, Picasso, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, just to name a few...) Last year, the event had 1,500 volunteers in New York alone, who together produced 334 new articles. This year, the edit-a-thon includes a panel discussion, childcare, editing support, small group discussions, and tutorials on how to contribute to Wikipedia. (Thank you Art+Feminism for supporting women’s online visibility, as well as procrastinators the world over who rely on Wikipedia.)

Wikipedia: Where you get the research you claim you got from a scholarly journal. 

Women Write Better Code, as Long as People Don’t Know They’re Women

Some real breaking news for you: women’s performance in STEM is routinely undervalued and underestimated. A recently published study reveals that software developers on GitHub, one of the world’s largest open-source software communities, approve more codes by women than men. But only when the coder’s gender is hidden. Software developers on GitHub can collaborate on projects and review each other’s work; when someone writes code for another person’s project, the latter can choose to accept or decline it. The researchers concluded that women’s code was accepted at a rate of 78.6%, and men’s at 74.6%. However, when coders’ profiles revealed that they were women, their acceptance rate shot down to 62.5%. (Have you closed the browser yet?)

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

On last week’s episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, Gloria Steinem remarked on a major fault line between young women’s and older women’s Democratic candidate preferences; such preferences depend on gendered associations of what’s “cool.” But was Steinem unfortunately misinterpreted? Major publications like The New York Times suggested Steinem meant that younger female Bernie Sanders supporters were on the lookout for boys. But in reality, her comments point to a societal ill plaguing most women: things associated with women are still seen as "passé" and "girly," while those associated with men are totally hip. (Might we suggest drinking a stiff brandy while reading Eat, Pray, Loveso that you really confuse people?) Steinem has apologized in the face of major outcry.

A small Himalayan country is pioneering the future for transgender people, and Bhumika Shrestha is leading the charge. Ms. Shrestha, who was assigned male at birth, is Nepal’s first citizen to hold a passport marked “O” for “other.” She continues to fight for equal opportunities in education and employment, and quality healthcare. (If Nepal didn’t have such a fraught history with monarchy, we might be tempted to say bow down.) There is still work to do: as in most countries, Nepal’s transgender community suffers disproportionately high levels of violence, harassment and economic vulnerability. But the country has come a long way in giving the community social and legal legitimacy. In 2007, the Nepalese Supreme Court ruled that citizens had the right to select their own gender identity. Four years later, the Nepal Census counted citizens using three genders. The Nepal Election Commission also allows voters to register under a third gender. 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING

We know who we wished our Valentine was yesterday: Turkish-French writer and director Deniz Gamze Ergüven! With dozens of award wins and nominations, her not even year-old fairy-tale-esque film Mustang has already made a global splash. Through fierce and literal  sisterhood, it promotes strong women in Turkey, a country whose prime minister believes that gender equality is “against nature.” About a third of Turkey’s marriages involve child brides, and men who murder women can receive reduced sentences by proving that the woman threatened their male dignity. (And Turkey’s still trying to join the EU? Okay.) In Ergüven’s film, her characters fight back against oppressive norms, questioning a society where women like the director feel a link between guilt and womanhood. (Can Hollywood borrow her?) And in the filmmaking industry, where female directors are few and far between, Ergüven readily embraces the label “female filmmaker.” She says the film industry suffers from a lack of women, as “This lack of perspective—the fact that we’re missing out on half of humanity’s perspective—makes us dumber, simple as that.” (And if you just read our women-in-STEM article, we have the numbers to verify this.)

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