What It’s Like to be a Woman in Coding

CODE Movie Debugging the Gender GapIn an April 22, 2015 article, posted online at The Atlantic, and titled, “When Women Code”, author Shirley Li introduces the documentary CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap, and follows with a Q&A with the movie’s director, Robin Hauser Reynolds.


(quotes from the article’s author, Shirley Li)

“…what code hasn’t built, as the tech industry proves again and again, is gender parity among the coders themselves.”

“…the film’s director traces how American culture has shaped the perception—perpetuated by men and women—that coding is just for men.”



(quotes from movie’s director, Robin Hauser Reynolds)

“I felt that it was really important to get the real story of what it’s like to be a woman in coding.”

(The movie is)…“showing women happy in their space, women that weren’t happy that left, and showing that some women are there and are sort of suffering quietly. I think it’s just important to show all of it.”

“I thought it was really important to show a human side and show their character a little bit.” (The film shows women away from their work spaces, as well as at their computers.)

“Computer science education is not mandatory in schools here yet. That’s essential, but it’s also a cultural thing…adolescent men and boys are…more comfortable with computer science by the time they get to college.”

“You cannot be what you cannot see, right?”

“But I think there needs to be an effort on both women and men to make change, and I hope that this film has an impact across a broad reach of people.”


About Shirley Li, from her website, which includes links to her work and her resume:
“I’m a journalist based in New York City, where I work as an editorial assistant for Entertainment Weekly. My writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Wired, and Sports Illustrated.”

CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap‘s website home page reads:
“CODE documentary exposes the dearth of American female and minority software engineers and explores the reasons for this gender gap. CODE raises the question: what would society gain from having more women and minorities code?…”

Director, Robin Hauser Reynolds‘s bio blurb from the Meet the Crew page of the film website.


An April 20, 2015 post by Jena Keahon on IndieWire, titled “Here’s Why We Need More Women in Coding”, includes excerpts from a panel discussion following the April 19, 2015 screening of the documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.

The panel included:

  • Director, Robin Hauser Reynolds
  • Qualcomm chief learning officer, Tamar Elkeles
  • GoDaddy chief people officer, Auguste Goldman
  • Etsy engineering director for infrastructure, Jason Wong
  • They discussed the “lack of American female and minority software engineers and what needs to be done in order to solve this problem.”


    A March 11, 2016 post on WiT by Marissa Trew, The Millennial Traveller: Girl Code or the Lack Of analyzes the movie’s message and the current culture in software engineering and steps for change.

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