Women in IT: Is Logic by Nature Men's Business?

When we write about women in IT, some arguments crop up in our forum again and again. We've asked ourselves and questioned the most common: Do they agree?

This time: Women are by nature not made for technical jobs.

TLDR: That's not true. To be sure, physical conditions, such as certain hormones, determine the expression of certain talents. However, as can be seen for example from math school tests, the difference is not nearly so great that it could serve as an explanation for the small proportion of women in IT.

Do you look at the Federal Statistical Office the numbers for the winter semester 2018/2019, it is striking that the number of first year students in computer science is still low: they account for only 22.5 percent. And it is noticeable that this share has been the same for many years. Is it perhaps true that women are by nature less fun at the reflection and construction of algorithms chains than men?

Job market

  1. Thomas Preuhs Holding GmbH, Geislingen-Binsdorf
  2. Fresenius Kabi Germany GmbH, Bad Homburg

First of all, if you want to answer this question, you are venturing into a field of research in which the research community has not yet found consensus. There is still less passionate research in the research than the question of what ability boys and girls bring with them before birth and what kind of skills they will be taught to do in the course of life. This "Nature vs Nurture" debate has spawned many scientific studies in recent years. At the core of this is the question of which behavior is biological in man and woman and which habits are shaped by the environment.

For example, boys tend to scuffle more often because they see their favorite heroes in action movies physically solving their problems and then imitating this behavior in the game ("Nurture") – or because the raving and beating in them is biological ("Nature"). ?

Professor Steffen Kröhnert from the Koblenz University of Applied Sciences and Stephan Sievert from the Berlin Institute for Development and Population have completed the study "Weak graduation – Why boys in education fall behind girls and what should be done about it" released, Biological constitution is considered as an explanation why boys and girls bring other school results home. "Undoubtedly, the most important male sex hormone, especially in childhood, has a stimulating effect on competitive orientation and risk taking," you write. This explains why boys like to compete with each other and pick up fewer books. "Girls repeatedly find that raising estrogen levels improves language skills and worsens visual-spatial abilities," it goes on.

But if boys are better at visual-spatial orientation because of their hormones than at linguistic expressions, how is it then to male Nobel laureates such as Thomas Mann, a "linguistic genius", and female Nobel laureates like Katie Boumann, the scientist who wrote the algorithm for recording the black hole, which certainly requires a large amount of spatial imagination?

"The differences between boys and girls have to be seen relatively, not absolutely", explain Kröhnert and Sievert. "Biological differences are by no means so pronounced that they must be accepted as the unalterable fate of girls and boys." They just showed that some tasks are easier for girls and other boys. "Overall, the brains of boys and girls show much more in common than differences," so the authors.