Facebook Engineer: Women's Code Rejected More Than Men

A Facebook staffer said 'code written by women was rejected much more frequently than code written by their male colleagues.' Facebook says she's working with incomplete data.
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For female engineers, Facebook may not be such a great place to work.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, a "longtime" Facebook staffer last year collected data confirming that "code written by women was rejected much more frequently than code written by their male colleagues." In fact, "female engineers received 35 percent more rejections of their code than men," the staffer reportedly found.

 

The controversy, which is just coming to light now, "touched off a debate within Facebook," and compelled senior officials at the company to conduct their own review of the engineer's investigation, according to the Journal. Facebook's review did not corroborate the engineer's findings, however.

A month after the staffer's review became a big deal inside Facebook, Facebook's VP of engineering, Jay Parikh, published an internal notice attributing "any gap in rejection rates to an engineer's rank, not gender," the Journal notes.

That finding didn't sit too well with people either. "Many employees interpreted this new analysis as a sign that female engineers weren't rising at the same rate as men who joined the company around the same time," the Journal says.

In a statement to PCMag, Facebook said the Journal's report is based on an "analysis that is incomplete and inaccurate -- performed by a former Facebook engineer with an incomplete data set."

Facebook acknowledged that it -- and the technology industry as a whole -- needs more women in senior engineering roles.

"Any meaningful discrepancy based on the complete data is clearly attributable not to gender but to seniority of the employee," Facebook said. "In fact, the discrepancy simply reaffirms a challenge we have previously highlighted -- the current representation of senior female engineers both at Facebook and across the industry is nowhere near where it needs to be."

The news comes after former Uber engineer Susan J. Fowler in February described in a blog post a culture of sexism and sexual harassment at the company. Among other claims, Fowler said a male manager solicited sex over company chat, and was only given a "stern talking-to." Meanwhile, a female Tesla employee recently filed suit against the electric car maker over what she calls "pervasive harassment" against women at the company.

Facebook last summer said about 67 percent of its employees are men, 83 percent of whom work in tech-related positions. Men also hold 73 percent of senior leadership jobs at Facebook. The social network at the time blamed lackluster technology education at the high school level for the difficulties it faces in diversifying its workforce.


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