Alexander Serebrenik

Eindhoven University of Technology

Gender in Open-Source Software Development

This talk will provide a brief overview of several recent studies of gender and gender diversity in software development teams. The main findings are: (1) more gender-diverse GitHub teams are not only more productive than less gender-diverse ones (Vasilescu et al., CHI 2015), but they are also less likely to exhibit suboptimal communication patterns (Catolino et al., ICSE-SEIS 2019) known to lead to suboptimal code patterns (Palomba et al., TSE 2019); and (2) social capital obtained by collaboration in GitHub open source projects is beneficial for duration of engagement in an open source project; diversity of information ties, i.e., involvement in very different projects, is beneficial for people of all genders, more so for women than for men (Qiu et al., ICSE 2019). If the time permits, it will also touch on the ongoing work related to going beyond gender binary. In this preliminary study that has been based on interviews of three transgender women working in software development, it has been observed that remote work, facilitated by technological solutions, reduces barriers for participation in software development projects. It is conjectured that remote work can benefit other underrepresented minorities as well (Ford et al., ICSE-SEIS 2019).

Alexander Serebrenik is a Full Professor of Social Software Engineering at Eindhoven University of Technology. His research goal is to facilitate evolution of software by taking into account social aspects of software development. He has co-authored a book Evolving Software Systems (Springer Verlag, 2014) and more than 100 scientific papers and articles. He has won several distinguished paper and distinguished review awards.