A hilariously sad tale of gender bias

So, Secret recently came out with polls. I’ve always had the nagging feeling that many male (and female) engineers, managers, execs, etc. don’t really understand, agree with, or care about efforts to increase women in tech, but are too wary of saying so publicly. So I decided to ask about it.


Surprisingly, it turns out only around 25% of pollsters disagree, don’t get, or are apathetic about women in tech efforts. And of course, as comment threads are wont to do, the poll thread was quickly filled with an overwhelming debate between the two sides. I casually skimmed the comments as they came in, until the latest one caught my eye.

Well, I remembered @greenrocket talking about how people assumed she was a recruiter, other commenters challenging her, and her sharing who she was (which was incredibly brave). But I hadn’t had time to actually click through to her site.

So here’s a recap.

@greenrocket shares how she can talk about code for an hour, and people still assume she’s a recruiter.


This guy immediately decides to call her out as an “incapable coder” that doesn’t “deserve the respect she expects”. He then goes on to give her some heartfelt career advice about how she needs to be “as tough as an engineer” (because apparently, a quality needed for coding as a living is being “tough”).

You know that feeling you’re feeling right now? At least two of the commenters on the thread got it down in writing:

I’ll shorthand the part where @blueplug defends himself and asks that @greenrocket shares what she “talked for *an hour* ‘about code’” (could not be more caustic), so others could judge her worthiness as an engineer. @greenrocket gladly shares what she talked about, and then after someone tries to recruit her (since she’s now, you know, proven she’s not some dumb pretend-programmer lady who is just spouting lady words, apparently):

I’m ashamed to admit that at this point, I still didn’t know who Gayle was.

So, for those of you who were as unenlightened as I was, and are too lazy to go to her website, here’s the kicker of this whole debacle:

Gayle Laakmann McDowell is the Founder and CEO of CareerCup.com, and the author of “Cracking The Coding Interview” (pretty much THE most well known coding interviewing prep book, ever to exist).

TL;DR After listening to the woman who wrote the #2 Computer Science book on Amazon, about coding and technical interview skills, people have still assumed she’s a recruiter. Some rando asshole on the internet called her an “incapable coder” who didn’t “deserve the level of respect she expects”, demanded she prove herself, and even tried to give her career advice (buddy, she literally wrote the book on programming interviews and has had a more successful career so far than you could ever dream of).

If that isn’t one of the most epically sad examples of gender bias (by an impressively oblivious person who probably thought he was just being fair —if you read in the thread, he continues to defend himself and the people who thought she was a recruiter since it must be *something* other than her gender), I’m not sure what else needs to happen to prove there really is a need for active efforts to battle subconscious judgements and actions like these.