Women programmers in Australia and the problem with lists

womenprogrammerslistLists are tricky beasts, by their very nature they tend to exclude what not on the list. So the creation of a big list of female programmers in Australia was always going to ambitious and dangerous. The list began life as a top-50 type of thing as remains evidenced by the URL. Comments quickly led to that being changed to a more inclusive list of female programmers.

The list is interesting and does begin to demonstrate the breadth of female programming talent that we have locally – and in that sense it is probably worthwhile. But the very existence of something purporting to be a list of female programmers suggests that it’s practical to create and maintain such a beast and that is testament to the fact there simply aren’t as many women coders as there should be.

The top-50 was too hard given the impossibility of comparing ‘programmers’ from different fields. An all inclusive is interesting, but ultimately doomed to leave people out. Perhaps a list focusing on those women who have made a difference not by virtue of being a woman programmer but by directly and actively encouraging women to participate in programming would be a practical and worthwhile thing.

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