Third Software Engineering Research Lab Workshop

18 SEPTEMBER, 2017


"Womenomics" and Gender-Inclusive Software: What the Software Industry Needs to Know.

Margaret Burnett
Margaret BurnettOSU Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University

Gender inclusiveness in software companies is receiving a lot of attention these days, but it overlooks a potentially critical factor: software itself. Research into how individual differences cluster by gender shows that males and females often work differently with software for problem-solving (e.g., tools for programming, debugging, spreadsheet modeling, end-user programming, game-based learning, visualizing information, etc.). In this talk, I'll present the first real-world investigation of software practitioners' ability to identify gender-inclusiveness issues in software they create/maintain, using a method we call GenderMag.  At the core of the method are 5 facets of gender differences drawn from a large body of foundational work on gender differences from computer science, psychology, education, communications, and women's studies. Results from the field study were that software practitioners identified a surprisingly high number of gender-inclusiveness issues in their own software. We present these results and more, along with tales from the trenches on what it's like to use GenderMag, where the pitfalls lie, and all the things we are still in the process of learning about it.

Margaret Burnett is an OSU Distinguished Professor at Oregon State University.  She began her career in industry, where she was the first woman software developer ever hired at Procter & Gamble Ivorydale.  A few degrees and start-ups later, she joined academia, with a research focus on people who are engaged in some form of software development. She was the principal architect of the Forms/3 and FAR visual programming languages and co-founded the area of end-user software engineering, which aims to improve software for computer users that are not trained in programming. She pioneered the use of information foraging theory in the domain of software debugging and leads the team that created GenderMag, a software inspection process that uncovers gender inclusiveness issues in software from spreadsheets to programming environments.


Burnett is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and a member of the ACM CHI Academy. She currently serves on three editorial boards including that of IEEE’s Transactions on Software Engineering and has served in over 50 conference organization and program committee roles.  She is also on the  Academic Alliance Advisory Board of the National Center for Women in IT (NCWIT).


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Past Workshops

2nd Workshop

Margaret Burnett
"Womenomics" and Gender-Inclusive Software: What the Software Industry Needs to Know.

08 Jun 2017

16 May 2017

1st Workshop

Tao Xie
“Software Analytics: Data Analytics for Software Engineering

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