Culture

Facebook rejects notion it has bias against female engineers

The social network disputes an analysis that code by female staffers was rejected 35 percent more than code by their male counterparts.

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One internal study said women waited 3.9 percent longer to get their code accepted, and received 8.2 percent more comments and questions than their male counterparts.

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Does Facebook have a gender bias issue?

A woman who was an engineer at the social network said code written by women gets rejected more often than men, according to a report published Tuesday in The Wall Street Journal. The analysis by the ex-employee, who wasn't named, said female engineers received 35 percent more rejections than male engineers.

The study posted internally in September also said women waited 3.9 percent longer to get their code accepted, and received 8.2 percent more comments and questions than their male counterparts. The analysis also came about four months before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's 6,000-word manifesto on developing "the social infrastructure" to build "a global community."

In response to the initial study, Facebook conducted a second study led by Jay Parikh, its head of infrastructure. His findings reportedly suggested the code rejections weren't due to gender, but rank. Facebook's workforce is about 33 percent female, with women accounting for 17 percent of technical roles.

The Journal pointed out it wasn't able to independently verify the results of either analysis or assess the methodology.

A Facebook spokeswoman said in an emailed statement that the Journal story relied on analysis that's "incomplete and inaccurate."

"Any meaningful discrepancy based on the complete data is clearly attributable not to gender but to seniority of the employee," the spokeswoman 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."

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