Gender and Data: Survey Results

Posted 10 Dec 2014 to ruby and has Comments

As a followup to the post describing my thoughts around renaming the gender_detector gem, I wanted to release the results of the survey at the end (if you haven’t read the original post, you should definitely go back to get a sense of context).

First, there were way more responses then I hoped for (545 total responses!). 15% were female (83), 81% male (444), and 3% (18) provided another gender (which were mostly antagonistic, like “squirrel”). Just over half (283) provided additional comments.

I’ve got some summary stats below - and while I’d love to provide some inferences based on the responses, I’d much rather see what analysis others may do with the data. Leave a comment below if you do a write up, and I’ll add a link in this post.

Question Summaries

When I first heard the name of the gem SexMachine I felt…

For the male respondents, 80% mentioned indifference or happiness (355) and 11% mentioned feeling uncomfortable (50). For females, 77% mentioned indifference or happiness (64) and 14% mentioned feeling uncomfortable (12).

On a scale of 0 to 5, how strongly do you feel that the name should have been changed.

Average for the males was 1.1 and females was 0.7.

Additional comments

About half of the males (226) and half the females (44) provided additional comments. 3% of the males (12) and 2% of females (2) used some form of “thanks”.


  1. The responses are self-reported. There’s no way to tell how many people provided honest responses.
  2. I didn’t clean up the data. For instance, duplicates and invalid responses were not removed (I’m assuming the few squirrels were actually the same squirrel responding multiple times).
  3. While 545 responses was about 500 higher than I was expecting, it’s still a miniscule representation of the entire coding world. Typical warnings about a small n apply.


You can download the response data from google docs. Leave a comment below if you do a write up, and I’ll add a link in this post.