If We Offended Anyone…


8. If we’ve offended anyone, well, let’s just say there are bigger problems in the world to worry about. 

– from the Codebabes Philosophy page

Earlier today, the Washington Post and Fast Company ran short pieces about Codebabes, which is pretty much what it sounds like: A site that encourages men to learn how to code by flashing sexy, scantily clad “babes” all over its landing page and training videos.

Both stories about the site questioned its seriousness – could this be a joke? A biting satire about Silicon Valley and the tech industry? A metacommentary on women on the web?

What we know is that women are notoriously underrepresented in the technology industry. Tracy Chou, a software engineer at Pinterest, collected data about women engineers in tech from 84 different companies. To paraphrase Upworthy, what she found . . . shouldn’t surprise you at all: Tech companies employ an paltry average of 12.33% women engineers.

It’s a comically small number that companies often attribute to the ‘pipeline problem,’ which boils down to, “Not enough women major in computer science or technology, and our employment statistics reflect that limited pool of qualified women candidates.” Although there is definitely a pipeline problem – fewer than 20% of high school students who take the AP Computer Science exam are women; less than 1% of college freshwomen say that they plan to major in computer science – it doesn’t fully explain why there aren’t more women in tech.

Garbage like Codebabes does.

Here is a site that uses women’s bodies to teach men  – who are already overrepresented in the tech industry – how to code, while dismissing the concerns of anyone who might be offended.

In a way, it doesn’t matter whether Codebabes is fake or real. Not knowing whether a site like this is fake is a problem unto itself: We live in a world where it is conceivable that someone could have an idea for this website, build it, and publish it to the public.

Update: Several media outlets, including On The Media’s TLDR, put out requests for comment from Codebabes folks – no responses yet.