I was doing a bit of research and found this quote that sounded both very dated and sadly, not so dated. So I paired it with two more recent quotes, offered here without further comment.
Women are quite generally acknowledged to work under a handicap because of a more delicate physique. This shows itself in less ability to carry calmly the heavy burdens of administrative responsibility, to endure continued mental strain in technical work or to stand for a long period.
~ Salome Cutler Fairchild, “Women in American Libraries”, Library Journal, 29, 1904. Quoted in Still a Man’s World by Christine L. Williams.
So my best guess, to provoke you, of what’s behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people’s legitimate family desires and employers’ current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.
~ Lawrence Summers, Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce, January 2005
Programming is a very modal activity. To be any good at it you have to focus. And be very patient. I imagine it’s a lot like sitting in a blind waiting for a rabbit to show up so you can grab it and bring it home for dinner.There is specialization in our species. It seems pretty clear that programming as it exists today is a mostly male thing.
Dave Winer, Why are there so few women programmers?, Scripting News, August 19, 2013