How many mistakes can you spot in this exercise?

laojala profile image Laura Ojala ・1 min read

Content warning: This post contains sexist material that might make your brain melt.

Update (June 2020): Course provider has promised to change the wording of their exercises! That is great!

I could not believe my eyes when I saw this programming exercise on a C++ course that is widely offered in Finnish Universities.

How many mistakes can you spot here?

“Write a program that asks the users gender and age. Finally the program prints a sentence based on the following rule:

  • Male 0-55 years: “You are a man in his prime!”
  • Male 56-100 years: “You are a wise man!”
  • Female 0-55 years: “You are like a blooming flower!”
  • Female 56-100 years: “You look young for your age!”
  • Else “Error encountered!” Age is handled as an integer variable and gender as string variable (m/f). Letter case is ignored.”

And if someone does believe this is true, here's a screencap of it:

Screencap from exercise. Text is posted below.

This might be some wicked way of pointing out sexism in IT industry. In my opinion, simply, not cool!

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Some mistakes come to mind:

1: What about those who identify as non-binary?
2: What a "nice" way to promote some age-based discrimination...
3: And hmmn, of course men get a comment on their intelligence, and women about their looks.


As a problem, there is problem to solve. As a sexism approach, it can or cannot be one.
the lgbtq isn't worldwide, either feminism.