But... Are there any social inequalities when it comes to female software engineers? Is the man somehow keeping chicks out of coding classes? Is the ol' boys club not allowing cooties to spoil their source?
yeah, kinda. It is documented that girls lose interest in STEM subject matter in elementary school, presumably because they pick up on society clues that 'women aren't supposed to like math'. We aren't spitting at them or threatening them for showing up to flip bits, but it isn't easy to swim against societies expectations. The (few) girls that I have meet that write code have been fairly unconventional individuals that didn't fit any traditional female archetype. It seems to me that the girls that are becoming coders are the types willing to fly in the face of society's traditional gender perceptions. So, yeah, there are.
Why don't more women explore STEM careers? Because American society tells them it's not cool. Contrast this with Iceland, for example, where Mathematics is considered a subject for girls. (At the risk of over-simplifying, the boys just want to finish high school and join their fathers on the fishing boats.)
Or to put it another way: if it was a 54/46% gender split, I could write it off and say that there isn't anything wrong. 90/10% split? Yeah, something is going on.
Historically there has been a gradient downwards in female representation in the sciences from the "softer" (psychology, biology, etc.) to the "harder" (chemistry, physics, mathematics.) In the past I have heard the discrepancy to be as wide as 90/10 in physics.
There may be differences between male and female brains, but I think that's only an argument in favor of encouraging both genders to participate in STEM disciplines. For science to advance, we need different perspectives from minds that don't think alike.