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Gender & Information Technology: Issues & Theories. Prof. Eileen M. Trauth, PhD Faculty of Information Sciences and Technology (Informatik) Associate Dean The Pennsylvania State University etrauth@ist.psu.edu. Course Introduction. What subject do you study? What work will you do?

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slide1

Gender & Information Technology: Issues & Theories

Prof. Eileen M. Trauth, PhD

Faculty of Information Sciences and Technology (Informatik)

Associate Dean

The Pennsylvania State University

etrauth@ist.psu.edu

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

course introduction
Course Introduction
  • What subject do you study?
  • What work will you do?
  • Why do you take this course?
  • One important question about gender and technik?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

course format
Course Format
  • Lecture
  • Reading assignments
  • Questions
    • Email, after class, Stephen
  • Exam

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

course goals
Course Goals
  • Gender imbalance in information economy
    • Under representation of females
    • Over representation of males
    • Why should we care?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide5

The Information Economy

Information Society

Information Economy

Primary Information

Sector - Producers

Secondary

Information

Sector –

Consumers

HW, SW, systems/services

Content

IT people

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

course goals1
Course Goals
  • Critical examination of gender theories to understand observations about gender & IT imbalance
  • Using gender theories for critical examination of gender issues related to technik
  • Recommendations to address issues

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

evolution of information society
Evolution of Information Society
  • 1950s: computer
  • 1960s: Marshal McLuhan, “medium is the

message, “information”

  • 1970s: Daniel Bell, “post-industrial society”,

“information economy”

  • 1980s: ICT, “end user computing”
  • 1990s: WWW, Internet, National Information

Infrastructure

  • 2000s: globalization, e-society, e-inclusion

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

information society in austria bundespressedienst vienna 2005
Information Society in AustriaBundespressedienst Vienna, 2005

“… the rapid increase in use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for collecting, communicating, disseminating and exploiting information”

“By 2015 about four fifths of all human work will consist of handling information…”

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

information society in austria 7 key themes
Information Society in Austria:7 Key Themes

1 – Preventing digital division (e-inclusion)

2 – Infrastructure

3 – Modern, service-oriented public

administration

4 – More competitive SMEs through ICT

5 – ICT literacy

6 – Security of ICT applications

7 – High quality Austrian e-content

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

information society in austria gender e inclusion
Information Society in Austria:Gender & e-Inclusion

“eEurope Action Plan 2005 focuses above all on users, male and female. At all levels and for all activities full social participation is paramount…”

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

information society in austria gender e inclusion1
Information Society in Austria:Gender & e-Inclusion

“Opportunities to participate may vary from person to person because of socioeconomic (income, ancestry, education) and sociocultural (gender) barriers.”

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

information society in austria gender e inclusion2
Information Society in Austria:Gender & e-Inclusion

“For various reasons women are under represented both in research and development and also in founding new companies concerned with the application of the new ICT technologies.”

63% of men and 50% of women over 14 years are online (2005)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

information society in austria gender e inclusion initiatives
Information Society in Austria:Gender & e-Inclusion initiatives
  • EQUAL – EU initiative to fight discrimination and inequality in the labor market has specific programs to support women and ICT
  • Austrian regional initiatives
    • Women & ICT in Burgenland, ICT awareness
    • ABZ Vienna, ICT reentry
    • NOWA, Graz women’s network
    • IT4HER, Austrian Computer Society, careers in ICT

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

the gender ict problem
The Gender & ICT ‘Problem’
  • What is the current problem of gender & ICT (in research & application)?
  • Why should we care

(for research & application)?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide15

The Problem of Gender & ICT

  • Women are not minorities in the US population

In 2004, women accounted for:

    • 59.2% of the population over 16
    • 56% of the labor force (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2005)
  • Female participation increasing in some historically male-dominated professions (US)
    • Legal: 9.5% female (1971) to 44.4% (1996)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide16

The Problem of Gender & ICT

  • The representation of women in the IT profession is declining(ITAA, 2005, 2003)
  • Women are less likely to return to the IT profession after the dot.com bust (ITAA, 2005)

100%

59%

65%

68%

75%

50%

41%

35%

25%

32%

0%

Year

1996 2002 2004

Men

Women

  • Source (ITAA, 2005; 2003)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide17

The Gender & ICT ‘Problem’

The Problem for Application

  • Women are under represented with respect to information & communications technology (ICT) design, development & application
  • Are women under served with respect to ICT use?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

the gender ict problem1
The Gender & ICT ‘Problem’

Why should we care?

  • Addressing ICT worker shortages
  • (Gender) diversity & innovation
  • (Gender) diversity & economic development
  • Diversity of products & services
  • Increasing social inclusion & social access, decreasing digital gap

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

the gender ict problem2
The Gender & ICT ‘Problem’

The Problem for Research

  • Providing the quantitative & qualitative data to support the gender inequality claims
  • Developing & testing theoretically-informed, empirically-grounded interventions to equalize gender representation in production and consumption of ICT

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

the gender ict problem3
The Gender & ICT ‘Problem’

Why we should care

  • Choosing an appropriate theoretical lens for critically understanding this data
  • Theory: shedding constructive light on the issue or reinforcing unproductive & negative stereotypes?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide21

Gendered Technology?

  • Is technology (& ICT) gender neutral?
  • What is needed to overcome the gender imbalance in technological areas?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide22

Course Content

The dimensions of the gender & ICT ‘problem’

Gender & technology concepts

Gender theories used to understand gender & technology relations

Gender theory & information technology

Application of gender & ICT theory to critically analyze key issues

- socio-cultural influences on gender

- gender & ICT education

- gender & ICT workforce

- gender, ICT & power

- gender, ICT & work-life balance

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

dimensions of the gender ict problem
Dimensions of the Gender & ICT ‘Problem”
  • Interviews with 123 women working in the US ICT field (2002-2006)
  • Some prevalent gender discourses encountered by American women who work in the ICT field throughout their personal and professional development

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide24

Gender Discourses

  • Domestic responsibilities
  • Female Career opportunities
  • IT as a masculine profession

For each discourse a variety of responses were identified, as were influences on the women that shed light on this variation

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide25

Gender Discourse: Domestic Responsibilities

Women should sacrifice their careers for domestic responsibilities – discourse varies by sexual orientation, marital status, parenthood status

  • Typically, [the societal message is that the family obligations take precedence over the professional obligation. … I think typically [the societal view] is that when the woman has a child she should stay home and take care of them. The male would be the financial supporter. [Francie]

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide26

Gender Discourse: Female Career Opportunity

Gendered constraints on careers – discourse varies by age, race and socio-economic status

I had a 4.0 [grade point average] coming out of high school, but I was not directed toward one of the mainstream universities. I think there are a lot of factors affecting that, race being one of them. [Joanne]

My parents both always told me “you can be anything you want as long as you work hard and you are smart.” [Teri]

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide27

Gender Discourse: IT as a Masculine Profession

Suitability of women for the IT profession - discourse varies by race, local culture

It is hard [to fix the perception of IT work because] girls are hearing all kinds of crappy things all the time. [We need someone] who can make us see that IT is not this horrifying ocean of geekdom. It is not that bad. There are lots of really cool women in IT. It is not all freaks. That is the biggest concern of high school girls. Put yourself [in their shoes], what were you like in high school when you were sixteen? … It is not cute to be associated with geeks. [In my high school] the only people who were into computers were those creepy guys. There were like two or three creepy, unwashed, acne-filled [guys]. Nobody wanted to have anything to do with them. [Debbie].

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Questioning self-evident link between masculinity and technology
    • Critical examination needed
  • Traditional conception of technology heavily weighted against women
    • Technology as individual machinery (auto)
    • Diminish significance of traditionally female technologies
      • Horticulture, cooking, sewing, cleaning, child care
      • Reproduce stereotype of female as technologically ignorant

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture1
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Identification of technology with manliness
    • Not inherent in characteristics of biological sex?
      • Essentialist arguments that don’t hold up to deeper scrutiny (procedural knowledge in programming & cooking & sewing)
    • Male scientists substituting for their lack of feminine procreative power?
      • The creation of science and weapons compensating for inability to ‘give birth’ to humans
      • Sexual and ‘birth’ metaphors used

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture2
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Technological enterprise as masculine realm is consistent with male domination of all powerful institutions
    • i.e. not something specific to technology that is related to biological sex
  • Social (i.e. historical & cultural) construction of gender and of technology
    • Social construction of technology (SCOT)
    • Social study of technology (SST)
    • Science & technology studies (STS)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture3
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Masculine obsession with control
    • Early history of computing gender neutral
      • Ada Lovelace – programming
      • Grace Hopper – programming
    • Modern history of computing masculine

Soul of a New Machine: minicomputers

The Right Stuff: test pilots

      • competitive rivalry
      • compulsive dedication to ‘perfect computer’
      • no space for life outside of work

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture4
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
    • Hackers as male culture of ‘mastery’ & individualism
      • Addition to mastery rather than programming
    • Metaphors of power & domination
  • Masculine sexuality
    • ‘Heroes’ of the stories always men
    • Excitement of working on newest computer expressed in sexual terms:

“72 hours with girl of your dreams”

    • Women absent from the stories

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture5
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Women at home providing backdrop for men free to pursue ‘great projects’
  • Social construction of men having the ‘luxury’ of being single minded
    • A Room of One’s Own (Virginia Woolf) – Shakespeare’s sister

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture6
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Does it have to be this way?
    • Are these features (e.g. domination, control, obsession) necessarily ones that are inherent in the process of technological development?
    • Can women relate to this approach?
    • Do all men relate to this approach?
    • Social construction of gender

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture7
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Forms of masculinity
    • Different forms of masculinity related to different areas of technology
    • Both masculinity and femininity taking on culturally and historically diverse forms
      • Ethnicity/race/nationality
      • Culture
      • History
      • Generations

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture8
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Forms of masculinity
    • Hegemonic masculinity (Vorherrschaft)
      • Culturally dominant forms of masculinity
        • The dominant discourse (media, stereotypes, etc.)
        • Not necessarily how everyone behaves
      • Aggressiveness & capacity for violence (Western masculinity)
      • Based on physical toughness and mechanical skills
      • Relates to industrial era, working class context
      • Association with manual labor & machinery
        • Dirt, noise, danger

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture9
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Extent to which control of technology is embedded in hegemonic masculinity
    • ‘warrior ethic’ of heroic masculinity
    • Technology – military link
      • Context of development & application of technology
      • Defense support for ICT research & development
      • Closeness to physical danger as epitome of manly daring

(soldier, explorer, adventurer)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture10
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Females as unsuitable for the military; constitutionally disposed toward peace
    • Some feminists reinforcing traditional models of masculinity & femininity
    • Facts about warfare suggest otherwise
    • Historical role of women in military & warfare?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture11
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Hegemonic masculinity vs. subordinated or marginalized forms of masculinity
    • Examples?
  • Hegemonic masculinity vs. marginalized construction of femininity
    • Emotional, weak, less analytical
    • Inferior to men
    • Soft, nurturing
    • Ill-suited to technological pursuits

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture12
“Technology as Masculine Culture”

“As we have seen repeatedly, technology is more than a set of physical objects or artifacts. It also fundamentally embodies a culture or set of social relations made up of certain sorts of knowledge, beliefs, desires and practices.

Treating technology as a culture has enabled us to see the way in which technology is expressive of masculinity and how, in turn men characteristicaly view themselves in relation to these machines.” (p. 149)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture13
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Technology & femininity
    • Formal & informal mechanisms that reproduce the cultural stereotype of women as technologically incapable or invisible
      • Association of technology with physical strength
        • Size of microcomputers
      • The potential of computers to change stereotypes

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture14
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Computers as reinforcing gender relations in technology
  • Societal institutions reinforce masculinity with machines and technological competence
    • Schools: Link between education and gender divisions in the labor market
    • Computers conceptually linked to (gendered) math and science
      • The gendered realm of machinery
    • Harassment of females interested in computers

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture15
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Gendered game software
  • Mass media: images of computing with males
  • Public policy: anti (& positive) gender discrimination legislation
    • Positive effects: critical mass
    • Negative effects: reinforce ‘qualifications’ stereotype

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture16
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • The psychological argument: sex-based cognitive differences (Sherry Turkle)
    • Vs. the cultural argument
    • Males: fascination with the machine itself
      • hard masters – top down, abstract, rule follower
      • Competitive, impose will on the machine
    • Females: only interested in application
      • Soft masters – bottom up, concrete, tinkerer
      • Cooperative, interact & negotiate with machine
    • Feminist view: this difference not equated with inferiority

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture17
“Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • The psychological argument: rebuttal
    • Reminiscent of (now discredited) stereotype of women as too emotional, irrational and illogical to do mathematics
    • Purely psychological explanations neglect the historical and cultural context of computing education
    • Previous research on gender and mathematics shows girls as ‘rule followers’
    • Programming was originally a female pursuit
      • “ENIAC girls”

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

technology as masculine culture18
“Technology as Masculine Culture”

“Although studies do find evidence of differences between the sexes, the variation within the sexes is more important than the differences between them (p. 157).”

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • One of the first papers on gender and science
    • Research conducted in early-mid 1970s
  • Influencing the education of those who are currently working in science and technology
  • Gendering of ICT is part of a larger and longer pattern of gendering
    • Science is gendered (masculine)
    • Technology adopted pattern of gendering of science (masculine)
    • ICT adopting pattern of gendering of technology
      • ICT as masculine

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists1
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Shows how long the issue of gender and science/technology has been with us
  • Shows how deeply embedded is the gendering of science/technology
  • Themes that arose in 1977 that are still here in 2008

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists2
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Bringing to light the ‘hidden’ support upon which science depends (i.e. beyond universities, funding agencies, publication outlets)
  • An ‘enlightened’ view - the role of wife and family is important
  • Within this ‘enlightened view’ male scientists as the norm; female scientists as ‘the exception’

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists3
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • “… the developing of the personality of the young scientist…the strain of his economic situation.. effects upon his marriage… the increasing monastic absorption of the man, and the wife’s early fading and gradual loss of vitality and of confidence in herself as a woman… the lives of prominent scientists and their wives and children…demonstrate…the high price paid by these civilian expendables …

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists4
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • A substantial proportion of high school women have negative images of scientists
    • And therefore indicate that they would not want to marry a scientist
  • Do the wives of scientists have different images of scientists than other women?
  • Substantial evidence that scientists are strongly masculine in their orientation

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists5
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Interviews with 14 male scientists and their wives
    • 8 wives are scientists
    • 6 wives are not scientists
  • Discussion about the life of a scientists, gender stereotypes, differences among the two groups of women
  • Motivated by earlier research on moon scientists

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists6
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Life as a scientist or scientist’s spouse
    • Women scientists acknowledge social & educational barriers to women becoming scientists; non scientists don’t
    • Exclusion from “old boys’” network
    • When women achieve people are surprised
    • National Research Council rejected application: “We don’t hire women”
    • “I don’t know of any woman scientists who hasn’t run into prejudice”
    • “I wasn’t allowed to observe because I was told women are too weak to work on the mountain.”

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists7
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Perceptions about self & spouse regarding gender stereotypes
    • Scientists as “hypermasculine” – more masculine than adult man
      • Scientists, male, female
    • Aggressive
    • Independent
    • Active
    • Objective
    • Competitive
    • Logical
    • Thinks men are always superior to women
      • Scientists tied with men

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists8
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Female scientists challenging gender stereotypes: Female scientists, male scientists, female non scientists
    • Logical
    • Ambitious
    • Women are always superior to men

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists9
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”

“…women have not flocked to experimental physical science in increasing numbers as opportunities for higher education for women have been more nearly equalized. In other words, it may not be a social factor – lack of opportunity for women in science – but rather a personality factor – lack of interest in physical science among women - which accounts for the small number of female physical scientists.” (McClelland, 1970)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide57

“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”

  • Impact of gender on women scientists
    • role conflict
        • affirming traditional male values (objective, dispassionate) -scientist
        • affirming traditional female values (emotional concern)
    • responsible for emotional life of family
    • twin roles that male scientists didn’t face
    • women faced uphill battle for equality in science

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists10
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Women’s liberation movement
    • Female scientists are more ‘liberal’ than male scientists and female non scientists
    • Female scientists are significantly more ‘liberal’ regarding the women’s liberation movement

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

on the shoulders of the spouses of scientists11
“On the Shoulders of the Spouses of Scientists”
  • Issues from 1977 that exist in 2008
  • *explicit discrimination diminished
  • Implicit barriers remain
    • Educational & social barriers for women scientists/technologists
    • “Old boy’s” network
    • When women achieve people are surprised
    • IT field hypermasculinized
    • Structural barriers translated into lack of interest

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

science technology as masculine culture
“Science & Technology as Masculine Culture”
  • Is the Austrian workplace gendered?
  • Is science & technology in Austria gendered?
  • Is ICT (production or consumption) in Austria gendered?
  • For each question:
    • If yes, evidence
    • If no, evidence

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide61

“Science & Technology as Masculine Culture”

  • Social construction of masculinity & femininity in Austria in relation to ICT in the post-industrial era?
    • does it need to change?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Theorizing the relationship between gender and technology
    • Using a worldview about gender and technology in order to understand and explain observations
    • First astronauts were women; right stuff but wrong sex
      • Nothing natural or inevitable about technology identified as masculine, masculinity defined as technical competence

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art1
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • History of gender and technology studies
  • Feminist technology study motivated by critique of gender blindness of Marxism
    • Gender is an important factor in organization of work resulting from technological change
    • Labor process as much influenced by gender as class
    • Marxism ignoring unpaid labor done by women in the home
      • Now being recognized as people have to pay for it!

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide64

Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”

  • Feminist technology study motivated by second wave feminism
    • “women’s liberation” movement of 1970s & 1980s
    • Developing women’s technological capacity
    • Part of ‘consciousness raising’
    • Focus on power relations
      • Technology as an application area

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art2
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Feminist studies of technology
    • How technological developments reproduce gender hierarchies
      • Example: word processor
    • Vs. How gender relations could be transformed by new technology
      • Example: administrative assistant
    • Need to pay attention to women’s agency vs. passive victims of technology
      • Example: new jobs opening up as technology displaces old ones

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art3
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Social Construction of Technology (SCOT)
    • Technological artifacts subject to sociological analysis
      • Steam powered automobiles
    • Different groups of people can have very different understandings of that technology
      • Guns
    • Artifact plus context/culture
      • Mobile phone
    • Feminist theories not incorporated into technology theories
      • Technology diffusion

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art4
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Actor-network theory
    • Technology and society are mutually constitutive
      • i.e. mutually construct each other
      • Examples?
    • User interacts with artifact and can challenge and renegotiate meaning and use of artifact
      • Example: telephone – how?
    • Feminist theories not incorporated into technology theories
      • Men set up as norm against which women are measured and found wanting

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art5
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”

“…In contemporary Western society, hegemonic masculinity, the culturally dominant form of masculinity, is still strongly associated with technical prowess and power.”

  • Can we change this?
  • Should we change this?
  • How would we change this?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art6
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Feminist Science Technology & Society Research
    • Early studies of gender & technology theorized gender as a fixed and unitary phenomenon, which exists independently of technology
      • Sex = gender

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art7
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Poststructuralist feminist scholars: gender is not fixed in advance of social interaction
    • Gender constructed through interaction
      • Gender as a social construction
    • Sex not = gender
    • Gender is performed
    • Gender as doing vs. being

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art8
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Why
    • Gender identities can change
    • Broader acceptance of gender identities
      • Gender variation by country/culture
      • Examples?
    • Gender identity in virtual space
    • Biological sex can change
      • Transgendered individuals

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art9
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Conclusion
    • Neither masculinity, femininity nor technology are fixed, unitary categories
    • Can contain multiple possibilities and are constructed in relation to each other
    • Rejection of technophobia evident in earlier feminist writing

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender and technology reflections on gender technology studies in what state is the art10
Theorizing Gender and Technology“Reflections on Gender & Technology Studies: In What State is the Art?”
  • Conclusion
    • Cyberfeminism: technology as a source of empowerment for women
    • Most research still focuses on how technology shapes gender relations, not how gender relations can shape the design of technologies
      • Examples of gender relations shaping technology design?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide74

Gender & ICT Research:Under Theorization

  • Pre-theoretical research
    • Compiling statistics on gender differences in adoption, use & involvement in IT field
    • No gender theory used to inform research
      • No theory used to understand results
      • Theoretical insights about technology diffusion, organizational change, etc. not informed by gender theory

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender ict research under theorization
Gender & ICT Research:Under Theorization
  • Implicit-theoretical research
    • Research & interpretations guided by theory-in-use
    • Not explicitly articulated
      • Difficult to discuss, challenge, or test
    • Typically a theory of inherent gender differences
      • Essentialist: gender-based, inherent bio-psychological differences (e.g. technical aptitude)
      • Social constructivist: gender roles imposed on women by society, monolithically (e.g. domestic roles)
      • Perpetrating negative stereotypes

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender ict research under theorization1
Gender & ICT Research:Under Theorization
  • Insufficient-theoretical research
    • Essentialist & social construction theories do not adequately account for the variation in men’s and women’s relationships to information technology and the IT field
    • Need for new theoretical insights to guide research and the development of interventions
    • Probing space between the extremes of nature and nurture
    • Need for bridge between feminist & technology theories, and application to IT context

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

individual differences theory of gender it
Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT

Field testing theoretical claims about within-gender differences in exposure, experience, response to gender relations in IT field

A Field Study of Individual Differences in the Social Shaping of Gender and IT (NSF 2002-2007)

Exploration of the Effects of Race, Ethnicity and Socio-economic Class on Gender Stereotyping (NSF 2007-2010)

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender differences the concept of difference
Theorizing Gender Differences:“The Concept of ‘Difference’”
  • Difference between men and women
    • Source: essentialism or social construction
    • The ‘eternal female’
      • Assumptions about women’s language, culture, personality
      • Psychic, social and cultural ‘separate spheres’ for men & women
      • Men have one reality, women have another
    • Criticism: categories of ‘women’ and ‘men’ seen as monolithic and unproblematic

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender differences the concept of difference1
Theorizing Gender Differences:“The Concept of ‘Difference’”
  • Difference as experiential diversity
    • Difference within women rather than between men and women
    • Reaction to essentialism of male-female difference
    • Reaction to earlier feminist claims to equally represent all women, to speak with one voice
  • Recognition of diverse social experiences
    • Race & gender
      • Examples?
    • Class & gender
      • Examples?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender differences the concept of difference2
Theorizing Gender Differences:“The Concept of ‘Difference’”
  • Other types of difference being acknowledged as affecting gender:
    • Nation
    • Region & ethnicity
    • Age
    • Sexual orientation
    • Disability
    • Religion
    • Examples???

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender differences feminist standpoint theory
Theorizing Gender Differences:Feminist Standpoint Theory
  • We should trust the perspective of the subjugated or marginalized person
    • i.e. women should tell the story of women’s oppression
  • Situated knowledge
  • Embodied knowledge
  • Therefore, privilege the viewpoint of the oppressed
  • Agree?????

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide82

Theorizing Gender Differences:Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT(Trauth)

  • Theoretical guidance for conducting within-gender
  • research
  • Addresses challenges to other theoretical
  • assumptions
  • Focus on differences within rather than between
  • genders
  • Examines group issues at individual level of
  • analysis

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide83

Theorizing Gender Differences: Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT

  • Challenging assumptions
    • Essentialist theory: inherent (bio/psychological)
    • differences between men and women explain
    • the participation level of women in IT
    • Rebuttal: successful female IT professionals
    • in a range of countries

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender differences individual differences theory of gender it
Theorizing Gender Differences: Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT
  • Challenging assumptions
    • Social construction theory: the social shaping of technology as a male domain explains the participation level of women in IT
    • Rebuttal: varying definitions of masculine and feminine domains by individuals and socio-cultural context

- when/where is programming women’s work?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender differences it
Theorizing Gender Differences & IT
  • Essentialism
    • Sex-based biological/psychological determinants
    • Focus on between-gender differences
  • Social Constructionism
    • Societal determinants
    • Focus on between-gender differences
  • Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT
    • Individual biological/psychological influences
    • Individual & societal influences
    • Focus on within-gender not between-gender differences

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide86

Theorizing Gender Differences: Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT

  • The participation level of women in IT can best be explained by the interaction of:
  • the gender shaping of IT in a particular (socio- cultural) context
  • selective (societal & institutional) reinforcement of
  • individual IT inclinations (interest and capability)
  • the influence of “significant others” in a woman’s life/career
  • individual responses to generalized societal
  • influences

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide87

Theorizing Gender Differences: Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT

  • Data Collection & Analysis
  • Identify characteristics of successful women in
  • a range of IT occupations
  • Track variation in definition of male/female
  • competencies, men’s work, women’s work
  • Deepen understanding of environmental
  • influences on female participation in IT

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide88

Individual Differences Theoretical Framework

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

(Trauth, et al., 2004)

slide89

“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”

  • Research questions:
    • Do economic & cultural context factors influence the experience of women in the IT workforce?
    • How are these factors manifested in the women’s experience?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

environmental influences on gender in the it workforce
“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”
  • Theoretical frameworks
    • Influence-impact framework
      • Culture
      • Economy
    • Individual differences theory of gender & IT
      • Individual identity
      • Individual influences
      • Environmental influences

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide91

Research Model:Influence-Impact Model of Technology-Society Interaction

Society

Society

Culture

Women in

Information

Economy

Culture

Economy

Economy

Infrastructure

Infrastructure

Public Policy

Influence

Impact

Public Policy

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

91

slide92

“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”

  • Methodology
    • Analysis of 92 transcripts of life history interviews with women in US IT labor force
    • Data items examined:
      • Economy
        • Size of IT sector
        • Cost of living
        • Regional importance of IT

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

environmental influences on gender in the it workforce1
“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”
  • Culture
    • Migration patterns
    • Attitudes about women
    • Attitudes about women working
    • Attitudes about women working in IT

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide94

“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”

  • Massachusetts: economy
    • Size of IT sector: dominant
    • Cost of living: high
    • Regional importance of IT: mature, IT employment viable for women

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

environmental influences on gender in the it workforce2
“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”
  • Massachusetts: culture
    • Attitudes about women: perception of inclusiveness
    • Attitudes about women working: acceptable
    • Attitudes about women working in IT: inconsistent

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide96

“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”

  • North Carolina: economy
    • Size of IT sector: dominant
    • Cost of living: average
    • Regional importance of IT: maturing

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

environmental influences on gender in the it workforce3
“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”
  • North Carolina: culture
    • Migration patterns: in migration of people and values
    • Attitudes about women: “Old South” v. “New South”
    • Attitudes about women working: traditionally not acceptable
    • Attitudes about women working in IT: workplace tensions

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide98

“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”

  • Pennsylvania: economy
    • Size of IT sector: not dominant
    • Cost of living: low
    • Regional importance of IT: emerging

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

environmental influences on gender in the it workforce4
“Environmental Influences on Gender in the IT Workforce”
  • Pennsylvania: culture
    • Attitudes about women: rural work ethic
    • Attitudes about women working: men as primary breadwinner
    • Attitudes about women working in IT: overall skill shortage, gender hostility

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide100

Environmental Context

  • Investigating the role of environmental context in the experiences of women in the IT workforce
  • Influence of cultural & economic factors
    • demonstrates the interaction between gender and environmental context
    • Supports theoretical claims of variation among women in context

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide101
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field“Using the Lenses of Feminist Theories to Focus on Women & Technology”
  • Liberal feminism*
  • Socialist feminism*
  • Feminist standpoint theory*
  • Ecofeminism
  • Existentialist feminism
  • Psychoanalytic feminism
  • Radical feminism
  • Postmodern feminism*
  • Postcolonial feminism
  • Cyberfeminism*

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field liberal feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Liberal Feminism
  • Theory
    • Removing barriers to equal access in historically male jobs
    • Focus on humans as individuals & removing discrimination
    • Aligned with capitalism
  • Application
    • Women’s involvement removes bias in technology research/design
      • Ergonomics – air bag
    • Male domination doesn’t address issues relevant to women users
      • Domestic technologies

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field socialist feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Socialist Feminism
  • Theory
    • Focus on societal factors shaping both gender and class regarding technology
    • Aligned with Marxism
      • Class relations & Marxism
      • Gender relations & patriarchy
  • Application
    • Military influence on IT field
    • Technologies favoring wealthy men not poor women

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field feminist standpoint theory
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Feminist Standpoint Theory
  • Theory
    • Give value to (privileging) the situated knowledge of marginalized individuals
      • Focus on the ‘lived knowledge’ of women
    • Acknowledges the varied experiences of woman due to race, social class, etc.
      • Black feminist standpoint theory
      • Racism, classism, patriarchy
    • Emphasizes emancipation
  • Application
    • Focus on variation in users and designers of technology
      • For more varied viewpoints on design & use

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field eco feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Eco-feminism
  • Theory
    • A type of essentialist feminism
    • All women & men are united by their biology
      • Spatial & verbal abilities
      • Aggression
  • Application
    • Men, as aggressors, develop technology to dominate, control & exploit natural world
    • Women, as birth givers, more aligned with nature – all life
    • Women design different types of technology; use technology differently

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field existentialist feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Existentialist Feminism
  • Theory
    • The issue is the value that society assigns to biological differences between males & females
      • Female characteristics having less value
      • The male norm
      • Conceptualizing woman as the “other” the “not man”
  • Application
    • Gender stratification of work
    • Men in better paying jobs

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field psychoanalytic feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Psychoanalytic Feminism
  • Theory
    • Essentialist theory
    • Because males cannot control nature through giving birth they need to dominate
    • Because females can give birth they are oriented toward nurturing
  • Application
    • Science & technology developing as objective, rational, distant observer
    • Devaluing subjective, emotional, participant scientist or technologist

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field radical feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Radical Feminism
  • Theory
    • Women’s oppression is the first, most widespread & deepest oppression there is
      • All people live with and experience gender
    • Consciousness raising needed to evaluate patriarchal knowledge
    • Queer & transgender theories question links between sex, gender & sexual orientation
      • Privileging certain gender identities
  • Application
    • Reject mainstream scientific theories, data & experiments because they are not women-centered
    • Would give users same status as designers of technology

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field postmodern feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Postmodern Feminism
  • Theory
    • Reject women speaking in a unified voice or can be universally addressed
    • Rejection of ‘universal woman’
      • because of women’s national, class and cultural identities the concept of ‘woman’ can no longer be regarded as smooth, uniform and homogenous
  • Application
    • Look at gender + other characteristics in assessing needs

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field postcolonial feminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Postcolonial Feminism
  • Theory
    • Neocolonialism: continuing western influence after end of colonialism: economic, political, ideological and military
    • Reject view that culture, science & technology of former colonizing country remains superior to that of the colony or postcolonial country
    • Patriarchy dominating in same way as neocolonialism
  • Application
    • Offshore outsourcing as new colonialism?
      • Cheap labor
    • Rejection of forcing developing countries to become technologically and scientifically literate in order to join global economy

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories applied to it field cyberfeminism
Feminist Theories applied to IT Field:Cyberfeminism
  • Theory
    • Fuses technology and gender
    • IT & the Internet provide ways to liberate or oppress women
  • Application
    • New work opportunities for women from IT
    • Critique of IT revolution reinforcing existing power relations along gender, race & class lines
      • IT recreated as ‘not for women’

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender it
Theorizing Gender & IT
  • Presence/absence of theory
    • Pre-theoretical
      • Compile statistics on gender differences
      • No gender theory to guide understanding of data
      • Cannot easily build upon results
    • Implicit-theoretical
      • Unstated theory used to guide understanding of data is not explicitly stated
      • Cannot easily challenge results
    • Insufficient-theoretical
      • Need for gender theories specifically applied to IT

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender it1
Theorizing Gender & IT
  • Feminist theories applied to IT
    • Essentialist
      • Ecofeminism
      • Existentialist feminism
      • Psychoanalytic feminism
      • Radical feminism
    • Social constructivist
      • Socialist feminism*
      • Postcolonial feminism
      • Cyberfeminism*
    • Individualist
      • Liberal feminism*
      • Feminist standpoint theory*
      • Postmodern feminism*

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide114

Theorizing Gender & IT

  • How theory influences the data collection and interpretation of results
  • Essentialism
    • Inherent sex-based biological/psychological determinants
    • Focus on between-gender differences
    • Both feminist and anti-feminist theories
    • Interventions assume separate gender spheres
  • Social Constructionism
    • Societal determinants of gender relations
    • Focus on socially-constructed between-gender differences
    • Interventions applied at societal level

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

theorizing gender it2
Theorizing Gender & IT
  • Individual Differences Theory of Gender & IT
    • Individual biological/psychological traits affecting technological capability, interest, etc.
    • Individual & societal influences on:
      • Exposure to gendered IT
      • Experience of gendered IT
      • Response to gendered IT
    • Focus on within-gender not between-gender differences
    • Interventions at individual, family and societal levels

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

feminist theories of ict conclusion
Feminist Theories of ICT:Conclusion
  • Both feminist and anti-feminist theoretical approaches to gender & ICT
    • Essentialist
    • Social constructivist
    • Individualist
  • Range of feminist theoretical viewpoints on nature vs. nurture

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide117

Theories of Gender & ICT

  • Develop one scenario about a male and one scenario about a female in which the person’s relationship ICT (&/or IT profession) resulted from
    • Individual identify factors
    • Individual influence factors
    • Environmental factors

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender it issues
Gender & IT Issues
  • IT Education
  • Recruitment into IT profession
  • Retention in IT profession
  • Power & inequality
  • Social capital
  • Individual agency
  • Work-life balance

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide119

Gender & IT Education:“Gender Differences & Computing: Students’ Assessment of Societal Influences”

  • 1985 Survey about gender stereotypes applied to the ‘new’ area of computing
  • Based upon research findings about gender and mathematics
  • Both males and females surveyed
  • Data on mathematics & computing grade distributions by gender

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender differences computing
“Gender Differences & Computing”
  • Early findings about gender & computing (1983)

“Interest in computing follows traditional gender differences found in mathematics

“The public stereotype about computers projects images of science, mathematics, engineering and other make-dominated professions.”

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender differences computing1
“Gender Differences & Computing”
  • Context: high achieving, socio-economic, college preparatory, high school students enrolled in mathematics course
    • Most not enrolled in a computing course
  • Findings: influence of 4 societal factors on participation with IT by gender & male/female responses to them
    • IT is a male domain
    • The influence of significant others
    • Negative attitudes associated with computing
    • Career aspirations

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender differences computing2
“Gender Differences & Computing”
  • IT is a male domain
    • Believe media portrays IT as male activity
    • Rejected view that working with IT is masculine activity
      • females rejected the gender stereotype stronger than males
    • Males enjoy computers more than females
      • females reject; males neutral

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide123

“Gender Differences & Computing”

  • Influence of significant others
    • Perception that parents, teachers, guidance counselors and peers have lower expectations of girls - expect girls to perform worse than boys in computing
    • Peer influence
      • Both reject “hacker” (nerd) image
      • Males projected negative “hacker” reaction onto females
      • Males agreed more with peer influence than females

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender differences computing3
“Gender Differences & Computing”
  • Role models
    • Not conscious of influence of teachers & guidance counselors
      • No influence?
      • No recognition of influence (yet)?
      • (Naïve) Rejection of gender differences in counseling?
    • Subconscious influences?
      • Rejecting stereotype of IT as masculine domain
      • Large % of female mathematics teachers
      • Female computing teacher
      • Female computing club advisor

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender differences computing4
“Gender Differences & Computing”
  • Negative stereotypes
    • About gendered behaviors associated with computers
    • Females are less logical than males
      • females - rejected; males - neutral
    • Females less aggressive than males
      • gaining equal access to limited computing resources
      • females - rejected; males - neutral
    • Females are more afraid of computers than males
      • Both reject; females rejecting significantly more
    • Females ‘people-oriented’; males ‘thing-oriented’
      • Both neutral

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

slide126

“Gender Differences & Computing”

  • Career aspirations
    • For which computing is viewed as relevant
      • Career orientation
      • Relevance of IT literacy to intended career
    • Females being career-oriented
      • Females strongly yes; males neutral
    • Importance of IT literacy in any career
      • All agreed

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender differences computing5
“Gender Differences & Computing”
  • Conclusion
    • Both male and female students rejected gender stereotypes
    • Female students more adamant in their rejection of gender stereotypes than males
      • Female students more sensitive to the issue (males more neutral)?
    • Understanding ‘neutral’ responses
    • Influence of societal context
      • Information economy region (Boston)
      • Professional class (educated)
      • Role models of women as math/computing educators
      • Role models of mothers working in IT

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender it education gender achievement persistence in an undergraduate computer science program
Gender & IT Education:“Gender, Achievement, & Persistence in an Undergraduate Computer Science Program”
  • Context: Gender influences for university level computer science (informatics) students
  • Survey of computer science students before and after completion of 3 ‘core’ computer science courses
    • Over three semesters
    • 200 students (35 females; 165 males)
  • Factors that predict achievement & retention in computer science degree

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender achievement persistence in an undergraduate computer science program
“Gender, Achievement, & Persistence in an Undergraduate Computer Science Program”

Are there gender differences in the factors that predict achievement and retention?

Are there gender differences in the reasons that good students give for staying in or leaving the program?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender achievement persistence in an undergraduate computer science program1
“Gender, Achievement, & Persistence in an Undergraduate Computer Science Program”
  • Retention findings
    • Males had higher retention overall
      • 60% of males vs. 43% of females
    • No gender differences in retention for poor students (earning less than a C – i.e. ‘below average’)
    • Female students who earned less than a B (i.e. ‘above average’ or ‘very good’) were less likely to stay in the program than were men

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender achievement persistence in an undergraduate computer science program2
“Gender, Achievement, & Persistence in an Undergraduate Computer Science Program”
  • Reasons for gender differences in retention
    • Do females believe they can only succeed if they are significantly above average?
    • Do females believe they have to ‘prove themselves’ more in university?
    • Are women students more cautious about pursuing a course of study that society tells them they might not be well suited for?
    • Do less than superior marks reinforce their perception that they don’t belong?

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender achievement persistence in an undergraduate computer science program3
“Gender, Achievement, & Persistence in an Undergraduate Computer Science Program”
  • Factors influencing achievement and retention across all courses
    • Mathematics courses before entering university
    • Access to computer at home
      • Informal learning
    • Having a role model / mentor in high school

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender achievement persistence in an undergraduate computer science program4
“Gender, Achievement, & Persistence in an Undergraduate Computer Science Program”
  • Departure of good students from program
    • Loss of confidence leading to loss of interest
      • Gap between performance expectations and actual performance
      • Comparing their work effort to peers and perception of needing to work harder
      • “outsider syndrome”?
        • If not top marks then an indication of not belonging
    • Direct loss of interest (i.e. not related to confidence)
      • Lack of images of “people like me” doing this profession

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt

gender achievement persistence in an undergraduate computer science program5
“Gender, Achievement, & Persistence in an Undergraduate Computer Science Program”
  • Conclusion
    • Students’ attitudes about ‘belonging’ influence interpretation of academic performance and retention
    • Retention in university is influenced by courses studied in lower grades

Trauth - Univ. Klagenfurt