Gender and Information Communication Technology: Towards an Analytical Framework

The past two decades have demonstrated the growing strength of the global women’s movement in advocating issues of women’s equality and empowerment. Among these issues is that of women’s marginalization and invisibility in all aspects of technology. There exists an array of literature that speaks to this topic. It began in the early 1980s with research into the effects of new technologies on women’s jobs and developed into debates about the gender gap in technology. Most of this information is inaccessible, yet much of it is critically important to women’s efforts to inform decision-making and guide actions
This paper presents a range of perspectives on gender and information and communication technology (ICT) drawn from a review of the literature. The aim is to present some of the major debates and critiques of ICT to highlight some important issues of concern for women. It also provides an analytical framework from which to view women’s global participation in, need for and critique of computer networking. The framework builds on an initial one developed for a research study undertaken by the Association for Progressive Communications’ Women’s Networking Support Programme on women’s global networking by incorporating more international perspectives into the discussion, and highlighting some issues and observations specific to women working in ICT.
Judy Wajcman's book Feminism Confronts Technology concludes, "The time is ripe for reworking the relationship between technology and gender. The old masculinist ideology has been made increasingly untenable by the dramatic changes in technology, by the challenge of feminism ... Technologies reveal the societies that invent and use them, their notions of social status and distributive justice. In so far as technology currently reflects a man's world, the struggle to transform it demands a transformation of gender relations" .
Publication date: 
Thursday, March 3, 2005
Year of publication: 
1999

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