Discourses in Gender and Technology: Taking a Feminist Gaze

Discourses in Gender and Technology: Taking a Feminist Gaze

Sheila French (Manchester Metropolitan University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-87828-991-9.ch152
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Abstract

The majority of women are not involved in the design, manufacturing or shaping of technology in many Western societies. This is at a time when governments globally see technology as an enabler to economic success. Using feminist scholarship and discourse analysis, this chapter questions why patterns of gender segregation prevail in technology related fields in the United Kingdom. The chapter critically analyses why government policy, and equal opportunities initiatives, have so far largely failed to increase women’s participation. Using examples taken from two educational settings, the chapter uses the narratives of individual’s experiences of technology, their engagement, or lack of engagement with it, to examine the dominant discourses of the field. It is argued that technology discourses, which shape our understanding and identity with technology, are gendered. It is argued that current policies and initiatives, based on giving women equality of access will continue to make little difference. Until gendered dominant discourses of technology are deconstructed and examined; we will not have the tools to address the current situation of gender segregation.

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