A Perspective of Equality and Role for Women in IT

A Perspective of Equality and Role for Women in IT

Susan E. George (University of South Australia, Australia)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-815-4.ch157
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Abstract

There are many disciplines and professions where women are not well represented, are paid less than male counterparts, and rise less quickly to leadership positions. IT is one such field, encompassing a broad range of topics from software development to telecommunications. This “inequality” has created a sense of injustice among some, leading to more aggressive stands for rights, for positive discrimination, and cries for all manner of “equality” within the workplace—specifically that male and female peers are able to play the same roles and indeed should have fair opportunity to play the same roles. This article questions the “equality” that is pursued by the “equal opportunity” agenda. In many instances demanding women, given opportunities to take traditional male dominated positions in the workplace underlines the male-dominated world, what it values, and what it requires. A worldview that rejects male domination at its core may do more to help the “equality” of women and men. Moving toward this entails (1) recognising the roles played by women in the workplace and improving remuneration—rather than forcing women to take more male orientated roles, (2) couching the well renumerated roles that males play in more female friendly language to change perceptions of who is suitable for the role, and (3) recognising the female skills that many male roles require and not failing to give women novel workplace arrangements that permit pursuing roles outside the workplace. In each of these suggestions the importance of male and female differences are recognised. This represents an understanding of “personhood”, that is, not forcing all people to be equal regardless of gender, but recognising the intrinsic worth of people above gender—and that there may be gender differences. The idea of intrinsic worth of people is based upon one theological perspective of personhood drawn from the Christian tradition. It asks for equality of personhood to be recognised over and above gender issues and gender “differences” to be actually incorporated into professional environments.

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