Gender and Technology

Gender and Technology

Diane Fulkerson (University of South Florida Sarasota‑Manatee, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch302

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For the purposes of this article, technology is broadly defined as computer hardware and software, email, mobile technologies such as smartphones, tablets, laptops or netbooks. It will also include educational software including but not limited to course management systems, email, electronic resources and e-books. A literature review of indicates while women are making strides in the adoption and acceptance of technology they still are not at the same levels as their male counterparts. The literature review also indicates gender impacts women’s attitudes toward technology and their confidence in using technology. The results from early studies indicated males felt more confident with technology as opposed to females who felt they were not proficient using technology. Ongoing studies focus on the gender differences in the use and adoption of technology with the studies indicating that males feel they have greater proficiency and ability when using technology versus females who feel they lack the confidence and proficiency to use technology.

A literature review reveals a number of studies focusing on student and employee use of technology based on gender or gender and age. A limited study on the gender differences in the adoption of an SMS based mobile library search system indicated male students did not see the perceived usefulness of the system while female students did not see the effectiveness of the SMS library search system (Goh, 2011). An early study from 2003 noted gender and age differences of employees’ decisions to use new technology (Morris, Venkatesh, & Ackerman, 2005). A study of 211 students conducted at a university in Hong Kong indicated male students had more confidence using technology for learning than female students (Yau & Cheng, 2012). Another study of collaborative Web 2.0 applications for learning in higher education yielded similar results (Huang, Hood, Yoo, 2013). A 2010 study examined if men were more technology oriented than women were (He & Freeman, 2010). A recent Pew Research study provides information on the adoption and use of technology based on age, gender and ethnicity. The majority of the research indicates women are not early adopters of new technology. Using previous and more recent studies will provide educators and employers the opportunity to use the study findings when promoting, training or designing new technology for use in the classroom or workplace.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Theory of Planned Behavior: Used to explain a wide range of human behavior. In this case why an individual or organization will adopt and use technology.

Unified Theory for the Acceptance and Use of Technology: Uses the criteria of performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influence and facilitating conditions that predict user behavior intentions and actual user behaviors in users adopting information technology for work-related purposes.

Technology Acceptance Model: The perceived usefulness and ease of use of technology that determines a user’s acceptance of the technology

Gender: The traits associated with one sex or the other.

Digital Divide: The divide between people who have access or lack access to technology based on socioeconomic or demographic factors.

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