Gender and the Information Technology Workforce: Issues of Theory and Practice

Gender and the Information Technology Workforce: Issues of Theory and Practice

Eileen A. Trauth (The Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Jeria L. Quesenberry (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-917-5.ch002
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Abstract

Despite increases of women in the labor force, females are largely under-represented in the American IT workforce. Among the challenges that managers face in addressing the under representation of women in the IT workforce is the identification of an appropriate theory as a basis for understanding data about gender and IT in order to reverse the gender imbalance. Hence, the purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate the managerial implications of theory choice when addressing the under representation of women in the IT workforce. We provide an overview of the three main theoretical perspectives, the essentialist theory, the social construction theory, and the individual differences theory of gender and IT, which are used to understand and investigate the IT gender gap. We then make the argument that the essentialist and social construction theories do not provide the analytical robustness required to pay attention to more nuanced managerial recommendations. Finally, we demonstrate how the individual differences theory of gender and IT can significantly contribute to the reconfiguration of analytical knowledge of the IT gender gap and spur innovative management policies.

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