The Influences and Responses of Women in IT Education

The Influences and Responses of Women in IT Education

K. J. Maser (Booz Allen Hamilton, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-935-9.ch269
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Abstract

This article highlights findings from an empirical study that explores the nature of female underrepresentation in information technology. Specifically, this research focuses on (a) identifying key sociocultural factors that can facilitate the pursuit of IT at the undergraduate level, and (b) testing Trauth’s (2002) Individual Differences Theory of Gender and IT through a comparison of female responses to the social construction of IT. To answer the author’s research questions, interviews were conducted with 10 female seniors in an IT department at an American university in the mid-Atlantic region (MAU).1 Although experiences with social factors vary, comparing the stories of women who have successfully navigated their way into and through an IT undergraduate degree program reveals common influences and motivations. In addition, though some common factors may facilitate female entry into the field, the Individual Differences Theory of Gender and IT explains that women will react differently to the social constructions of gender and IT. By gaining a better understanding of the gender imbalance, applying appropriate theories to explain the problem, and uncovering the challenges that women of our society face in their entry to the field of IT, collegiate programs can more effectively implement strategies that will improve the recruitment and retention of female students.

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