Gender and Technology

This essay will take a look into an article called, “Caring About Connections: Gender and Computing” written by Jane Margolis, Allan Fisher and Faye Miller. In their article they take a look at differences in women and males with their uses and influence in technology, and women’s efforts to pursue an education in computer science and technology. This paper will be able to sum up their main ideas, critically analyze their beliefs, and take a particular look at women pursing fields of study in the technological workplace and technological studies. Gender Definition

The definition of gender is not a very easy word to define. There are many meanings and terms that can be characterized under both males and females and mixed genders. However according to dictionary. com gender is the following: “(in many languages) a set of classes that together include all nouns, membership in a particular class being shown by the form of the noun itself or by the form or choice of words that modify, replace, or otherwise refer to the noun, as, in English, the choice of he  to replace the man,  of she  to replace the woman,  of it  to replace the table,  of it  or she  to replace the ship.

The number of genders in different languages varies from 2 to more than 20; often the classification correlates in part with sex or animateness. The most familiar sets of genders are of three classes (as masculine, feminine, and neuter in Latin and German) or of two (as common and neuter in Dutch, or masculine and feminine in French and Spanish). “ (Dictionary. com 2012) This definition of gender is what said to best fit the word however I believe that this is not the only way to describe a gender.

Gender in my opinion the biological make up and the combination of actions and norms an individual follows and goes through. The biological make up of an individual is not the only way to depict what gender they are associated with but the actions and ideas they follow can also influence them. People are able to choose which gender they are associated with even if they pursue a gender different from their biological make up. Definition of Technology Technology is similar to gender where there truly isn’t one single definition behind the word.

This term is also relatively new and has was not heavily used until World War one and two and after these event, the term began to be used as much as the word science. (Lecture18, March 27th). Science and technology are often closely related to one another because technology relies on science and the more science that is understood, the more technology can be created and change. With this is mind, innovation is key to defining technology and how to describe what technology is.

In one our lectures, Kevin Kelly described technology as, “Anything that is invented after we are born. ” With this in mind, a definition of technology can be described as any new innovation created that may help or hurt society as a whole. Authors’ Main Ideas The Authors of this article take a look into many different angles in the field of computer science.

The ideas of the authors vary from some being where these individuals first got their first interest into this study. The authors also discuss the world around computer science and the individuals that are apart of this select group. Finally the authors also touch on the overall fact that the computer science is a field of study that is heavily associated with male users and students. Students who want to pursue this field of study often have different reasons and answers as the first enthusiastic moment in the study.

The different reasons also relate to the basis of their gender. For many women in this study, there reasons to enter this field of study were to use the knowledge and information from studying to work with another field of study, such as education or science. Men on the other hand had different explanations or reasons for entering the field of computer science. Many men that were interviewed brought up a time in which they first remembered a time in which computers interested them or discussed items that are used for technology.

Margolis, Fisher and Miller, also discuss a finding from a studying done by a researcher named Brunner. In his study, he found “The feminine take on technology looks right through the machine to its social function, while the masculine view is more likely to be focused on the machine itself. As a result, when technology is introduced as an end in itself, as in a programming class, for instance, young women are less likely to be interested than young men. (Brunner, 1997). This study done by Brunner helps show partial reason why men are more likely to show a strong interest n technological studies and pursue degrees in these fields. Because of this gender barrier that women are going to have to overcome in these fields it does show that many women do face a harder time in this field because of a view they are more likely to see rather then males. Many individuals that pursue the study of technology often associate themselves as different from the average group of people. Many men that pursue this field often believe they are truly the right individual and they often see women in the field as weaker or as someone that may struggle.

According to Margolis, Fisher and Miller, in regard to the selective image and individuals that are perceived in the technological fields. “The pervasive image of the computer science student has a more deleterious affect on women students” (Margolis, Fisher and Miller 1998). Women are more affected by the “image” that select individuals are able to be apart of this industry. However not only are the classroom settings and social impact of other members impacting women. The media, Internet, and many other factors also impact women and the opportunities to pursue technology. These factors include the media depicting men as experts in technology, societal expectations of different goals for boys and girls, the structure of learning tasks, the nature of feedback in performance situations, and the organization of classroom seating” (Hale Pg 1). The social implications that women face show that they struggle when they are trying to join the field of technology. Finally, the field of technology is a field in which males already heavily dominate the workforce amount often turning women away from pursuing jobs and technological influence in the field.

In their essay, Margolis, Fisher and Miller discuss the curriculum of computer science and its basic functions. Many classes in technological studies involve mathematics and scientific studies. Overall many of these classes have shown on average the men usually score high grades in these classes as these classes. Many women seem to steer away from classes like these because of the heavy presence of males, and the pressure of males in the classroom setting. Another item that many individuals that are apart of this industry are often characterized as nerds or geeks.

According to the New York Times, “…another explanation for the drop in interest, which is linked to the pejorative figure of the “nerd” or “geek. ” She said that this school of thought was: “Girls and young women don’t want to be that person. ”” (Spertus, 2008). Many individuals, but particularly men and women want to avoid being called a geek or nerd and because of these names associated with many people in this industry, many women avoid these studies. Critical Analysis

Overall Margolis, Fisher and Miller have shown many areas in which women and men have differences in the studies of computer Science field. The reasons for many of these individuals were different depending on their genders, which is often the case for many jobs and areas of studying. Many fields of studies do relate to individuals with certain preferences and the way many are set up in structure can benefit one gender over another gender. This is a fair argument because there are certain curriculums that do tend to have classes that are easier and a slight advantage to different genders.

Secondly, the fact that many women are steered away because of the intimidation of not having the “image” of a computer science individual is also true. People in general want to fit in with a group of people that they are going to be studying their major in. Because of the large decrease of women entering the field of computer science and technological studies, many women are beginning to feel isolated from others and intimidated by the class structure.

Finally, the heavy dominating field of men and the often-characterized nicknames of geeks and nerds also turns many women away from these studies. The increasing number of men studying in this field turns away many women from entering the field through intimidation and the infamous nickname of “geeks” and “nerds”. These names often associated with people in technological studies can steer individuals that want to learn more about the technological field into a different area of study to prevent harassing.

However, though Margolis, Fisher and Miller did bring up many excellent points about gender inequality and differences in the fields of technology, these authors did fail to bring into that fact the usage of ICTs varying amongst genders. Though many women do not pursue degrees or jobs in technological fields, they are still heavily active in their use. Women in general are the largest users of cell phones, and among races, African American Women are the largest users of the Internet. However men do dominate women in some categories of ICT usage.

Males are most notably the users of online gaming, however among races, African American men are least likely to use any form of technology. These differences are important to acknowledge with gender differences in technology. Men and women do both have different usages of ICTs and races do play a small role in the measurement of ICTs. With this in mind, though there are gender differences that exist in the fields of technology and ICT usage, each gender does have an area in which they do have the dominant share of usage.

Conclusion In the world we live in, technology is constantly growing and adopting. New innovations are causing changes in simple items and transforming items we would have never thought to have. Genders are playing roles in the usage of technology. Though genders may face barriers or issues that can cause them to struggle, each gender does control heavy usage in certain ICTs. Margolis, Fisher and Miller passage has helped show the decline in women in the field of technological studies, particularly in computer science.

Many women meet much conflict from the curriculum, to the intimidation factor of a primarily men filled class setting, to the often associate selective group of people in this field. Though these problems are common, many women do continue to pursue in these fields. As a result, men and women both face gender conflicts with technology, and certain technologies are more associated with genders. Overall, men and women still benefit from technology and the growing rate of technology in the world will lead to new items and new change.