Week 5: ICT and Women

Although society has made great strides in gender equality, women are still behind in the area of technology.  Some of this week’s reading concerning women’s knowledge of ICTs was rather surprising.  As an adult non-technically proficient woman, I have had notions of what a computer programmer may be like, but my perceptions are changing.  I know many women who are more tech-savvy than their male colleagues, and one of my favorite female hacker role models is found below, Stieg Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.

Pic_26_10_2009_47_9_Lisbethmmohikansittande_PRESShttp://musicbox.ehclients.com/mbf/stills/Pic_26_10_2009_47_9_Lisbethmmohikansittande_PRESS.jpg

Although many women and girls may have had equal access to computers growing up and in school, statistics still show that girls are not taking advantage of this access the same as boys may, and although they may use computers, their use varies from that of their male counterparts because technology is seen as a “guy” thing. Gaming is a huge industry, and it is a traditionally male enterprise by and for males, but women are becoming more involved in gaming than ever before.  Women gamers dominate mobile market  Unfortunately with this increase of women playing traditionally male games, women are being discouraged by some of the male gamers.  Women are being harassed by men for becoming part of their world.
Online Harassment Gets Real For Female Gamers
What It’s Like For a Girl Gamer

Just as I was surprised by the lack of women in the ICT field, I was surprised that in 2013, men still think that they should have their own “things.”  But, more than that, because men and still have the ability to say, “you are a girl, you can’t do that,” we have to combat these traditional early gender roles.  In order for women and girls to be successful and confident in what are traditionally seen as male subject i.e. STEM, we need to give them their education in a comfortable setting,  Studies have shown that girls in same sex environments feel more confident about their abilities, so I think especially in the STEM classes, same sex classrooms should be seriously considered.  A three year study in Australia showed that girls are more positive about ICTs once they have studied them in a same sex class: Digital Divas The research is pretty interesting, and as a graduate of a same sex high school, I know that not having boys to make fun of me for being a “dork” was definitely helpful to my confidence, and if I had had the opportunity to learn ICT skills, I would have jumped on it without feeling like a geek.

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