Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Is There A Technology Gender Gap?
And if so, is that a problem?

Technology's Too Small Sisterhood, one of the articles in an ongoing Business Week series on women in technology, infers a causal relationship between a) the steep decline of women earning technology degrees, and b) the worsening gender gap in technology jobs. (Via new kinja library digest fave Librarian in Black, who asks women for their opinion on this issue but doesn't seem to care for mine -- perhaps demonstrating a gender bias in librarianship, or against male feminists.)

And yet my own personal experience (and my own personal bias) as a teacher, father, long-haired (albeit conservative libertarian) feminist, and male standard-bearer in a predominantly female-heavy fieldset (librarianship and teaching) is much more reflective of a recent New York Post article showing that the gender gap is closing fast for gamers -- 41% of whom are now women.

This is, of course, a complex issue (and I'm blogging at work again, so let's keep it short). But for me, the big deal here is partially the distinction between girls growing up equitably as users, and growing up equitably as developers -- the former of which seems like a big fat cultural deal, and the latter of which seems like it may be grounded in genuine bio-natural, not nurture/culture, gender differences and preferences towards certain kinds of skillsets, learning styles, and work.

Tech work is individual and sterile where women are generally accepted as communal and emotive, on the whole. Less men run flower shops, or are social workers or nurses; auto mechanics is a technology, too, but I've never seen any big feminist push to get women equal representation in that field, either. Equal access, yes: we've come a long way (baby) from the world of my grandmother, who never learned to drive herself to the beauty parlor. But haven't we as feminists moved beyond those calls for sociocultural change which ignore the fact that men and women are genuinely different sorts of folk?

posted by boyhowdy | 9:40 AM |

Post a Comment
coming soon
now listening