Gender and ICT

Introduction

Information and communication technology continues to be adopted, developed, and integrated in everyday life all over the world by all generations. However, there has been continuous under-representation of women entering into Information and Communication Technology (ICT) programs. This under-representation is a long-standing problem that has been worsening over time, with the society, governments, and institutions coming up with a variety of possible causes and solutions.

Under-representation has even become rampant in societies that have integrated information and communication technology in school curriculum from the lowest level of pre-school. The most visible indicator of under-representation of women in information and communication technology is the low percentage of enrolment in tertiary ICT programs by women. More so, women and men have a wide gap in technology education and exposure to technology (Anderson, 2007, pg 78).

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Information and communication technology variance between men and women is tied to segregation and status differences that result in reduction in women’s access to knowledge and income resources. The issue revolves around gender inequality in all aspects of social works where women are regarded and treated as less superior to men and even subjects in extreme cases.

Women’s limited access to knowledge and income resources compared to men is a considerable factor that causes under-representation of women in adoption and advancement in information and communication technology. The gap between the status of women and that of men is referred to as gender spaces hindering women from knowledge used by men in reproducing income resource power and privileges of advancement knowledge (Buskens & Webb, 2009, pg 77)

Summary article 1

Universities seek to improve information and communication technology courses with respect to gender representation in the study programmes, given the fact that female students are adversely under-represented in male dominated areas such as information and communication technology and mathematics.

Female students are proved to perform better than their male counterparts in information and communication technology courses, even though gender differences have a direct relation to different skills and the way people think and carry out their operations. Profession and education in information and communication technology is represented by a small percentage of women despite female predominance in general undergraduate courses.

Gender inequality in information and communication technology can be broadly viewed to emanate from the processes of recruitment, retention and the advancement of women in the sector. Universities face many challenges in retaining female students in information and communication technology courses, with first year students recording the highest rate of dropout.

This is attributed to the fact that tertiary ICT enrolments depend on student’s strong foundation of mathematics in secondary and primary schools, which has been affected by the negative view of the subject by most female students. Gender difference in mathematical ability, interest, and perception has been the root cause of under-representation of women in male dominated fields.

Gender imbalance in ICT can also be as a result of student motivation and background of pre-knowledge in a particular program, where individual’s internal conditions activates behavior and desire then direct him towards a goal. The motivation may be intrinsic or extrinsic academic orientation that arises from social influences such as those from parents, relatives, and friends.

Academic extrinsic orientation directs students to successfully complete the educational system and test their own capacity while intrinsic orientation motivates students to study in their own way to improve themselves but with condition that the subject is interesting and attractive to them. However, student motivation can be directly linked to gender differences in that female students go for ICT because of employment needs while male students have extrinsic motivation.

Research has based its assumption on the fact that men and women are different in the way they learn and there perception to information and learning materials. In cases where methods and materials of learning and assessment are not tailored to fit the evident differences between men and women in the learning environment, performances vary in broad way.

This is due to the fact that men prefer multiple-choice questions while women prefer essays and coursework. Learning institutions have therefore introduced a variety of assessment methods that accommodate both men and women.

However, learning materials could not be changed to accommodate both genders due to the need of content preservation. Introduction of e-learning has seen improved satisfaction and performance of both men and women although men proved to be more interested than women leading to gender inequality in the long run as students get enrolled into ICT tertiary education and profession.

Female students are less satisfied with the introduction of computers in learning than their male counterparts are although they perform better in areas where presentation and verbal skills are applied. In general, women are under-represented in ICT professions and education due to the fact that women identify job security and flexibility of working hours as a motivator while men are attracted and motivated by technology and advancement in the ICT sector.

Summary: Article 2

ICT professions and programs have been lately under-represented by women due to women’s voluntary rejection of ICT despite its the continuous integration into everyday life situations. The industry is facing shortage of qualified ICT personnel with continued reduction of female students who choose ICT as a career choice because of sociocultural influences that shape perceptions about ICT between men and women.

The sociocultural influences are linked to specific societies where women are under-represented in ICT due to gender stereotypes, unlike other countries where there is gender balance in the industry. Moreover, gender stereotypes learnt through media, home, and school environment influences perceptions and success expectations of female individuals who could possibly venture into ICT.

However, stereotypes can be modified over time as people grow up and belief that there are no roles linked particularly to masculinity or femininity. The perception that entry into the ICT industry is for economic power and high level of education with technical expertise where girls tend to generally dislike difficult problems and failures linked to ICT.

However, the dislikes are as a result girls being imparted stereotypical attitudes by the society and media. Due to the stereotypes, women believe that their success in ICT is by chance and hard work, unlike men who attribute their success in ICT to natural ability.

Moreover, women may believe that their failure in ICT is particularly due to their inability. Initiatives such as scholarships to women in ICT have led to further problems since they believe they are selected for the programs due to there gender and not ability. Perception of long working hours in isolation, technical skills, and mathematical abilities of ICT, jobs as fit for men have also contributed to under-representation of women in the industry.

Media has also had significant impact on gender stereotypes through programs that depict men as computer programmers and developers, with women as mere users of computer who cannot match men’s technical ability due to genetic makeup. There have been significantly few programs that depict women as ICT professions, unlike the programs that depict women in powerful positions that were previously male dominated.

Most ICT magazines show male workers and women being assisted by men in computer work thus negative perceptions to girls. Gender inequality in ICT can be linked to the fact that women and girls do not have female role models in the ICT field.

Evaluations of Article 1 and 2

Article one Article two
RelevanceThe articles analysis of ICT programmes in universities is relevant to gender although mathematics has no relevance to gender inequality in ICT profession and education.Information on gender stereotypes imparted to girls by sociocultural influences is relevant and directly impacts on female under-representation in information and communication technology industry
ReliabilityThe analysis is less reliable in concluding that interests and concentration of the girl child on mathematics during lower level of education such as secondary schools has contributed to under-representation in ICT sector.Information is reliable due to the proof that there is gender balance in specific countries such as Portugal and Spain that have positive perception of equal ability between men and women in all fields. Women are equally represented in ICT.
AccuracyThe information is not accurate since there was no direct relation between performance of girls in ICT programmes and mathematics with tertiary enrolment and career choices in ICTThe research is more accurate since there was direct proportionality between sociocultural influences and career choices made by women and girls.
Lack of BiasThe research is not biased to any specific findings. Gender inequality is attributed to varying reasons such as retention, recruitment, and advancement of women in ICT.The information and conclusion of the research is biased to one aspect of gender stereotype although there are a variety of factors contributing to under-representation of women in male dominated fields such as ICT.
CompletenessThe information and research is not complete, as the conclusion does not pinpoint gender inequality to a specific cause.Research and information is complete since female under-representation in information and communication technology is attributed to negative perceptions on women’s ability in male dominated areas.
Up-to-dateThe research is up-to-date as the estimates and women’s opinions represent data for 2006 and 2007.Research isn’t up-to-date since data used was from past researchers and evidence from sociocultural practices that have been there.

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