IT-related gender issues: A literature review and initial local investigation

20 Sep 2016

An examination of the literature reveals only limited research into the connections between gender and the use of information technology (IT) in organisations. Despite a wide literature on both subjects taken separately, there is little that explores the combination of gender and information technology. The literature that does touch upon this combination is limited in scope, or it fails to develop adequate typologies of gender and technology, leading to generalisations that are not helpful in dealing with problems. However, there is evidence that attention is beginning to focus on the use of IT by women?s organisations, the role of women in the IT industry, and the different attitudes of men and women in the routine use of information technology in the workplace and at home. Evidence of activity in women?s organisations and NGOs to promote the use of information technology as an empowerment opportunity for women is not well supported by evidence that this empowerment is happening. Interviews with a small number of women working with (or in) IT in the Cape Town region suggest that gender issues in the work place are not particularly strongly related to the use of IT ? rather they are issues that might arise in any work situation. Those women interviewed clearly believed that they were competent in the use of IT (and at least one of them was an expert in certain aspects of IT) and there is no evidence that special training needs to be provided to women wishing to learn about IT. But there is evidence that mentorship and gender education is needed to ensure equality of opportunity and promotion.