Conceptualising gender and IT: Australians taking action in Germany
Presented in this paper are the results of an intervention strategy aimed at increasing the awareness of the gender imbalance in information and communication technology (ICT) education and work. It discusses an intervention, an undergraduate course on gender and ICT, which took place in Hanover Germany in February 2007. The intervention was based on research carried out by the authors as part of the Griffith University Women in Information Technology (WinIT) research project, which has been studying the problem of low female participation since 1995. The WinIT group has identified the following issues, which complicate research and action in this area. These issues frame the paper’s results. The lack of agreement over what constitutes the Information Technology (IT) industry makes it difficult to assess progress in equity. The notion of female ‘contribution’ and the masculinsation of the IT industry are subject to competing definitions and viewpoints, indicating that there is no consensus on the aims or rationale for research and intervention in this area. The students' participation and assignments demonstrated increased understanding of these issues in IT work and education contexts. Overall, the students found the course helpful in overturning their assumptions about gender and IT and enabling them to acquire relevant problem solving strategies for preventing and handling gender related problems.