Sunday, October 29, 2006

Book announcements: Women & Technology

Two new books have recently appeared on women and technology:

Women, Gender, and Technology
Mary Frank Fox, Deborah G. Johnson, and Sue V. Rosser, eds. (University of Illinois Press, 2006).

This is an interdisciplinary investigation of the complex relationship between gender and technology. Each of the ten chapters explores a different aspect of how gender and technology work--and are at work--in particular domains, including film narratives, reproductive technologies, information technology, and the profession of engineering. The volume's contributors include representatives of over half a dozen different disciplines, and each provides a novel perspective on the foundational idea that gender and technology co-create one another.

Unfortunately, the table of contents is not yet available for viewing either at Amazon or at the University of Illinios website, so it is impossible to know who has contributed to the volume and on what topics without buying the book. Deborah Johnson is an ethicist who has written a textbook on computer ethics, so we can expect that there will be some contributions of interest to feminist theorists.

The other book is
Women and Information Technology: Research on Underrepresentation
Joanne McGrath Cohoon and William Aspray, eds. (MIT Press, 2006).

Computing remains a heavily male-dominated field even after twenty-five years of extensive efforts to promote female participation. The contributors to Women and Information Technology look at reasons for the persistent gender imbalance in computing and explore some strategies intended to reverse the downward trend. The studies included are rigorous social science investigations; they rely on empirical evidence--not rhetoric, hunches, folk wisdom, or off-the-cuff speculation about supposed innate differences between men and women.

This volume is focused on sociology rather than theory, but it will be interesting to examine the various types of explanations that are given for the continuing disparity in IT as well as evaluations of the remedies that have been implemented in educational settings.

No comments: