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Theoretical approaches to gender and IT: examining some Australian evidence


Ridley, G and Young, J, Theoretical approaches to gender and IT: examining some Australian evidence, Information Systems Journal, 22, (5) pp. 355-373. ISSN 1365-2575 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1365-2575.2012.00413.x


Researchers have sought a theoretical perspective to explain the under-representation of women in the information technology (IT) workforce of many nations. Gender imbalance limits the size and skill sets of IT human resources. The essentialist theory, social construction theory and individual differ- ences theory of gender and IT have been proposed to account for the IT gender gap. This study examined evidence for these theories to explain this gap through content analysis of articles published in the national newspaper, The Australian, over three time periods. Newspaper articles report implicit theoretical perspectives on IT and gender and influence the views of the Australian public, including women. While evidence to support all theories was found over the three periods, the essentialist theory was dominant. Increased utility of the individual differences theory to account for the IT gender gap was seen in 2007–2008. The primary contribution of this study is to provide evidence that suggests that theoretical approaches, whether implicit or explicit, shape how people understand the under- representation of women in the IT workforce. Media interventions are proposed to help redress the imbalance through increased awareness.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:theoretical approaches, gender and IT, Australia, IT gender gap, gender theory
Research Division:Information and Computing Sciences
Research Group:Information systems
Research Field:Information systems philosophy, research methods and theory
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the information and computing sciences
UTAS Author:Ridley, G (Dr Gail Ridley)
UTAS Author:Young, J (Dr Judith Young)
ID Code:81802
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:25
Deposited By:Information and Communication Technology
Deposited On:2013-01-08
Last Modified:2017-11-13

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