Men and women: the same approach towards computers?
Rita Bencivenga’s work is focused on how gender might affect someone’s « relationship» with his or her computer. Her study, based on one-to-one interviews, clearly states that there are no differences between men and women when it comes to performance. No cognitive or neurobiological studies demonstrated any intrinsic weakness in women:
Research helped point out that men and women tend to use different cognitive strategies when using a computer, but it has never been proven that one gender is superior to the other in this task.
Rita also notes that the preconceptions women are generally subjected to in the professional field – and in science as we often deplore on DiscovHER – also apply in technology. Which could partly explain why there are so few women in this field. The stereotypes impacting the digital world, far from being based on facts and tangible data, reflect a vision of technology and its usage which is influenced by a socially-accepted power imbalance.
Moreover female computing engineers suffer from a lack of women success stories, and when facing sexist or discriminating attacks, most of them choose to shift the focus away from their femininity instead of owning it.
Still to this day, for no rational, justified reason, companies usually prefer to hire men for high-level computing positions, as Rita states.
If you too feel it’s about time the situation for geeketes moved toward equality with geeks, share your thoughts on Twitter with @4womeninscience!