Women & ICTs Through the Lifecycle

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International Conference · Barcelona 8th – 10th November 2010

Women’s under-representation in ICT studies and careers has been the subject of sustained academic research and policy effort in most advanced economies for nearly three decades. Despite this, women remain a minority of students and professionals in ICTs, and even this small presence seems to be diminishing. It is therefore a good time to re-examine the reasons for women’s minority status, and to reconsider the frameworks we use to explain this.

This conference offered a valuable opportunity to re-examine the range of factors that affect women’s participation in ICT studies and careers from an international comparative perspective. It took the lifecycle as the organising framework for the analysis presented in the conference sessions, dealing with the different phases of education, and then those of employment, during which women engage with, and disengage from, ICT education and work. This framework is designed to allow participants to examine these different issues, and their possible cumulative effect.

It also offered an opportunity for participants to consider the similarities and differences in patterns of women’s representation between countries, to compare the measures taken to tackle problem areas, and to consider what still needs to be done. Research from several different countries and disciplines were presented, with the aim to advance our comparative understanding of the problem and its possible remedies.

The opening session included Inés Sánchez de Madariaga, Director of the Women and Science Unit of the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation. We were also very pleased to have Professors Joanne Cohoon, Lisa Servon and Manuel Castells amongst our many speakers from Europe and the US.

The papers of the conference have been published in the Special Issue of the International Journal of Gender, Science and Technology. The issue is called Women in ICT: international research from a lifecourse perspective, and features articles from leading researchers covering the issues facing women in ICT at different points in their lives. Together, the papers constitute a valuable account of the challenges to women’s participation, from education, to employment, and in their senior careers.

Visit the conference website to download presentations.

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