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Content archived on 2024-05-15



Long-standing concerns that women have been excluded from the design and use of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) have inspired various waves of initiatives aimed at promoting the inclusion of women. These have had rather mixed consequences. For example, there is some evidence that 'computers in school' initiatives may have had the unintended effect of deterring girls by associating computing with predominantly masculine domains and activities. However the gender boundaries of ICT are today being transformed as a result of changes in the character and application of technologies; the commercial strategies of private sector players; public sector and voluntary initiatives in education and other activities. The SIGIS study will try to capture these new developments across Europe, by a survey and detailed case studies. It will explore the implications for both public and private initiatives to include women and other groups, arguing that these can be more successful if underpinned by an understanding of new phenomena and dynamics of ICT design, appropriation and use.

The main goal of the project is to provide analytical tools to help policy-makers, designers and relevant practitioner communities improve their efforts to get more women integrated into the design and use of the technologies of the Information Society. This will contribute to Community social objectives and further the aims of the Information Society Technologies programme. Specifically:
- Case studies will be undertaken of inclusion efforts by public commercial and voluntary players;
- Implications will be analysed for public and commercial interests, including the efforts of educators and the design and development strategies of commercial providers;
- Results will be targeted towards a broad set of communities of users of these findings.

The project will be organized in a set of work packages:
a. WP 1. Building a knowledge base, which includes a review of recent, relevant studies in the field of gender and ICT and a short overview of relevant statistics about women engaged with ICT;
b. WP 2. Case studies of public efforts to include women in ICT. This will encompass initiatives at national and governmental level, and the efforts of local public bodies including individual schools or universities, or information campaigns.
c. WP 3. Cse studies of private initiatives to include women in ICT. The range will include the efforts of commercial players focusing upon the design of particular ICT products (games, CD ROMs or web pages) - and voluntary initiatives and the emergence of feale support groups and computer-enthusiast sub-cultures particularly aimed at women
d. WP 4. A qualitative interview study of female user experiences. A range of users, varying by age and social strata, will be interviewed about their motives, experience with particular products or initiatives, attitudes, behaviour towards the products in question, and opinions about ICT.
e. WP 5. Strategies of inclusion and implication. A cross-cutting, synthetic effort to develop more. general theoretical insights and explore policy and design implications of the findings. f. WP6 Dissemination to the wide range of public and private players engaged in gender and ICT. The major geographical areas to be investigated are the participating countries: Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Norway and the U.K.


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