chapter  6
18 Pages

Women’s experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly of work in a ‘knowledge-based’ society: Learning the gender politics of IT jobs


Information technology (IT) constitutes an increasingly large, influential field of education and employment in so-called ‘knowledge-based’ societies. Over the last two decades, studies of women’s participation in computer science education programmes and related information technology (IT) jobs, such as programming and software engineering, have been concerned with women’s persistent under-representation. Countering that image, other research that considers the IT field more broadly, and includes niches such as technical communication and project management, points to how women’s participation is growing; indeed, in some areas, women’s participation is relatively strong. These studies also point to how, in some newer IT fields, women are working without formal IT credentials and are often seen as bringing with them a set of ‘soft’ skills in teamwork and communication (Millar and Jagger 2001; Turner, Bernt and Pecora 2002).