Category: Technologies
Gender and Technology Essay

The characterization of technology under either “male” or “female” gender causes continuous and contentious debate. Such groupings, in turn, have led to certain technologies being termed as either “male-oriented” or “female-oriented” depending on their purposes or functionalities. Ultimately, such classifications have further supported the school of thought of work stereotyping between "men's work" and "women's work." The current paper will take into considerations such thoughts and researches, analyse the various data, and offer findings and conclusions on the relationships between gender and technology. The continuous growth and use of technology may define the various roles performed by either gender. However, it does not fully support the orientation of “men’s work” and “women’s work.”

Class Activity 1

Corlann Bush assesses new technologies in four various aspects, including developmental, user, environmental, and cultural. In the developmental aspect, Bush’s assessment of placing cameras along undisclosed London streets would reduce the number of road accidents, as well as the damage caused by the property, save lives, and enhance development in general. The user context of the proposal, for example, would encourage road users to obey traffic rules as they are unaware of where the cameras are placed. The environmental assessment, according to Bush, is the one that would hinder the destruction of property, including trees by over speeding drivers. In addition, it would reduce the amount of litter left behind by shrapnel from accidents. Finally, Bush's assessment of cultural impacts of technology states that its use would promote a culture of lawfulness and reduced over speeding.

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Based on the analyses of the functionalities of monitoring cameras, I would term them as “female” technology. The scope, within which the technology operates, mostly in a stealth and undisclosed manner, is similar to how “women behave while baiting their lying spouses.” Due to the "invisible omniscience" nature of monitoring cameras, they can behave in a craftiness manner in hand awarding them a title of female technology. Moreover, the monitoring cameras play the role of regulating rogue drivers in hand reducing road carnages. It would, in turn, allow them to be termed as female technology due to the caring manner. 

Class Activity 2

The Boston Transcript reports that the Lowell Mill Girls went to the streets demonstrating a proposed 15 percent reduction in their paid wages. Therefore, they held several meetings, during which they proposed to quit the mills and ‘make a run’ on the Savings Bank and the Bank Lowell. The women further demanded for more and equal rights for women, in order to end with the inequities they faced, especially from the ‘monied aristocrats.' 

The 1834 Lowell Mills Strike involved a series of meeting, or caucuses, during which the women gathered together and discussed the challenges facing them. Their strategies included boycotting the mills and raiding the Bank Lowell and Savings Bank. When the woman who chaired the initial meeting was discharged, 800 other women combined their forces for a procession. More than 800 women went to the streets where they marched through the town. Predominantly, the Lowell Mills Strike was unlike the male strikes of the period in that it was the first female strike in the history. Male workers, at that time, would strike, and their petition would be addressed immediately by relevant officials. The male workers would neither require one of their demands to deliver a "flaming Mary Wollstonecraft speech" nor would it be to campaign for equal rights.

The Boston Transcript described the ladies procession as one “not altogether to the credit of Yankee girls” to indicate that it was associated with the rebelliousness of the women at that time. By that time, Yankees was a term given to English people who had left England, thereby, their employers considered ladies as being rebellious. The connotation “Yankee” in this context is used to describe a rebellious person.

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Class Activity 3

 Among some of the reasons as to why women were employed at the Huntsville and Redstone Arsenals during the war were their desires to help themselves financially and perform patriotic duties. By May 1944, the continued demand for administrative, maintenance, and production workers at Huntsville Arsenal had enabled the institution to have a 6.707 labor force. The ration of women to women at Huntsville was 63 to 37. 26 percent of them were White females, while only 11 percent were Blacks. In addition, Huntsville Arsenal partnered with Redstone Arsenal to create a "supplementary training program" that allowed the workers to "earn as they learned." Such initiative was among the several initiatives that encouraged more women to enroll in Huntsville and Redstone. Furthermore, more women were awarded lead roles in industries, such as Red Cross and textile industries where they could sew and knot. Ultimately, women made bandages, formed “bicycles brigades,” volunteered their services to local USO. They also bought and sold war bonds, collected rubber and scrap metal for armaments, and cooked for some soldiers. Therefore, such women were termed as "soldiers of production."

Consequently, not all locals were satisfied with the idea of women working at arsenals. One of the local labor analysts argued that even though the initial hiring of skilled women into local arsenals was a resourceful endeavor, the continued hiring of unskilled and inexperienced women would lead to negative consequences. He described that such continued hiring of unskilled personnel, including old men, housewives, and youths would result in a dilution of labor skills. The notion of the hiring more women received various opposition from skeptics. For example, those of them working at the Chemical Warfare Service plant in 1942 claimed that they could not quantify the work done by Black women. Moreover, some of the locals challenged the notion of having women at arsenals saying that they would ultimately neglect their duties at home. Such locals opted for the women to remain at home, where they would easily take care of their families and the nation.

Class Activity 4

To realize the varying opportunities of women in the world today essentially, we will take into consideration Japan and Germany. In 1998, a majority of women in Japan earned their living as office ladies, with jobs ranging from typing to tea serving. Even in big companies, only 1.4 percent of the women occupied managerial positions. According to Japan labor, in 2003, this number managed to rise to a 9.7 percent estimate. For the average OL, their work begins at 9 A.M and is inopportunely dull and uninteresting due to its monotony. Office ladies, on the other hand, have to deal with the lack of opportunities that encompass their careers. Male dominance in the workplace has led to passive resistance, which results in bias in the delivery of service. The number of working women in Japan, who comprise only 39.7% as compared to other equally technologically advanced countries, is very low. It is caused by the fact that in Japan, women are traditionally homemakers, and it is a very deep-rooted culture, which in spite of modernization, has become difficult to change. 70% of the working women resign once they settle into motherhood. Despite this, 70% of the part-time working force of women consists of those who have returned to work after the maternal nursing.

Such low rate of women inclusion in work, other than the homely responsibilities, is caused by the tradition, first and foremost. In Japan, women have over the centuries performed their duties at home faithfully. Such male dominance is observed in work areas as well, where men work harder to obtain high positions. In addition, the assumption that the female colleagues will not work for a prolonged period has unfortunately led to the exemption of female workers from duties and positions that would earn them advancement. Such rate has been influenced by the fact that a majority of women do not comprehend the choice of a career, rather than a family.

In Germany, half of the graduates are women. Despite this, only 9.2 percent in upper and middle managerial positions are held by women. 11% of the companies based in Germany consider a woman for an executive position. The reunification of East and West Germany led to a drastic 35% drop in employment during 1989-2001, due to the prevalence of the motherhood ideology in West Germany, which was adopted by East Germany after the reunification. As of 2004, only 62 percent of mothers worked, mostly part-time, and 41% of graduates decide not to become mothers at all. Despite all the economic and cultural constraints, there has been an increase in the number of working women, from 57% in 1996 to 64.5% in 2003. Such increased rate can be vouched by the fact that Germany, a conservative state, now abides by the leadership of a female chancellor. The role of women in Germany is characterized by children, church, and the kitchen. Such attitude has derived from the Nazi philosophy that categorized it as conscious nationalism. The conservatism displayed in the ideologies of the reunified Germany, where the woman is not assimilated into the workforce but rather encouraged to settle into motherhood, is a key aspect in the declined ‘female-power' in the job market.

Class Activity 5

“All inventors are men” is a phrase that has been often repeated and proved by actions. It is a statement, which has its roots in the condescending manner, in which women’s roles are viewed. Such notion is cultivated in young girls’ minds, especially if they contact with a teacher who is biased towards the male population. Such names as, for example, the Wright brothers, Ford among others are the most spoken for inventors. However, female innovators are excluded from the primary learning syllabuses and only included into given courses in the tertiary levels. With the majority of inventors being male already, such stereotype is difficult to dissolve and it requires personal enthusiasm and added extra work in the given female inventor, to break through the entry barriers. It poses a problem to women who are interested in innovation. In addition, the society has been cultured to accept the man's invention as holistic and heroic, and, on the other hand, question the woman's invention due to pre-perceived notions of female capability. In the U.S., where a majority of inventors are male, a majority of young women have often ventured into the scientific sphere. However, due to barriers cultivated by the society that has been used to male investors, the emergence of female scientists is often received with doubt. It implies that a certain percentage of women refuse from their inventions and engage in the other field, while the remaining percentage works harder to make their discoveries known. Despite that, the notion has often worked as a pivot point for highly motivated women, who work to abolish this myth. Sometimes, even after breaking through, the idea may be credited to another male, if he was present, and in earlier years, to a husband, a teacher or father. According to Susan Best, a mathematician with 20 years’ experience in industrial plastics, women find it difficult to acquire loans due to the lower credit ratings, despite efficiency and excellent service delivery during invention.

In the Netherlands, where science is considered a subject for the females only, only 20.2% of science majors are women. Researchers conducted a study to learn the connection between science and gender. Finding that the majority of scientists were males, one of the reasons for this given in the conclusion was that science is a men’s field. It is caused by the fact that over the years, only men have been successful in innovations, computing, and teaching the subject, as well.

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Class Activity 6

In recent years, women have increased participation in the workforce, thereby concentrating on paid work. It has led to the emergence of day-care centers and bureaus that offer house workers and trust workers minimal, manageable pay. It has assisted the majority of working women in maintaining their jobs after motherhood, due to the availability of first-hand help. For example, a majority of college students make extra money while babysitting in their free time. In addition, day-care centers for toddlers and young children have been developed using modern technologies to provide a safe environment, so that parents can leave their children for the day. The emergence of boarding schools means that the constant monitoring of children and teenagers is transferred to the hands of the teachers in the jurisdiction, hence minimizing parental responsibility. For the unemployed individuals, the decision to join the working force has been made easier due to their readiness to help. In such way, housework, such as plumbing, gardening and the "male-oriented" house work has been left for the men, whereas the women also receive help in her duties. Moreover, female participation in the workforce has been increasing over the years, implying that a majority of adults remain jobless, hence are sometimes involved in unpaid work. Today, roles have been reversed where some families have the mother as the bread-winner, while the father stays at home trying to find a job and performing all the housework. Considering such factors as civilization and immigration, some cultural practices have been changed. As experienced by most Asians who adopt American ways of living and traditions, such as considering a woman to be extremely submissive to the man and being simply a house worker, have been dissolved. Nowadays, a prevalence of feminism and feministic campaigns has played a major role in ensuring equality in roles. The desire of modern women to fully control their own lives has caused a proportional division in the housework females are willing to do, whether actively or passively.

As predicted in the previous years, women and men are headed to a dynamic nature of living, where housework will be performed equally, with women maintaining the higher percentage of participation. For the unemployed group, changing housework for paid work is the motivation. It means that women will now focus on paid work, in order to be able to pay for their housework to be done for them. Similarly, the men will not be involved in housework in the long perspective, focusing on such work as gardening and repairs or small tasks that can be done over the weekend or on a free day. For example, repairing an old swing, a sink or a chair may be the type of duties men will eventually possess as they are stay at home and express their fatherhood.

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