Archives for the month of: February, 2017

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!


The ‘digital curious’: first steps towards a new typology for mapping adults’ relationships with others when using ICT

Rita Bencivenga
Laboratoire d’études de genre et de sexualité, France (

The study described in this article used grounded theory methodology to investigate adults’ accounts of their relationships with others when using information and communication technologies (ICT). Ten women and ten men were interviewed. All were Italians born between 1952-1961. It was found that the participants shared a common eagerness to learn and use ICT, which led us to coin the term ‘digital curious’. They recognised the growing importance of using ICT and realised that they were competent enough to support others in ICT learning or use. Their awareness of their competence and role was linked to their approach to interactions with older and younger people, not all of them easy. The study findings illustrate how the participants’ relationships with older and younger people when using ICT are seen as relevant and offer meaningful experiences. The theoretical and practical implications of the results are also discussed.
Keywords: adults; digital natives; analog natives; ICT; usage

European Journal for Research on the Education and Learning of Adults, Pre-published, 2017, pp. 1-22
ISSN 2000-7426
© 2017 The author
DOI 10.3384/rela.2000-7426.rela9117