March 27 2006

Women and the Information Technology Revolution

WASHINGTON, DC - A new report released today by the Independent Women's Forum argues against the feminist stereotype which views technological advances with skepticism, assuming that technology is by men and for men. This fosters the belief that, unless properly regulated by government, technology threatens to harm women by creating a "digital divide."

Has technology really had a detrimental affect on women? IWF visiting fellow and author of the study, Solveig Singleton, says no. She argues technology has, in fact, greatly improved women's lives in a variety of ways.

Technology benefits women because it"

  • facilitates communications
  • empowers consumers
  • helps students learn more effectively and easily
  • reduces the labor of performing household chores,
  • and makes us safer.

Women increasingly are using new technologies to work from home or create non-traditional work arrangements so that they can better balance work and family. Technology is contributing to the record number of women who are starting their own businesses. Technology is creating new educational opportunities, such as online courses, which are disproportionately used by women. The anonymity of the Internet also benefits women; women disproportionately use the internet for support groups, allowing them to seek help without revealing their identity. Shopping online helps women avoid gender discrimination (for example, when shopping for cars).

Among the policy recommendations in the report, Singleton calls for less regulation and lower taxes. Singleton argues women should reject the Luddite mentality of too many feminist organizations, which seek to impose new regulations on everything from cable services to content providers. Instead, women ought to embrace policies that will help lead to further technological advances:
"To create an environment most conducive to the development of the next technological breakthrough, making our lives more efficient, productive or pleasant, women should embrace the innovative, open markets that spur its creation."

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