New publication: The illusion of balance: women’s navigating work-life balance

We have yet another publication in Feminist Encounters this month: “The Illusion of Balance: Women in ICT Working Full-Time and Still Having a Feeling of Opting Out”, with my colleague Gilda Seddighi as the lead author

Women – mothers in particular – working as ICT experts in research, development, and innovation are under double pressure: they work within both a male-dominated profession, and a greedy, 24/7 work style that continues to produce an image of the ideal worker according to the male norm of less childcare responsibility. This study explores how women working as ICT experts in research, development, and innovation in Norway’s gender egalitarian culture negotiate work alongside family responsibilities. We discuss which factors affect women’s experiences of combining ICT work and family, building our analysis on 22 interviews conducted with women ICT experts in research, development, and innovation in Norway during 2017-2018. Our study illustrates that insufficient public childcare and work-life balance solutions cause women to feel like they are ‘opting out’, even when working full-time. This suggests that some of the main structures of working life continue to work as barriers to women’s career opportunities. Indeed, while some women narrate their encounters with such structures along the lines of traditional gendered patterns of work and family, we also found the same structures being gendered in new ways.

Open access, so you can read the article here:

Reference: Seddighi, Gilda, and Hilde G. Corneliussen. “The Illusion of Balance: Women in ICT Working Full-Time and Still Having a Feeling of Opting Out”. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics 2021 5 no. 2 (2021): 26.

Unpacking the Nordic Gender Equality Paradox in ICT Research and Innovation (new publication)

I have two new publications from Nordwit this month, one is “Unpacking the Nordic Gender Equality Paradox in ICT Research and Innovation”, where I discuss the mismatch between seeing the Nordic countries as highly gender egalitarian and the continuous under-representation of women in technology.

Most fields of technology-driven research and innovation are highly male-dominated across the Western world. However, in the Nordic countries, recognised as the most gender equal in the world, this gender segregation appears as a paradox. With Norway as an example, the present article explores the paradox that appears to be entangled with the yet unsolved question of why women are still a minority in information and communication technology (ICT) disciplines. The analysis draws examples from five studies of girls and women in contexts of ICT training, education, and work to analyse the fabric of the paradox through the ‘free choice’ argument, ‘affluent nations’ argument, and ‘nation vs. individual women’ argument. The analysis suggests that the paradox, by putting the nation’s gender equality ideal against atomized individuals’ choices, contributes to obscuring the situation regarding the underrepresentation of women in ICT.

It is open access and you can read or download the article here:

Reference: Corneliussen, Hilde G.. “Unpacking the Nordic Gender Equality Paradox in ICT Research and Innovation”. Feminist Encounters: A Journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics 2021 5 no. 2 (2021): 25.



A Random Choice, Late Discovery, and Penalty Rounds: Mapping women’s pathways to information technology education

Summer time is also time for conferences and publications it seems. Yet another publication out this week:

A Random Choice, Late Discovery, and Penalty Rounds: Mapping women’s pathways to information technology education
Hilde G. Corneliussen

What leads women to information technology (IT)? Successful recruitment is often perceived as relying on interest in IT. This study, however, identifies the pathways bringing women to IT that only partly rely on interest in IT and also involve other factors. In-depth interviews with 24 women in IT education and early research positions in Norway provide the empirical material for this qualitative study. Feminist technology studies and research on gender and technology provide a framework for the study, and the analysis is guided by the grounded theory method. The findings show that IT is a highly gendered field in Norway and that gender stereotypes affect women’s expectations toward, and choices of, IT. Women enter the fields of IT despite stereotypes. However, for many such women, this follows a coincidence or a late discovery of IT as interesting, and some women have been on a “penalty round” in a different field before finally entering the fields of IT.

New publication: What motivates women to study technology?

Factors Motivating Women to Study Technology: A quantitative survey among young women in Norway
Hilde G. Corneliussen, Gilda Seddighi, Anna Maria Urbaniak-Brekke, and Morten Simonsen
Proceedings for the International Conference ICT, Society, and Human Beings 2021, IADIS Press, 202-206


Women’s underrepresentation in fields of information and communication technology (ICT) appears as a paradox in the context of Norway, a country that scores high on international gender equality indicators. Earlier research has argued that women’s underrepresentation in ICT education might be a result of their lack of interest in ICT. In this paper we ask what motivates young women in Norway to enter technology studies. The analysis is based on a quantitative survey with 689 young women responding to questions about what had made them choose technology in high school or at university level. The results show that leading factors motivating the women are job opportunities, high salary and using technology for solving challenges. Interestingly, factors that are associated with boys’ and men’s interest in ICT such as computer games and leisure activities, are marginal as motivation for the women. The study thus confirms that young women are highly interested in fields of technology, however, their interests differ from what is often associated with young men. Based on the findings we suggest that measures recognising a wider image of technology are needed for motivating women to enter fields of technology.


Few women find role models in IT

Our article on “Women’s Experience of Role Models in IT” is now published.

Relevant role models are individuals that we can identify with. Our study among women in IT in Norway shows that:

Most women identify relevant role models among other women, rather than among men.

Few women identify role models in in fields of information technology.

Many women missed having female role models in IT.

And many found “substitute” role models from other fields, national politics or among networks of female friends.

Female role models are, as one of the women we interviewed said,

“important as a door opener. […] I think that makes things easier. It is not necessary, but it makes things easier.”

You can read the full paper (open access) here, where we present a model of responses reflecting a lack of female role models in IT:

Corneliussen, H. G., Seddighi, G., & Dralega, C. A. (2019). Women’s Experience of Role Models in IT: Landmark women, substitutes, and supporters. In Ø. Helgesen, E. Nesset, G. Mustafa, P. Rice, & R. Glavee-Geo (Eds.), Modeller: Universitetsforlaget. DOI: 10.18261/9788215034393-2019-18.

What’s going on in my Writing Productivity Pipeline?

Inspired by Furtak’s description of a Writing Productivity Pipeline, I started to pay more attention to how my own work spreads across the different steps in the pipeline, as she suggests: from ideas to drafts, proposals, manuscripts and untill manuscripts have become articles, chapters and books in press and published.

I liked the idea of the pipeline and being aware of how projects move through the pipeline. I also enjoyed how trying to define my own pipeline actually visualised many things that otherwise just remained something I did without noticing it. In many cases our work remains invisible until it is in print, but there’s a lot of work going on before that.

Looking back at what has been going on in my own pipeline over the last two months, I am quite satisfied with:

Ideas developing
* Abstract sent to the conference (June) Fjordkonferansen about role models for women in IT – (Abstract accepted)
* Full paper sent to HCC13 – (waiting for review)

In revision
* Review received from a scientific journal on an article about Women in IT education – (needs editing, so need to work on that)

Data collection
* Continuing interviews with women working with technology, for the NCoE Nordwit
* Finished a survey on programming in school – need to move this to the next stage: analysing and writing about it.

Proposals under review
* Participant in 2 proposals sent to Gender Net Plus; one on computing and the other on health technology, both on gender. (Waiting for review phase 1, then hopefully accepted for phase 2 in June – July)
* Participant in 2 proposals about ehealth/assistive technology sent to regional and national governments in Norway – (waiting for response).

Manuscripts in draft form
* Paper presented at CENS 2018 together with – or correction: presented by, because I couldn’t go there – Carol Azungi Dralega. The presentation will be reworked to a manuscript before the summer. Part of NCoE Nordwit

In press
Two articles have been through final editing and are now in press for  the forthcomming Fjordantologien 2018:
* one on Immigrant Youth and Computer Gaming, together with Carol Azungi Dralega,
* and one about IT-forum Sogn & Fjordane, with Øyvind Heimset Larsen
* One article about programming in secondary school in Norway (together with Fay Tveranger) sent for publication in ACM proceedings for the conference Gender & IT 2018