New publication: Corneliussen, H. G., & Seddighi, G. (2020). Employers’ Mixed Signals to Women in IT: Uncovering how Gender Equality Ideals are Challenged by Organizational Context. In P. Kommers & G. C. Peng (Eds.), Proceedings for the International Conference ICT, Society, and Human Beings 2020 (41-48): ADIS Press.
Why is it so difficult to achieve gender balance in IT work? Our study of attitudes towards women’s under-representation in IT and how IT employers and organizations deal with this imbalance, give some of the answers. These are some of the attitudes that work as barriers to recruit more women to IT work:
- When many women hold other (non-IT) positions in an organization, recruiting women to IT work does not necessarily appear as important because the organization at large does not experience a gender imbalance.
- Recruiting women is often seen as a question of work environment rather than who holds IT positions.
- Gender equality is interpreted as “treating everybody the same”, and since women are welcome (even when they don’t apply to IT jobs), their under-representation is not considered a gender equality challenge.
- Focus on gender equality in IT has to yield for other types of marginalization in the organization, for instance for immigrants or people with disabilities.
- Stereotypical ideas about who the best and most interested IT workers are, are still strong in Norway, making employers doubt that it will be possible to recruit women; or, even questioning whether women do have the “right” competence.
- Gender imbalance in IT is seen as a temporary challenge that will eventually fix itself.
While the many alternative approaches takes the energy out of gender equality work, the national gender equality regime – gender equality as something good and something we all want – is not questioned.
Based on this analysis we have proposed a model that contributes to explaining the Nordic Gender Equality Paradox, illustrating how the gender equality norm can co-exist with the very attitudes that undermine the norm.
Read the full paper
Our paper also received the Outstanding Paper Award at the ICT, Society, and Human Beings 2020 Conference!
From Nationen: https://www.nationen.no/motkultur/faglig-snakka/ikke-et-paradoks-at-fa-jenter-velger-ikt-utdanning/
That’s the title of a short popular science piece I have in Nationen today discussing the “Nordic Gender Equality Paradox”: this often recognized “absurd” mismatch between the high degree of gender equality in the Nordic countries combined with a high degree of horizontal gender segregation in education and working life.
The low proportion of girls choosing ICT is not really a paradox, I claim here, but a result of how “those who should have cheered the girls on to fun, exciting and good paying jobs in ICT, failed them”. For more than two decades I’ve interviewed and talked with not only girls and women in ICT, but also a large number of teachers, parents, ICT companies and others who should have been first in line to encourage girls to engage in ICT contexts and education. Among these groups we have found a widespread distrust in the possibility of making girls interested in ICT. How could we expect girls to choose a career path that our culture does not expect girls to be interested in? The paradox is thus not girls not choosing ICT education, but this distrust and the absence of supporters cheering them on!
That was the short version – read the full piece in Norwegian in Nationen (or with google translate).
Read more (open access):
- Corneliussen, H. G., & Seddighi, G. (2019). “Må vi egentlig ha flere kvinner i IKT?” Diskursive forhandlinger om likestilling i IKT-arbeid. Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning, 43(4), 273-287.
- 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: Fjordantologien 2019: Universitetsforlaget.
- Corneliussen, H. G., & Tveranger, F. (2018). Programming in Secondary Schools in Norway – a Wasted Opportunity for Inclusion Proceedings of Gender&IT’18, Heilbronn, Germany, May 2018 (Gender&IT’18) (172-182). New York, NY, USA: ACM.
- Corneliussen, H. G., & Prøitz, L. (2016). Kids Code in a rural village in Norway: could code clubs be a new arena for increasing girls’ digital interest and competence? Information, Communication & Society, 19(1 (Special Issue: Understanding Global Digital Cultures)). doi: https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2015.1093529
Idun A. Husabø has written about our new report here: https://www.vestforsk.no/en/2020/identified-knowledge-gaps-women-ict
Pohto: © European Union 2013 – European Parliament
The report by Morten Simonsen and myself has collected statistics aiming to give an overview of women’s participation in ICT work and education in Norway, comparing it with the European situation, particularly with Sweden and Finland, as this is part of the Nordwit Nordic Centre of Excellence where we collaborate with researchers from University of Uppsala and University of Tampere.
Read the full report here: https://www.vestforsk.no/en/publication/can-statistics-tell-stories-about-women-ict
This question – “Do we really need more women in ICT?” – appears in a recent article by Gilda Seddighi and myself. In this article we analyze how the ICT industry and ICT workplaces in Norway deal with challenges of recruiting women to ICT work. The question is not ours, but from one of the ICT experts that we interviewed for this case study, and it appeared in a discussion about whether women were really interested in ICT. This discussion and the quote illustrate how gendered stereotypes suggesting that men are more interested in ICT are still active in shaping attitudes towards and engagement in activities to recruit women. Only about one in four working as ICT experts in Norway are women, and this feeds the discourse of ICT as a male field. Reflecting this, the ICT workplaces we talked with produced a series of alternative ways of seeing the need to recruit women, all of which contributed to reducing the importance of active recruitment initiatives.
You can read the article for free (in Norwegian) here: https://www.idunn.no/tfk/2019/04/maa_vi_egentlig_ha_flere_kvinner_i_ikt
Title: “Do we really need more women in ICT?” Discursive negotiations about gender equality in ICT
ICT is one of the most gender-divided fields in Norway and illustrates the “Nordic Gender Paradox”, referring to a mismatch between a high level of participation by women in working life in parallel with a strong gendering of disciplines and professions. A higher proportion of women in ICT professions is a goal that is particularly relevant due to increasing digitalization. This article builds on qualitative empirical material and analyzes meetings with 12 organizations that were invited to discuss gender equality in ICT work. The analysis explores how the discourse of gender equality in ICT is perceived in the organizations and how this affects attitudes to practical gender equality work. Ten alternative approaches to gender equality in ICT are identified. These can be analyzed as discursive practices that articulate “resistance” as alternative meanings that challenge the discourse of gender equality in ICT, as they renegotiate, redefine and, in some cases, reject the discourse. Recruitment of women to ICT work is a task left to the individual organizations. The authors claim that there are still gendered perceptions of who is appropriate for ICT work, and these perceptions do not motivate the organizations to engage in gender equality work.
How to quote: Corneliussen, H. G., & Seddighi, G. (2019). “Må vi egentlig ha flere kvinner i IKT?” Diskursive forhandlinger om likestilling i IKT-arbeid. Tidsskrift for kjønnsforskning, 43(4), 273-287.
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: https://www.idunn.no/modeller/18_womens_experience_of_role_models_in_it_landmark_women
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.
Our article “From helicopter parenting to co-piloting: Models for regulating video gaming among immigrant youth in Norway” is out. Thanks to the editors of the book “Modellar” (Models): Øyvind Helgesen , Richard Glavee-Geo , Ghulam Mustafa , Erik Nesset & Paula Rice! Thanks also to the publisher, Universitetsforlaget, for agreeing to make this an open access publication. And thanks to my co-authors: Carol A. Dralega, Gilda Seddighi, and Lin Prøitz!
The research project that this chapter reports from included interviews with immigrant families; children and parents, exploring how they dealt with the everyday challenges of balancing video games with family activities and responsibilities. Thanks to all the youth and parents who made this study possible!
How do immigrant youth with non-western backgrounds in Norway and their families approach and negotiate video game regulation? This is the central question this chapter explores with the aim to establish sources of conflict and models for conflict resolution from a family perspective. The data collected through qualitative methods and analyzed through “discourse theory”, indicate that the most harmonious models are those that engender dialogue, trust and the participation of both parties.
Read the full chapter here
Check out the rest of the book: https://www.idunn.no/modeller
This is an Elvish joke from World of Warcraft, one that “I as Another”, a Night Elf, could have told, while walking around in Azeroth doing research for our book on World of Warcraft, Digital Culture, Play, and Identity, many years ago.
… on becoming an elf in World of Warcraft, a game universe, where you first become by choosing character. I chose night elf because she looked nice and the night elves’ natureculture seemed friendly … Then you become by being told what your role is in the gameworld – to defend the home of the night elves, the children of the stars, against further corruption of evil forces, and by walking around in the elven landscape you realize that you are in fact an elf among others who greet you in elven ways with a warm “Elune-adore” and hail you into being an elf. … The world has a role for you; you walk like it and talk like it, and the character has a mission of her own, ignorant to my human self’s workload, appointments or restless dogs.
I was reminded about this when looking for some old stuff, and found this short piece. I was invited to write this in 2010 for CIAC’s Electronic Magazine, from the perspective of “I as Another” in relation to a video game avatar. And of course I did add a feminist perspective – comparing feminism and video games.
This world is not ridden by the dilemma of feminism, of women being one group or several groups. And neither is it ridden by messy identities or blurred boundaries. Instead, this is a neatly ordered world.
It wasn’t online at CIAC’s site anymore, but you can read it here
This year has been good for publications! We have a new chapter on immigrant youth and video gaming out today, published with Emerald in Volume 16 – Media and Power in International Contexts: Perspectives on Agency and Identity, edited by: Apryl A. Williams, Ruth Tsuria, Laura Robinson, Aneka Khilnani
Chapter 7 – Manifestations and Contestations of Hegemony in Video Gaming by Immigrant Youth in Norway
by Carol Azungi Dralega and Hilde G. Corneliussen
This chapter reports from a qualitative study on how identity categories, including gender and ethnicity, are experienced and constructed through video gaming among immigrant youth in Norway. The aim here is to explore the manifestations and contestations of gendered power and hegemonic practices among the young immigrant girls and boys. This chapter builds on research about everyday media use especially video games, and our analysis is based on theories of hegemony, power, gender, and ethnicity. Three key findings are observed from the study: (a) video games acting as a bridge between ethnic minority boys (not so much with the girls) and ethnic Norwegians, (b) hegemonic gendered practices, emphasizing the “otherness,” in particular for girls adhering to the category of gamer, and finally, to a lesser degree, (c) marginalization within video games on the basis of being a non-Western youth in a Western context. As such the study simultaneously not only confirms but also challenges dominant discourses on video games by suggesting that, although some positive strides have been made, the claims of a post-gender neutral online world, or celebrations of an inclusive and democratic online media culture, especially video gaming, are still premature.
A big thank you to Carol for her effort and for a great team!
Last week at the IFIP TC9 Human Choice and Computing conference in Poznan with the title “This Changes Everything” – to present our paper – me, Radhika Gajjala and Clem Herman, with the title “ICT Changes Everything! But Who Changes ICT?”
Abstract below or look for the full text here.
Information and communication technology (ICT) has a changing power and digitalization is gradually changing society in all aspects of life. Across the western world, men are in majority in the ICT industry, thus, the computer programs that change “everything” are most often made by men. Unless questioned, this male dominance can be perceived as a “norm” and becomes invisible. Against this background, this paper will provide three examples of how a feminist gaze can contribute to raise important questions and produce an awareness of how exclusion mechanisms have produce a highly homosocial tendency in design of ICT systems in the western world.
The three cases illustrate how a feminist gaze leading to feminist interventions can make a difference in various ways. The first author presents a case study of a pilot for involving programming in public education in secondary schools in Norway, where a complete lack of gender awareness makes this an offer for boys in most schools. Author two presents a case study comparing the situation in the IT business in the UK and India, finding challenges not only to the situation in the western world, but also to white western feminism. Author three discusses alternatives ways of involving women in ICT work, through practices of feminist pedagogy, emphasizing hands-on work.
We were surprised with a very nice price last week: the author price for Fjordkonferansen. for our contribution to this year’s anthology – based on last year’s conference:
Kapittel 11: Gaming and identity construction among immigrant youth in Norway — Convergent glocal contexts, by Carol Azungi Dralega og Hilde G. Corneliussen
Molde University College posted a very nice piece about us – here. The photo is from the conference last year.
Read the full paper – open access – here.
This study explores how immigrant youth in Norway navigate video games between local and global contexts and how this shapes their identities. Drawing from theories of transnationalism, gender and technology, the study employs qualitative methodologies that unravel complex identity manifestations that are globally connected but locally anchored. Rather than an often-used dual frame of reference, the authors suggest interpreting this through a multiple frame of reference.
Our new article (with Fay Tveranger) is out, online, open access for anyone to read!
- Hilde G. Corneliussen and Fay Tveranger. 2018. Programming in secondary schools in Norway – a wasted opportunity for inclusion. In Proceedings of Gender&IT’18, Heilbronn, Germany, May 2018 (Gender&IT’18), ACM, New York, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.1145/3196839.3196867
It will be presented tomorrow at the so far brilliant Gender & IT 2018 conference. For those of you who won’t be there, here’s the abstract, and then go and read the whole thing here: https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3196839.3196867
This paper discusses a pilot introducing programming as anelective in Norwegian secondary schools. Computing is a male dominated field, in Norway as in other European and Western countries. Despite the male dominance in the field, there were no gender inclusion or diversity measures included in the pilot . Theresult is an elective heavily dominated by boys and a wasted chance of attracting girls to computing.
Kids Code in a Rural Village in Norway: Could Code Clubs be a New Arena for Increasing Girls’ Digital Interest and Competence?, in Information, Communication & Society, 19:1, 95-110, DOI: 10.1080/1369118X.2015.1093529
I published this article together with Lin Prøitz in 2015, and it is now available from ICS and in a postprint version at ResearchGate: https://bit.ly/2HNg5I0
A trend, where voluntary groups teach children and youth basic computer coding skills, has spread throughout the world. After-school clubs invite children to create games in visual programming environments. The activities emphasize play, while teaching principles of computer science. We explore this phenomenon based on observations and interviews at a code club in Norway, asking whether coding represents an important skill for children and how it is distributed to include all children. We find that coding through play activity is perceived as teaching more than simply the technical skills of programming. Although the fun aspect draws in children and volunteers, parents and instructors describe the code club as being about learning to understand and control the computer, and digital competence required for achieving success in society. The Code Club is described partly as being a ‘necessity for becoming a good/efficient/empowered citizen in our digital society’, and partly as ‘children are playing with computers anyway’. These arguments have different consequences for the gender imbalance at the Code Club. Our findings suggest that the code clubs need an explicit recruitment strategy targeting girls in order to become an arena where girls can develop interest and competence in digital technologies.
Read the full article.
This topic has unfortunately only become more relevant and it is urgent to discuss the low proportion of girls participating in programming. In about two weeks I will have a new article out on programming for youth, this time about programming in secondary schools in Norway (together with Fay Tveranger).
Fjordantologien 2017 is out, and I’m involved in two chapters – all open access!
Kapittel 4: Mediebruk, samfunnsengasjement og sosial kapital i en digital æra: På jakt etter minoritetskvinner sine stemmer
Abstract: This chapter draws from a project studying non-western immigrant women and their use of media related to social engagement. The authors explore social capital, including the digital, analysed through two women’s life biographies, community involvement and media use. Engaged in different arenas they illustrate different manifestations of social capital, one of them shows a high degree of digital social capital, while the other deploys alternative media.
Kapittel 9: Om teknologien som ikke fikk være teknologi – diskurser om velferdsteknologi
Abstract: Inspired by Foucault, we explore meaning created by the health authorities’ policy documents on welfare technology. We explore the meaning construction of a «technology-reducing» claim stating that «welfare technology is not about technology, but about human beings». The scientific essay illustrates how this and similar claims have gained widespread acceptance and discusses some of the effects this type of policy statements has for the users of welfare technology.
Bør kidsa kode på skulen?
– Kunnskap om korleis digital teknologi fungerer er sentralt i eit samfunn som vårt, seier forskar.
Intervju på Forskning.no, av Idun Husabø
Bilde fra Forskning.no
Hilde G. Corneliussen og Lin Prøitz: Hvordan møter skolen økt frivillig engasjement for å lære barn koding? – erfaringer med koding for barn i og utenfor skolen, Vestlandsforsking-rapport nr. 6/2015
Last ned rapporten: http://www.vestforsk.no/rapport/hvordan-moter-skolen-okt-frivillig-engasjement-for-aa-laere-barn-koding
Rapporten beskriver og drøfter funn fra forprosjektet “Innovasjon i utdanning: Hvordan møter skolen økt frivillig engasjement for å lære barn koding? – Erfaringer fra Leikanger kommune”. Hovedmål er å kartlegge erfaringer fra tilbud om koding for barn innenfor og utenfor skolen for å undersøke i hvilken grad dette representerer inkluderende opplæring og hvordan det samspiller med skolens oppgave. Som resultat skal forprosjektet identifisere hvilke kunnskapsbehov skolen har i møtet med den frivillige bevegelsen som har trådt inn som en ny premissleverandør for barns digitale kompetanse. Første del er i sin helhet utført av forskerne Hilde G. Corneliussen og Lin Prøitz, mens andre del er basert på skolens egen evaluering av kodeaktivitet i skolen, der Corneliussen og Prøitz har bidratt med dialog og fungert som forfattere i rapporten. Studien er godkjent av Personvernforbunet for forskning, Norsk samfunnsvitenskapelig datatjeneste.