Women’s Unconventional Routes into ICT Work

After many years of studying how Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is gendered in the Norwegian and Nordic culture, my interest is more in what successfully brings women into ICT, rather than what excludes women from ICT. The chapter on unconventional routes into ICT work that I wrote together with my colleague Gilda Seddighi, explores how women come to tech work, not through the more “conventional” route of choosing the “correct” subjects at school that leads to ICT at university etc. Instead, in this chapter we focus on the unconventional routes that bring many women into ICT work.

The messy road system we found in Mongolia seemed like a good illustration of the different and unconventional routes many women pursue to ICT.

The chapter is based on in-dept interviews with women working with ICT where a majority of the women we interviewed had found an alternative route to ICT. This included
a) a delayed entry into ICT education,
b) a natural progression into ICT due to digitalization of non-technological disciplines and occupations, and
c) pursuing opportunities arising as non-technological competences are increasingly needed and valued in digitalization.

These less conventional routes illustrate women’s professional development as motivated by processes of digitalization and the recognition of a wide set of professional fields and competences needed in ongoing digital transformations. Relying on entry points less affected by masculine stereotypes, the women contribute to new ways of co-constructing gender and ICT in the new digitalized workspaces.

The chapter is open access, available to read online or download as pdf. https://bristoluniversitypressdigital.com/view/book/9781529219494/ch004.xml

Cite this chapter:
Corneliussen, H. G., & Seddighi, G. (2022), Unconventional routes into ICT work: Learning from women’s own solutions for working around gendered barriers. In G. Griffin (Ed.), Gender Inequalities in Tech-Driven Research and innovation: Living the Contradiction (56-75), Bristol: Bristol University Press.