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Women And Technological Exclusio Essay, Research Paper

As a woman highly influenced and involved in multimedia technologies this reading hits right at the heart. Although through minimal experiences, I have been brought face to face with discrimination mainly by males, for the reason that a girl using a computer is not right, and that instead I should be “doing something around the house”. In the 21st century, women s rights has steadily increased, however we find ourselves still in a society where we are oppressed for using forms of technology as opposed to cleaning the home or preparing a meal. Melanie Stewart Millar s article, “Women, Technological Exclusion and Strategy” deals with the electromechanical exclusion of women, and its various effects. The technological subordination of women as seen through history in our exclusion, and the purposeful historical neglecting of female contributions to technology, has resulted in the relationship between technological, and social power allowing for a highly patriarchal society, and a male dominated work environment.

As the article demonstrates, few women have overcome the gender barrier while most have become victims of technological exclusion in the past, resulting with society s actions of limiting opportunity for work in technology. Women in history were never given benefits, allowances, and opportunities to work with new technology, thus not enabling them to be a part of it. This idea of constant rejection of women is evident as, “women have been continually excluded from the construction of western scientific knowledge and technology” (17). For hundreds of years women have been victimized into believing that their place was in the home, thus presuming to stay out of great technological developments. One of the major issues surrounding female exclusion was the lack of financial, and social support, and the opportunities and access to technical and theoretical education (17). Millar illustrates that, ” women s systematic exclusion from the public spheres and from the institutions that support science and technology has ensured that technology remains a masculine domain” (15). Women were purposefully subjected to subordination in the technological fields so that it could be male dominated. As a result of the lack of funds, and support for women to engage in technology, it became predominant for men to partake in this as the women passively sat and watched it all occur, while of course, tending to the home.

This article successfully traces women through history of technology and the missing history that society was never taught of them. Although it was virtually impossible for a woman to involve herself in such a male dominated area, one woman prevailed and showed that in fact a woman could do it just as good as a man can. Unfortunately until reading this article many women would not have even heard of Ada Lovelace, and her impeccable abilities in computing that paved the way for the computers used today. In her article Miller writes that, “the significant contributions of Ada Lovelace to the development of the Difference Engine and the Analytical Machine (early forerunners of the modern computer) support the fact that women did contribute to the development of digital technology” (18-19). Yet to no surprise Lovelace received minimal recognition for being the first computer programmer, and all recognition was given to Charles Babbage (19). It can easily be said that Lovelace was purposely omitted from historical references of technology for the simple reason that, computer programming was conceived as a man s role, and having a woman be acknowledged for work that she should not have been doing according to men in that time period, would be highly unsuitable. It is stated that many technological creations have been created by women, from computer programming to computer hardware, these facts are an ” erasure of history that women s studies scholars and historians have only recently begun to uncover ” (18). Subsequently, perhaps with the release of this history and facts, it will make it easier for women to enter the field of technology, and in turn not feel any gender gaps nor oppression.

As a result of these historical factors we see the dominance of men in technology resulting in their greater social power, as technology is closely related to masculinity and patriarchy. Continuing with this idea of technology as masculine based, and forming patriarchal societies, Millar begins her article by stating that, “in contemporary western culture, men are assumed to make the machines, and, if culturally appropriate, women may use them” (15). Clearly a culturally appropriate machine in these societies with this mentality is one in which could be used to cook or clean such as a vacuum or an oven. The rise of the patriarchal society we find ourselves in today began with the worship of male deities, and “as men began to dominate technology and technological invention, so they began to dominate the social order” (17). Remarkably, if men had technological power they were quickly associated with social power thus enabling them to have power over women. Consequently, the idea of technology as being related to masculinity, and social authority has paved the rocky road of patriarchy in which we follow today.

In conclusion, due to the technological exclusion of women and, the purposeful historical neglecting of female contributions to technology, has resulted the perception that technology is a masculine oriented industry. History s events of female subordination in technology has brought society to the point it is today, where women s role in technology is still so rare, and looked down upon by many individual s in society.


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