Gender and Technological Change Class: First Blog Assignment

Today in class we talked about how the articles you brought in highlighted themes and concepts we’ve already read about in class. I’d like you to think about them a bit more and write a short post of no more than 400 words by this Friday at 10pm.

Specifically, I’d like you to come up with a new insight based on the juxtaposition of the two articles you read in your small group today (your article and your partner’s article). In coming up with that new insight, go back over the syllabus and look at what we’ve read up to this point. Try to relate your insight to one of the articles we’ve read for class. In so doing, don’t just focus on similarities but also try to show how your insight is new and different from that author’s argument. In other words, why should we be interested in this  idea you’ve come up with? What new thing does it teach us?

Your posts will not show up immediately–I will approve a selection of the best posts shortly after the deadline. At that point, please revisit the blog to take a look at your classmates’ contributions and feel free to comment on them.

I look forward to seeing your responses!


  1. Cruz

    The article I brought in to class was titled “Fellowship Backs Minority Computer Science Students” and I am relating it to my partner’s article titled “At Davos Investing in Women Emerges as a Business Strategy”. Both articles focused on an untapped market potential. In the Fellowship Backs Minority Computer Science Students article it argues that by the year 2040 Caucasian Americans will be a minority and that minority group populations will be the majority. As results of this population shift the business CODE2040 sees an opportunity to get underrepresented minority groups into science and technology fields. In the article At Davos Investing in Women Emerges as a Business Strategy, it claims that woman will be a vital asset in stimulating economies globally. A major difference between the two articles is that one focuses on practice while the other focuses on Discourse and Solutions. Both articles also focus on different geographical areas.

    What I found interesting between the two articles is that both are looking at ways to get unrepresented groups into untapped markets. When thinking of my insight, I found myself asking, “Why are businesses and groups looking into race and gender for their new business ventures. If this were an idyllic world the answer would be a simple “because we need to bridge gaps between race and gender.” Quite possibly the CODE2040 project does stand more in these realms of bridging inequality, but from the standpoint of the other article it seems like economic growth is the main focus in looking at women for entrepreneurial businesses. When thinking of the Barres article we read in class its main argument was that by limiting gender it also limits the success in the STEM+. In reading my partner’s article they correlated a positive economic growth in having women in “management and corporate governance.” Meaning that by dismantling the limits it allowed more “talents, energies, and insights” that helps company’s economic growth.

    By not limiting gender in STEM+ it allows opportunities and power for women. On the flip side are women only being allowed these opportunities because women are seen as viable for today’s economy? Sadly, the answer may be yes. Since we live in a capitalist society it is not surprising, to me, that this is how gender diversity is being remedied.

  2. Carla

    In the article “Women’s Survival as a Development Problem,” Amartya Sen discusses the linkage between culture and economic involvement—specifically of women in the workforce. The two articles, “Fellowship Backs Minority Computer Science Students” and “Davos Investing in Women in Business..”, explore the importance of involving women, blacks, and Latinos in business and technology.

    Sen discusses at length how much women would benefit from their own economic independence, education, and independence in places where women are valued/cared for less in their families and in their society. These articles about better incorporating women and minorities in industry instead focus on how their involvement would benefit society and the economy. I think that this really indicates the privileged position from which these articles are written. The Davos article even calls women “the third billion” in reference to China and India, nations whose billion-people populations are critical in the development in the global economy. However, this article does not even consider that, as Sen demonstrates, millions of women in these countries are often excluded from this economic growth. The Davos article talks about the benefits of having women in management positions of major corporations, but the average American woman is making around $.80 on the dollar of her male counterparts. The article about the CODE2040 Foundation connects black/Latino college students (who have already been accepted into computer science programs at universities) with internships, but this assumes that there is already a significant interest in these fields among minorities. These articles both take a top-down approach to tackle issues of equality and access but ignore the smaller scale, community and individual needs of individuals. All three articles rarely dive into the cultural/social explanations about why these disparities exist in the American workforce or abroad. Without changing the perceptions of who should be involved in a global economy, be it in the business world, technology, or just achieving economic independence, I believe the goals of the Davos forum and CODE2040 will not be fully achieved until the basic needs of women that Sen discusses.

  3. Kevin

    Between my partner (Brad) and me, I realized that both of our articles touched on the idea of women and the big questions to ask: How do we get to an equally gendered Society.

    Brad’s article dealt with the idea that women-specific events are not a good idea because it is not good to fight fire with fire. Using gender specific events deals the question of how to fix and find a balance between male and female fairness. In my article, the one about South Korea, a woman was just elected president. This posits a possible answer: women need to take higher valued positions to fight a chauvinist idea of women being worth less. The idea of having gender based events may be harmful to the possible economic gain that could be achieved from only one gender; however, it is rough to be a female in an all-male event.

    This poses another problem, how to create a balanced environment between male and female visitors to the event. This problem is very difficult to solve because the lack of women may be accidental and this feeds to the idea people may construct that having gender specific events is more economically beneficial. This idea of having more profitable events by making them gender specific is wrongly based on these experiences. To correct this much more difficult, yet there is still the idea that we need to change something about our current world to make life fair to all. One possible solution to this entire dilemma is to follow Sweden. There, women are in high ranking positions more than anywhere else in the world; as well as having the highest percentage of female graduates, and they are also changing their language to include a neutral gender so that names will also be non- gender specific (women can be called John, men can be called Lisa). This offers one possible model to follow. These articles tie in to the idea of women greatly being underrepresented in the work force, such as the New York Times Wikipedia participation article.

    • Marie Hicks

      Nice job, Kevin. But next time, proofread a bit more carefully. I made some corrections and edits in your post for clarity–hopefully this didn’t inadvertantly change the meaning of what you were trying to convey.

  4. AnthonyL

    The Sen article, “Mortality as an Indicator of Economic Success and Failure” bears a striking resemblance to some of the arguments made in the Huffpost article “Equality and Gender Roles Don’t Coexist When a Woman Loves a Woman.”

    While the Sen reading concerns economics directly, the Huffpost article approaches them in an implicit way almost as an afterthought. “[Discrimination laws and erroneous assumptions] caused nothing but hardship and achieved nothing but the enforcement of gender roles.” and “…these rules don’t come without sanction and punishment. People, particularly youngsters, pay a price for not abiding by these rules.” The Huffpost article concludes with, “Growth embraces equality…” On the other hand, the Sen article focuses on economic growth and international equality driving up life expectancies.
    Finally, both articles place a value on diversity- Huffpost in the context of “abnormality” or “deviation” from socially enforced gender roles. In contrast, “The value of living must reflect the importance of the diverse capabilities for which it is a necessary requirement.”(Sen,4).

    Both arguments see equitable exchanges as the solution, though they differ in the specific arena of life that they focus on: social or economic, with both mentioning politics. Both cite the waste of enforcing rules that promote the status-quo– the “abnormality” of same sex couples or the lower status of women, especially young women, respectively. Even within the history of the United States, social, political, and economic equality have been closely linked. Progress in one is often linked with gains in the others. Women’s suffrage and women replacing men in factories during WWII led to predictable increases in economic growth and social status. Social, political, and economic rights are indelibly linked.

    • Marie Hicks

      Nice job, Anthony. Next time, try to paraphrase or explain the quotes you’re using a bit more–it’s unclear to me at a few points (like the end of the second paragraph) how certain quotes move your argument along.

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