Women empowering themselves to fit into ICT

September 2021
Taylor & Francis Group. Bok; Technology and Women's Empowerment

This chapter presents a study of how women in Norway establish their feeling of belonging in ICT despite the field’s strong association with men. The analysis is based on qualitative interviews with 24 women studying or occupying early career positions in ICT. The study relies on theories from Feminist Technology Studies emphasizing the co-construction of gender and technology. Grounded Theory Method has guided the analysis in developing categories of belonging, self-empowerment, and strengths in ICT. The analysis demonstrates how the women’s perceptions of ICT develop from a pre-understanding of ICT as a masculine field into a more open and inclusive post-understanding. This post-understanding is based on the women’s experiences in ICT and the process of self-empowerment, a process in which they identify and contribute to women’s visibility in ICT, identify their own strengths and competences as relevant, and redefine the notion of ICT as a wider and more inclusive field. The women receive little support when entering and developing their belonging in ICT, indicating that a certain level of self-empowerment is necessary, as opposed to the male storyline which suggests that men rather self-recruit to ICT education.