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A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology by Vincent F. Hendricks, Stig Andur Pedersen, Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis

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Chapter 59

The Politics of Gender and Technology

ELISABETH K. KELAN

Although technologies are a pervasive part of our everyday life, we rarely think about technology as gendered. If we look at toys for children alone, it is very evident that boys tend to get game consoles and remote-control cars while girls get dolls to play with. From an early age, we are confronted with subtle messages about which technologies are deemed appropriate for which gender. While men tend to be associated with technologies like spacecraft, fast cars and advanced computing, the technologies associated with women are things like kitchen tools, which often do not qualify as real technology at all. In this article this politics of gender and technology is discussed.

The area of gender and technology studies has been flourishing in recent years, and scholars have developed sophisticated approaches to understand better the gender–technology relation (Gill and Grint 1995; Wajcman 1991, 2004). These approaches start from the assumption that gender and technology are co-produced and mutually shaping. This means that technology influences gender relations and gender relations influence technology. The notion of co-production of gender and technology needs some unpacking. Faulkner (2001: 83) distinguishes between the gender in technology and the gender of technology. The latter refers to the symbolic association between gender and technology. Certain technologies are perceived as masculine in society, such as ...

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