The current scientific and political discussion on the under‐representation of women within the Internet once again associates women with disinterest in technology in an essentialist manner. Gender‐specific attributions are unquestioningly transferred to the new media, and it is assumed that women behave in unfailing conformity with existing gender stereotypes. The intention of this paper is to show that gender research has to perform differentiated empirical studies of actual Internet use. Gender studies can then make a concrete contribution to the task of overcoming the genderdifferentiated inequalities in the access to and the use of the Internet. I shall begin by briefly outlining the dilemma of gender studies in the technical area. In the second section I shall describe the reasons for the gender‐differentiated Internet access data, using quantitative Internet studies from the USA, calling for a de‐dramatisation of difference in this context. In the third section, I will overcome the dichotomous view of the digital divide and present a research framework for differentiated study of differing use habits and use requirements. This section illustrates that such an approach does not make the gender category superfluous, but challenges gender studies to present context‐related studies, in which individual behaviour may be interpreted in the context of gender symbols and structures. My fourth step will be to explain how the new possibilities of online research can and should be used to gain further understanding in the sense of differentiated study designs. Finally, I will finish with a short outlook where I am calling for an equal representation of all societal groups in the Internet and therefore for an empowerment particularly of women.
Winker, G. (2005), "Internet research from a gender perspective Searching for differentiated use patterns", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 199-207. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960580000273Download as .RIS
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