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Power relations in IT education and work: the intersectionality of gender, race, and class

Lynette Kvasny (College of Information Sciences and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Eileen M. Trauth (College of Information Sciences and Technology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA)
Allison J. Morgan (Department of Information Systems and Decision Sciences, School of Business, Howard University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA)

Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society

ISSN: 1477-996X

Article publication date: 1 May 2009

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Abstract

Purpose

Social exclusion as a result of gender, race, and class inequality is perhaps one of the most pressing challenges associated with the development of a diverse information technology (IT) workforce. Women remain under represented in the IT workforce and college majors that prepare students for IT careers. Research on the under representation of women in IT typically assumes women to be homogeneous in nature, something that blinds the research to variation that exists among women. This paper aims to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper challenges the assumption of heterogeneity by investigating how the intersection of gender, race, and class identities shape the experiences of Black female IT workers and learners in the USA.

Findings

The results of this meta‐analysis offer new ways of theorizing that provide nuanced understanding of social exclusion and varied emancipatory practices in reaction to shared group exposure to oppression.

Originality/value

This study on the under‐representation of women as IT workers and learners in the USA considers race and class as equally important factors for understanding variation among women. In addition, this paper provides rich insights into the experiences of Black women, a group that is largely absent from the research on gender and IT.

Keywords

Citation

Kvasny, L., Trauth, E.M. and Morgan, A.J. (2009), "Power relations in IT education and work: the intersectionality of gender, race, and class", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 7 No. 2/3, pp. 96-118. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960910955828

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited