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(Never) Mind the gap! Gender equity in social studies research on technology in the twenty‐first century

Margaret S. Crocco (Teachers College, Columbia University, Morristown, New York, USA)
Judith Cramer (Teachers College, Columbia University, Morristown, New York, USA)
Ellen B. Meier (Teachers College, Columbia University, Morristown, New York, USA)

Multicultural Education & Technology Journal

ISSN: 1750-497X

Article publication date: 11 April 2008

Abstract

Purpose

Focusing on gender as an aspect of diversity, the purpose of this paper is to review social studies research on technology, and suggest a new direction, with gender redefined from a gap to be eliminated to a difference to be explored.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is a literature review of research on gender, technology, and social studies from 1987 to 2007.

Findings

Previously, men had more access and used more types of technology than women, but a shift to web‐based computing eliminates some gender gaps. Women dominate online communication. Although “male” technology culture interferes with girls' self‐efficacy in schools and potential computer careers, the new Web 2.0 “participatory culture” holds promise because it relies on collaboration and networking, two well documented female strengths.

Research limitations/implications

The gap notion of gender is questionable because: technology culture has been constructed as male; and social studies education, where women greatly out number men, pays little attention to gender. Evidence suggests that girls and women use technology well when it serves their interests, which may not be the same as men's. Defining gender as difference helps researchers answer calls to integrate “21st century literacies” into future studies and put gender equity at the center of future technology policy.

Originality/value

Very little has been written about gender as a facet of multicultural social studies education in its relation to social studies.

Keywords

Citation

Crocco, M.S., Cramer, J. and Meier, E.B. (2008), "(Never) Mind the gap! Gender equity in social studies research on technology in the twenty‐first century", Multicultural Education & Technology Journal, Vol. 2 No. 1, pp. 19-36. https://doi.org/10.1108/17504970810867133

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited