The history and association of gender and technology

Traditionally, technology has been associated with rationality,  objectivity and structure; traits oft considered “masculine” in the  traditional societal definition of gender roles. While some technologies  have largely been male-dominated, throughout history, women have had an  often unrecognized presence in making significant contributions to  these technological advancements. One such technology would be the  digital computer. While its development is generally viewed as a product  of male logic and rationality, much of the progress in this area has  required an intuitive, interactive and generally less structured  “feminine” approach. These culturally appropriated gender  characteristics as well as historic gender roles have had a significant  influence in consumerism and technological development. In this  activity, you will explore technologies that may be gender-specific and  evaluate technological innovations that have shaped current society. 

Perform an internet search on technologies that may be “gendered”. Then respond to the following:

  • Briefly discuss the history and association of gender and  technology. How has gender mattered in the historical development and  marketing of technology?
  • Provide at least two examples of technologies that are traditionally  considered “masculine” and “feminine”. On what basis are you making the  distinctions? 
  • How is technology helping to reshape traditional gender roles and  gender identities in the 21st century? Provide real world examples.
  • What is the driving force behind this breakdown of gender barriers? 
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