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.   

Technology as it has progressed and advanced through the decades has been linked very closely to gender, from its surprising beginning to now as we continue to push forward. From the early 1800s with a seamstress resistance against a sewing machine, early 1900s with the start of cinema, to now gender has played a key role. This isn’t to say gender alone was in the driver’s seat for technology, it had other key influences making the twist and turns that we are at today. Marketing! We saw marketing give technology its main push by exploiting gender to sell all these great inventions. Advertisements focused on women to sell household items that made their lives easier painting a happier picture of a family home, while men had an image to uphold so anything portraying a sense masculinity is thrown their way. Technology focused and grew around these gender marketing plans shaping how they improved to appease the targeted gender.

Automobiles or heavy machinery in general is a predominantly masculine technology focused on the thought strong or the ideal man figure. Being able to improve or fix a car is deemed to be a man’s job, with the auto mechanic average being 98% male workforce( machinery such as in construction or earth moving operation 94.1% of degree earners are male( Women on the other hand have traditionally been viewed as caretakers of the household. On this side of the gender sphere it is normal to associate stoves, ovens, sewing machines and the telephone for a woman. Even to this day cooking and cleaning is viewed by some as a woman’s job to take care of the family while the man of the house provides at work.

Let us not be confined to these walls that were built so long ago by a aging market, technology is ever growing.  21st century technology has been working to push past gender barriers because well we as a society have. Women in Computer Science areas of study are fewer than 4% by the time they go to college, but with programs such as GIRLS WHO CODE women are being shown early on that these fields aren’t just for men. Just looking around technology has been made to not attract just one gender, take for instance colors of devices we use computers, tv, and cell phones. Most high end devices sell in simple tones of black or white to not push away any consumer.

Right now in this day and age I feel we are seeing more openness to the ideas of everybody regardless of their gender thanks in large part to the internet. Anyone can learn to cook a 3 course meal or replace a timing belt on a car regardless of your sex thanks to YouTube. Many people can just post a photo or a video in a instant through social media showing a march for equality on their timeline. With all the information that is within our grasp technology itself is breaking down the barriers that were placed around it.


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“Removing the Stigma Faced by ‘Girls’ Who Code – TriplePundit.” 18 May. 2015, (Links to an external site.).