aoir: "digital divide: opportunities and challenges"

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Dianne Looker (Dalhousie): The Internet And The Gender Digital Divide

Canadian study on Internet use. They looked at 15-year-old boys and girls enrolled in school.

Findings from YITS/PISA

  • Males slightly more likely to have a computer in their home.
  • Males more likely to use computers in every context
  • Males more likely to use the 'net for almost all tasks. (only possible exceptions were word processing and educational software) "Males use computers more and use them for more and different tasks."
  • Boys feel more positively about computers. See it as more fun, more important, more absorbing.
  • Boys rate their skills higher!!! (Twice as many males as females report that they have high skills.)

90% of boys and girls have any access. Slightly more boys have computer at home, slightly more boys have internet connections at home.

Types of use of computer is related to home access. For those with no home access, boy and girl patterns are more similar. For those with homea ccess, there is more divergence, with boys using the computer more and for a wider variety of activities.

Males much more likely to say they use the computer out o personal interest; girls much more likely to say they use it for school/study needs.


  • Gender has an effeect, but at-home access seems to have more of an effect. Questions about causal direction. Data suggests that interest-->access, rather than the reverse. Because boys are interested, they create access for themselves.
  • Need more details on why and how males and females use computer and the Internet differently. Need qualitative research to fill in the stories.

Found that it's not that high achievers use IT more...access isn't correlated with school success or involvement.

(In a response to a questioner, the Pew researcher noted that girls are using IM more than boys, but most other activities are more boys than girls. It is in the teenage life online report on the Pew web site.)

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Blog to the future from Radio Free Blogistan on October 20, 2003 5:56 PM

David Weinberger has some predictions about what will happen as blogs become more popular: While there are a hell of a lot of blogs and blog readers, blogs aren't even close to being a mainstream phenomenon the way email is. It'll happen. And here are ... Read More

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Hi! I also attended this presentation & dashed out to go to a conference at OISE on another issue. While at OISE, someone raised the issue that in the Middle East there are girls who are increasingly more interested in using computer and the Internet since it is considered "acceptable" for females to work in offices (I think they meant as secretaries). Anyway, reminded me of Dianne Looker's presentation. Made me ask: is the computer (let alone the 'Net) perfect for women and girls in Purdah? I've been asking this for over a year now, just trying to find someone who knows the answer...

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