Amongst the many papers presented at the Ethicomp 2010 conference was one by Georgia Foteinou, consultant on e-government within the EU and new member states, and researcher at Oxford. Her paper is entitled “E-exclusion and the gender digital divide“.
Georgia has examined the available data from Cap Gemini’s exercises on behalf of the EU, which I have previously criticized, and which I have also challenged directly with them directly.
However, despite my already stated concerns about the nature of quite limited, whilst supposedly statistically significant surveys,
there is the clear conclusion that outside of the former communist
countries there is some significant gender bias in the use of
e-government towards men! Georgia explained that in Greece’s case, this
is notably down to the fact that women are not permitted responsibility
for their own tax affairs. however, what the cause of the difference
was in the rest of the “old” west she hasn’t discovered yet. My own
opinion is that it is down to the particular services examined in the
survey, and how these are delivered in different states across Europe
and nothing to do with “electronic”.
There was also some debate at the presentation around supposed increased gender equality in the former communist block, which there
was not complete agreement with!
I look forward to seeing more of Georgia’s research, as she progresses with it.
(Written whilst stranded in Barcelona)
Thanks for sharing, Mick! What an interesting conference.
Re the topic on the gender divide, I’m not sure I’m convinced of Georgia’s conclusion that e-government can reinforce the gender divide in the favour of men. In the Greek example, now that the policy of gender discrimination is out in the public, doesn’t it bring more attention to it, both amongst Greeks and people like you and me?
Perhaps, because of this openness, it will lead to change quicker, because more people will know about the discrimination?