E-government and sex

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 wandering in Barcelona)

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One Response to E-government and sex

  1. Dear e-mancipator

    nice to have feedback from this paper.
    I certainly agree that the data is always a serious issue in social research (I need to clarify here that my data are syrvey data published annually by Eurostat).

    I find the fact that the Gender Digital Divide does not vanish over the years (or in the most developed countries of Western Europe) quite alarming and I believe that sociologists may have much to say on that.

    It is time to examine the impact of technology as it is, not through the lences of our optimism. I think a study of Easten Europe has much to offer in our understanding. If we look at another technological culture without any prejudice we may be surprised of how many things we don’t know.

    I think that sometimes it is useful to analyse our data without making any normative assessment (given of course that we use the right data).

    Please don’t hesitate to contact me for any comments or suggestions (my contact details are on the University of Oxford web-page)

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