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)