Relational sensibilities and women's participation in computer science and information technology degrees: a cultural-historical approach

Megan Adams, Kerri Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

There is extensive literature concerning women's low participation in the technology There is extensive literature concerning women's low participation in the technology industry. However, little is known about the relational aspect of women's participation in information technology–related degrees. This study focused mainly on relational sensibility and women's experience as they engage in 4-year undergraduate degrees in computer science (CS) or in- formation technology (IT). Drawing on the theoretical concept of moral imagination the womens' situation is examined; as it is, and how they imagine it could be and should be, as potential life projects are formulated in relation to, and with, others. Data were generated from five semi- structured interviews and a focus group discussion with seven women (n = 12 participants). The women in this study enrolled in an undergraduate degree as they were able to solve complex IT problems by themselves and then help others. Further, the self-positioning and the positioning by others created emotional tension and effected the women's relational sensibilities. Most of the women were undecided about their future career in IT because of the lack of transparency and information about what is involved in employment in the field. We argue that moral imagination provides a different perspective to understand women's underrepresentation in the CS and IT fields.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100464
Number of pages12
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
Volume28
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Keywords

  • women in Computer Science (CS)
  • relational sensibilities
  • moral imagination
  • Women in Information Technology (IT)
  • transforming

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