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Today, we will talk about something that is of great importance to women in general. It needs to be seen, analyzed, and taken appropriately action to curb the problems in the field of Cyber Space concerning women.
Cyberfeminism deals with female identity and feminist theory in the domain of “Cyberspace”, that is computers, the internet, and information technology.
Firstly, the onset of the internet promised a world of Democracy and Equality, where Gender difference is ignored. However, the assumption could not be any further from reality.
Gender Equality and differentiation exist widely in cyberspace as it does in reality.
Primarily, because cyberspace is a male-dominated environment that presents serious consequences for women.
These consequences include exclusion or denial of women; to access new information Technology.
At times, they are bombarded with sexual discrimination, abuse, obscene material, and sexual harassment.
Secondly, women greatly, experience extreme sexist jokes, limericks, hostile comments, and numerous forms of pornography which can be quite confronting for women.
These problems are not only means of silencing women but also affect the attitudes and behaviors of men towards women.
According to Dale Spender, sexual harassment has often been referred to as the systematic means of keeping women out of the male territory. This certainly is the case in cyberspace.
Thirdly, women are just as capable as men in their intellectual capacity and initiative to share progress and development in information technology.
However, if problems of access to information technology and opportunities are denied, gender equality will appear to be a far cry.
Fourthly, the development of ICTs has several potential consequences. It makes everyone a potential producer of pornography and enlarges the network of distribution to very private spaces.
Civil society has historically struggled to protect against unwarranted state intrusion. This as a result creates spaces for violence against women and perpetrators to network and communicate.
Fifthly, the use of the internet has increased the commodification of women and sexual violence through broadcasting sexual abuse in real time. Competition among sites has increased the percentage of violent and misogynistic images.
Sixth, it is often observed that men have more to do with computers as compared to women in terms of spending time or acquiring skills.
A study conducted in the U.K showed that six times more as compared to girls, boys have computers bought for them.
In general, women are not only disadvantaged as children but this continues in their later lives as well.
In a survey of the World Wide Web, conducted by James Pikow and Mimi Recker of Georgia Institute of Technology,4700 people responded about their internet use. 56% of users were between the age of 21 and 30 and 94% of those were male.
Naturally, with figures as diverse as those, it is easy to understand why cyberspace is usually called a male-dominated territory.
Cabera-Balleza of Isis International, a non-governmental group that works on issues around women and communication, states that women are often found as Data collectors or word processors.
Very few are employed in hardware design which places them at a very low pile in the lucrative industry. All this leads to Gender discrimination as employers perceive that women cannot work for long hours.
Seventh, knowing the current situation and nature of cyber discrimination, there is a dire need for women to manage online websites.
And should be in the creation and management of websites and software engineering.
Lastly, Organizational Structure plays a pivotal role in perpetuating gender practices and identifying stereotypes within the IT discipline.
In the end, I would like to say that simple yet profound remedies need to take place within Information Technology Education.
Operations are needed to examine and address the extent to which underlying belief systems including dress code, language, symbolism and processes throughout the industry reflect masculine and feminine associations.
Women can only be drawn into the industry when there is a true sense and acknowledgment that cyberspace is not a male-dominated territory alone and man culture cannot survive without women’s culture. Think about it.
Until next time stay safe while surfing.