While I was preparing my presentation "Critique féministe de la production des technologies de l'information et de la communication" for the 80'th congress of ACFAS (held this year in Montreal), I was called by the Devoir journalist Hélène Roulot-Ganzmann who considered that the topic was particularly interesting, and wanted to know more.
Why are women minority in the ICT/IT field? Why is the gap widening instead of reducing? Where are women in the I(C)T sector? We discussed in detail all these questions. The journalist, rarely informed before calling, was well aware of most of my work, and also of the technical definitions. I was afraid the article will be over the top, too difficult to explain the basics in such a short time. But I was gladly surprised for the result.
« Les technologies sont modelées par le genre ». Et… les technologies modèlent le genre (acricle in le Devoir from 5th May 2012).
My main critique: article stressing on the stories, examples, rather than the links between the elements. This is how it ended up that in one affirmative sentense, it is declared: "Or il y a un lien évident entre logiciel libre et féminisme." (Therefore, there is an obvious link between free software & feminism". I'd argue that there is nothing obvious about the two. And that it would be a hard bite to swallow both for feminists & FOSS geeks.
While the article was mostly affirmative & looking for the "best practices" type examples, my ACFAS presentation was quite different -- providing a theoretical base for applying feminist critique on the study of communication technologies.
This presentation was aiming at providing a methodological tool for applying feminist critique on the research in communications, STS, usage-prodution-diffusion of technologies. Such research could open doors to see beyond the binaries (users, non-users), but also to decorticate the users and see who are the users, and allow for a more diverse and rich qualitative research, taking into account everyone's unique personal experience with ICT.