Production of knowledge on women’s career in ICT-related work

The “gender equality paradox” of Nordic countries has often been captured through quantitative research examining gender divided labour market. The latest statistics from Statistics Norway shows that larger proportion of women still work part time compared to men, and women and men choose different sectors and industries that directly influence their career path (SSB, 2018). For instance, 36,8% of employed women work part time compared to 12,5 percent men (SSB, 2017). The statistics that can guide us to measure gender divided labour markets are often categorised by sectors, industries and types of professions.

However, in the societies that have heavily been influenced by post-industry economy, digitalization processes in both public and private sectors create patterns in women’s career in ICT-related works that cannot be fully captured by the mentioned categories. There is much pressure on researchers to justify their research and findings by numbers and graphs. For several decades, feminist scholars, such as Harding (1995) and Haraway (1988), have been engaged in conversations about objectivity and production of knowledge and methodology. For instance, Harding (1995) has argued that stronger reflection on social and historical context of particular knowers will increase and strength our ability to achieve objectivity. We probably gain much by re-visiting feminist engagement in the question of objectivity, in a time when knowledge is critical aspect of societal and economic development.

Gilda Seddighi 

Haraway, D. (1988). Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575-599. doi:10.2307/3178066

Harding, S. (1995). “Strong objectivity”: A response to the new objectivity question. Synthese, 104, 331-349. doi:

SSB. (2017). Indikatorer for kjønnslikestilling i kommunene 2016. Statisctics Norway. Retrieved from

SSB. (2018). Dette er kvinner og menn i Norge. Retrieved from

Grappling with Paradoxes

fileDigitalization and new digital technology – it is not about the future, but about here and now. Almost daily we can hear in the news about how digitalization changes working life, requiring new competences of employees and new strategies for industry. ICT is not neutral, but in many cases rather operates as a new instance responsible for social, cultural, juridical or economical choices. In our new chapter, we point at the importance of questioning how digitalization is made and who are involved (read the chapter or have a look at the presentation).

The report Digital21 was recently published – written on behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries to explore how Norway can deal with the increasing digitalization, referred to as an “industrial revolution” that affects not only trade and industry, but also society.

The report, which explains how digital innovation will lead Norway into a prosperous digitized future, is absolutely void for reflections around the question of who it is that is involved in digitalization. Words like inclusion, diversity, gender, men/women, girls/boys do not exist in this document. As if we did not know that only about one in four are women in IT education and IT industry in Norway, and that we are below the EU average if we expand the picture to look at sciences and engineering (She Figures, see Figure 6.2); and due to slow improvement, in periods even negative change, of women’s participation, researchers have suggested that it will take several decades before we are even close to gender parity in this field in Norway (Vabø et al. 2012).

Change is dependent on politics. We have already argued that the low number of girls in programming classes in Norway is not a paradox, but a result of a policy that is gender blind! Change is also dependent on the ability to imagine that women have a place in the world of IT and digitalisation.

We certainly need stories about women in computing, a task that Sue Black has taken seriously. She is also indeed visible herself, so enjoy this video where she tells you How to find the superhero within you!