Gender and Technology
INTERVIEW EDGE • APRIL 1994
If women and men communicate differently, is this difference reflected in their attitudes toward computers? Some gender communication experts emphatically say "yes!"
Current studies indicate that women tend to be more facilitative communicators, preferring topics dealing with people, relationships and feelings. In contrast, men, interact competitively with others to directly exchange information and/or to maintain the upper hand. Their conversations include sports, money and business.
These communication style differences seem to influence each gender's relationship to technology. Women see computers as a tool, a means to an end. They tend to be drawn to e-mail or using the computer for team projects, reflecting their interests in people.
Men are much more interested in the technology itself, and the competition for the latest and fastest equipment and software. Understanding women's interests in using computers as communication tools may be overlooked if the focus is mainly on the technology.
These differences can also suggest areas to probe more completely in an interview. Since men and women use computers differently, the synergy between these two approaches can be a big plus for organizations if they can creatively use the special strengths of each group.