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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.504 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v10.i1.30
18 pages

USING GENDER SCHEMA THEORY TO EXAMINE GENDER EQUITY IN COMPUTING: A PRELIMINARY STUDY

Denise E. Agosto
College of Information Science & Technology, Drexel University, 33rd & Market Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104

ABSTRACT

Women continue to constitute a minority of computer science majors in the United States and Canada. One possible contributing factor is that most Web sites, CD-ROMs, and other digital resources do not reflect girls’ design and content preferences. This article describes a pilot study that considered whether gender schema theory can serve as a framework for investigating girls’ Web site design and content preferences. Eleven 14- and 15-year-old girls participated in the study. The methodology included the administration of the Children’s Sex-Role Inventory (CSRI), Web-surfing sessions, interviews, and data analysis using iterative pattern coding. On the basis of their CSRI scores, the participants were divided into feminine-high (FH) and masculine-high (MH) groups. Data analysis uncovered significant differences in the criteria the groups used to evaluate Web sites. The FH group favored evaluation criteria relating to graphic and multimedia design, whereas the MH group favored evaluation criteria relating to subject content. Models of the two groups’ evaluation criteria are presented, and the implications of the findings are discussed.


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