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women and email

klier at cobra.uni.edu klier at cobra.uni.edu
Fri Sep 17 18:43:48 EST 1993

In article <1993Sep16.095627.11084 at gserv1.dl.ac.uk>, H.F.J.Bligh at uk.ac.nottingham.ccc.vme writes:
> I've just been reading an article in todays 'Guardian' (a British broadsheet
> newspaper) about why so few women (in comparison to men) use email and
> the net. The conclusions seem to be:
> 1 Women have this idea that ' I'm no good with machines'
That's something I run into fairly commonly... but talking to three female
colleagues the other day, we all discovered we've always wanted a 

> 2 Economics, women have less disposable cash so the women most likely to
> be linked are those in science or technology where their employer pays
> for the equipment and access etc.

Or time... women still tend to spend more hours on "housework" than 
men do... and women may be in "lower level positions" where you may
be disciplined for "wasting company time".  I once (briefly!) held a
job that required you to sit with hands folded at your desk if you ran
out of work to do...  you were not allowed to read, work on personal
material, etc.  After I cleaned the files about 17 times, wrote the
first user's manual for the system, and griped about the "idleness policy",
I quit from sheer boredom and frustration.

> 3 If you're a woman and admit you're on the net people think you're weird.

In my case, it's a foregone conclusion, I think...  ;-)

> I haven't personally encountered the third one at all but I do know that
> very few women where I work are on the net and then it is mainly just to
> email friends in other institutions.
> What are other peoples experiences?

I've gotten a number of people interested in the net mainly as a tool...
gophers and library catalogs seem to be a big draw.  However, I prefer
the immediacy of email and NEWS.  More of the females I've introduced
seem to like the utility aspects... more of the males seem to like 
"tinkering for the sake of tinkering".  Just a few data points from here, 

> One last thought.. If  the advantage of the net is as the article claimed
> that one remains anonymous on it, Why do I feel that Kay Klier is my
> friend??????.....

Well, golly, that's the nicest thing I've heard in a long time!

Actually, I think that the "facelessness" does help me a bit... I'm
actually kind of shy, and have trouble starting face-to-face conversations 
with people I don't know.  The net, however, is _designed_ for jumping
into the middle of conversations.

Also, as someone with a hearing loss, the written word is easier for
me.  I don't have to strain to understand a phone call, or try to 
pick one voice out of many in a crowded room.  Much more relaxing!

Kay Klier   Biology Dept   UNI  

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