The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending over $300,000 to create “feminist theory” for human interaction with computers, and aims to make computer systems more “gender sensitive.”
A project led by a researcher at Drexel University theorizes that there are fewer women in computing fields because computers are made by men.
“The [Principal Investigator] PI’s long-term goal is to create theory to inform [Human-Computer Interaction] HCI design practices, to ensure the production of egalitarian designs that reflect all users’ values,” a grant for the project states. “In particular, she aims to create feminist theory for HCI, which she hopes will close the gap in women’s participation in computing.”
“Previously, the PI has shown how approaches to designing for women are questionable when viewed in light of feminist theory,” the grant continued. “Feminist scholars argue that the lack of women in computing further discourages women from pursuing programming-related careers, and that women are also excluded because technologies created by men better address male needs.”
The research will also explore “gender and technical identities” and the belief that computer system designs “alienate women.”