A problem denied?

Since the first meeting which brought together teachers, instructors, advanced users and representatives of the N.I.T. industry to plan the research, it became clear that the gender gap in access to and use of the new technologies was generally unrecognised and hidden. Although at one level the problem is evident, it is telling that those recounting their own personal experience tended to shift the terms of the problem. For example, some claimed that the problem pertained to the older generation and was no longer an issue among young users.Others suggested that the problem was confined to beginners and disappeared with regular use. Or that the problem is not specific to new information technologies and instead affects women within the family, at work and in society at large. If there is a gender gap in the use of N.I.T. its origins lie elsewhere and can be tackled at other levels. The first objective of the project was to verify and make visible the gender differences with regard to new technologies by means of a sociological survey based on a sample of male and female students and adults in Italy. The survey data demonstrate the presence of a gap that also affects young people in a number of ways.