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ICT inclusion and gender: tensions in narratives of network engineer training

Gillard, Hazel, Mitev, Nathalie and Scott, Susan V. ORCID: 0000-0002-8775-9364 (2007) ICT inclusion and gender: tensions in narratives of network engineer training. Information Society, 23 (1). pp. 19-38. ISSN 0197-2243

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Identification Number: 10.1080/01972240601057254


Government, major information and communications technology (ICT) companies, and educational institutions in the United Kingdom currently claim that ICT skills training offers inclusion into the new economy. We focus on a private–public training initiative and its impact on the socially excluded, specifically lone women parents. Narrative data from four United Kingdom educational sites participating in this computer network engineer training program highlight a systemic paradox: that ICT skills development initiatives designed to support lone women parents are simultaneously working in opposition to broader policy goals such as work–life balance and ironically serve to reproduce the participants' classification as socially excluded. The assumptions underpinning the model of social inclusion driving the ICT skills training course are analyzed critically using the concepts of community of practice, classificatory systems, and marginalization. Our findings suggest that ICT training courses and initiatives should be accompanied by changes in pedagogic practice that accommodate the more wide-ranging needs of those targeted for inclusion, as well as changes in employment settings. We conclude by exploring the implications of this for government policy formation, business vendor qualifications, the design of ICT skills training initiatives, and our understanding of the role of ICT skills in overcoming the digital divide.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 Taylor & Francis
Divisions: Management
Centre for Economic Performance
Centre for Analysis of Risk & Regulation
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2007
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:35

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