FES | Federación Española de Sociología

XII Congreso de la FES

Digital skills and gender gaps in Spain and Europe

GT 12 Sociología del Género

José Luis Martínez Cantos (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya)


Sesión de comunicaciones orales Franja 4 : CUIDADOS, TECNOLOGÍAS Y GÉNERO
Responsable(s): María Isabel Jociles Rubio (Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Tipo de sesión: Sesión de comunicaciones orales
Día: viernes, 1 de julio de 2016
Hora: 16:00 a 18:00

In recent years, the number of people using computers and the Internet has grown considerably in Europe. Looking at a few basic indicators of Internet use, disparities between men and women seem to have virtually closed. However, it is necessary to acquire a complex and gradual perspective to understand rigorously the phenomenon of access to digital technologies and the gender gap. Within this perspective, the academic literature have put the focus on the digital skills dimension, because this kind of literacy is an essential resource to manage the new ICTs.

This research analyzes data from the Community Survey on ICT usage in households and by individuals (Eurostat) to know the evolution of the gender gaps in (computer and Internet) digital skills between 2007 and 2014. The information covers a sample of 30 countries of the European continent.

The findings of this work show that the asymmetries between women and men regarding digital skills indeed are very slight on the most basic and widespread ones. However, the gaps seem very significant in the more complex and specialized tasks, more frequently in the computer related than in the Internet related activities. The gender gaps in this regard are detected in most European countries and very stable over the period, but they are more marked in countries with high levels of digital skills, such as the Nordic ones. Thus, we can conclude that the gender digital divide in this field is not clearly reduced if we adopt a complex and gradual perspective, contrary to what we may think if we only observe a small number of simple indicators. In the discussion of this paper we explore some possible factors which can explain these patterns (gender and welfare state regimes, segregation in labour market and education, economic and productive models, etc.) and review the main ways to improve this research.

Palabras clave: digital skills, Information Society, Internet, gender gaps, Europe