How gender is impacted by technological innovation

While “sex” concerns the biological difference between individuals based on their reproductive organs (female, male, and/or intersex), “gender” refers to the social and cultural conditional differences of being male or female. These differences are constantly changing, and are subject to many variables such as demographic, economic, religious, and geographical factors. The World Health Organization argues that, when we talk about gender, we are referring directly to the associated physical manifestations (clothing, appearance, etc.) behaviours (individual or collective), roles (expected responsibilities and tasks in and out of households), and opportunities (professional or personal) of women and men in different societies.

CyberEthics Lab. considers “gender” to be a fundamental theme in its research. We firmly believe that a greater understanding of whether gender will be impacted by technological innovations can lead to earlier, wider, and more committed adoption of the innovation itself.

We have conducted gender analyses in multiple domains. From those works, we have been able to provide guidelines on gender sensitive communication, an overview of gender medicine, gender and disaster recovery and more.

Gender sensitive communication

Over the course of H2020 projects in the medical and technological fields CyberEthics Lab. has developed both methods for conducting gender analyses and guidelines for gender sensitive visual communication. In our research, we have found that, while there is more widespread awareness about the appropriate versus inappropriate usage of vocabulary terms in the context of gender inclusivity, there is a lack of specific, prescriptive guidelines from official sources (EU, UNESCO, etc.) about appropriate depiction and representation of gender in visual iconography. Yet, as the age-old adage reminds us, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Gender & Health

In health care, we have advanced recommendations for raising gender awareness through the design of digital and non-digital interfaces. We have provided guidelines, prescriptions, and best practices for avoiding improper usage of language and imagery and instead favour unbiased descriptions and representations.

Click here for more information on the PERSIST project.

Gender & Disaster Recovery

In order to ensure gender parity in research initiatives, we have developed methods for monitoring and controlling the participation to studies in disaster recovery.

Click here for more information on the ASSISTANCE project.

Read more on the topic in our next report.