Discrimination in IT Organisations
This article examines discrimination in information technology (IT) organisations from two different perspectives--that of anti-discrimination law, drawing on reported cases of discrimination in IT-related employment, and that of the experiences, understandings and responses of women IT professionals, drawing on focus group interviews with women from a range of private and public sector organisations. Both the cases and the interviews suggest that the major forms of discrimination against women in IT organisations revolve around pregnancy, maternity leave, the unavailability of part-time work to accommodate family responsibilities, and sexual harassment. However most of the women interviewed either did not see these as forms of discrimination, avoided the subject of discrimination altogether, or pointedly denied the existence of discrimination in their organisation. The article then considers the phenomenon of the denial of discrimination and concludes that the ,focus group interviews provided illustrations of the day-to-day 'practices of the self', whereby women IT professionals disavow their femininity and any disadvantages flowing from it. While these strategies enable women to survive in male-dominated workplaces, they do not challenge the practices of discrimination that are apparently widespread in IT organisations.
Labour & Industry