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TOWARDS A GENDER-NEUTRAL INCLUSIVE INFORMATION SOCIETY: PRESERVING THE EUROPEAN MODEL IN THE INFORMATION AGE
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The creation of “the bodiless society”– a gender-neutral society of services that is gradually replacing industrial society– is the result of accelerated technological developments in combination with the globalization of the economy. The products of this technological revolution are in reality services, a factor that has foundational consequences on society. The creation of thousands of specialized employment positions in the distribution and use of new technologies, whose hard nucleus is made up of specific knowledge and technological know-how is currently denied to the less-privileged gender subjects, the citizens who have particular difficulties in adapting and comprehending this transitional stage of the postmodernist period. Will our future society be a globalized technological ‘paradise’ of an abundance of information, products and services, achieved through the marginalization of the vulnerable gender subject, specifically that of non-mainstream social groups, and women in particular? The paper argues that policy measures at EU level, are needed to maintain a high level of gender-inclusion in the Information Society. In this context, the EU is examining the present state of affairs – mainstreaming and promoting equality — working towards establishing an action plan for a better integration of women and non-mainstream social groups in the Information Society. The crucial issue of equality in Information Society must be dealt with and confronted, not only as a question of how to increase the number of consumers or the production of goods and services, but rather as an opportunity for all citizens to become active agents or active members in society, regardless of gender, race, colour, religion, etc. To fight digital illiteracy and future social exclusions the paper suggests three areas of action: Firstly, educational reforms, notably, the institutionalization of mandatory ‘techno-education’: compulsory technological training as an integral part of the curricula of EU public schools, beginning from kindergarten and extending to vocational training. Secondly, international, inter-cultural interdisciplinary research must be progressively and systematically promoted. The new realities of a technological society must be clearly defined and described through interdisciplinary collaborations. We need to look into the present state of affairs before working towards establishing strategies and an action plan for the better integration of women and other vulnerable groups into Information Society. And thirdly, a techno-ethical code to ensure that Europe’s achievements in past are transposed into the Information Society and the virtual environment.
European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate-General, Brussels
Women and Science Seminar: Women in the Information Society, European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate-General, Brussels
Gender neutral, “the bodiless society”, digital illiteracy, technophobia, gender-inclusion in the Information Society, a techno-ethical code (technoethos), virtual servitude, information manipulation, electronic surveillance, electronic terrorism, new information world order, digital despotism, digital capitalism, information elite, interdisciplinary communication, education, techno-education, integration of women, action plan, techno-ethos, techno-ethics
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Social, Political and Economic sciences
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Irene Kamberidou invited to participate with a presentation as member of the Gender Expert Action Group Participation (GEAG) of the European Commission DG for Information Society and Media. Presentation published in CORDIS focus online edition, March 2006, in website http://cordis.europa.eu.int/ist/directorate g/seminar20060405.htm. [Kamberidou, I., & Patsantaras, N. (200e). Towards a Gender-Neutral Inclusive Information Society: Preserving the European Model in the Information Age. In Women and Science Seminar: Women in the Information Society, European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate-General, Brussels (pp. 1–11). European Commission Information Society and Media Directorate-General, Brussels].