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Gender Issues in Computer Networking

Discusses some of the key issues and controversies that have arisen regarding gender and computer networking, including participation of women in computer science and networking, social interactions, and pornography.

Leslie Regan Shade
Concordia University
Associate Professor, Communication Studies

Talk given at: Community Networking: the International
Free-Net Conference
Carleton University, Ottawa, CANADA,
August 17-19, 1993

It seems that the topic of gender and computer networking is the flavour of the month. When I proposed this talk to Dave Sutherland in June, I was already working on a collaborative paper with Gladys We, a master's student in Communications at Simon Fraser University and the Publications Coordinator of the Vancouver Free-Net, on gender issues in networking, for the Internet Business Journal. Gladys had already co-written a similar article for Kinesis, a Canadian feminist paper. Later, I discovered that Stephanie Brail, a free-lance journalist, was writing an article on women and networking for On The Issues, a U.S.-based women's magazine. Very soon thereafter, e-mail to Anita Borg, "keeper" of the Systers mailing list, and also a Consultant Engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation's (DEC) Network Systems Laboratory in Palo Alto revealed that she was preparing a talk on gender issues for Interval Research in the Bay Area.

Six months ago, at the Computers, Freedom and Privacy_ conference held in the Bay Area, a panel was devoted to gender issues in computing and telecommunications. It was organized by BAWIT--Bay Area Women in Telecommunications, a working group sponsored by the Berkeley, California chapter of Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility. As a member of BAWIT--although never IRL (in real life) I commented on their paper and shared some bibliographic sources.

And, in the past year, many academic articles on various facets of gender and networking have been published, as well as a book edited by Cheris Kramarae and Jeanie Taylor of the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, entitled Women, Information Technology, and Scholarship. Other happenings related to gender and computer networking included an electronic conference, "The Electronic Salon", devoted to gender issues in "technoculture", sponsored by Lewis & Clark College in April of 1992. [Electronic Salon] As well, many lists (including Computers & Academic Freedom, Gender, Communet, and various UseNet groups) have had on-going discussions about various aspects of gender issues--related to interpersonal communication in computer-mediated- communication (CMC), sexual harassment, access and representation. Also, many conferences and lists related to women's issues have been started or are in the formative stages.

Popular culture has also been reflecting women networking. In last years film, "Single White Female", the character played by Bridget Fonda is tied up by her lunatic roommate, and she makes a desperate call for help by logging on to Compuserve. Sci-fi books with technologically savvy women are more common. In Pad Cadigan's Synners, Gina and Sam are the two main hacker characters in the Post-millennium L.A. holocaust landscape, where, by the end of the novel, they both find themselves literally jacked into the network. [Cadigan] Bruce Sterling's Islands in the Net featured the post- millennium super-mom-heroine, Laura Webster, fighting data pirates, high-tech voodoo, and new-age mercenaries. [Sterling] And, Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash features Juanita Marquez, the "face department" for Black Sun System's avatars. [Stephenson]

This summer the popular media has run stories on two incidents related to computer networking and gender. Both Time magazine and The Washington Post covered "The Case of the Cybercad", or the "on-line Lothario" on the WELL (a private conferencing system running out of the Bay Area). This case involved a WELLbeing--dubbed Mr. X-- who was romancing several different WELLbeing women at the same time; the women involved found out; and through the WELL's private women-only conference space, WOW (Women on the WELL), decided to "out" the man in a more public conference area on the WELL (although not revealing his name). Unfortunately, the Time article erroneously dismissed the WELL as a sort of "single's bar scene"; the more perceptive Washington Post article by John Schwartz analyzed the incident as a test case for the new online terrain of social interactions: "Anthropologists and sociologists too, still are wondering what the lowly modem has wrought. The ability to use our computers to reach out around the world hasn't just revolutionized computing--it's creating new forms of social interaction that appear and evolve before the academics can get their pipes lit". [Schwartz]

Earlier this month U.S.A. Today featured a story on: "High-Tech Harassment... sexual harassment is making inroads in cyberspace as female users increasingly report instances of lewd messages, suggestive graphics or even electronic stalking over computer networks. Most reported incidents have been at universities..." (U.S. A. Today)

Today, I will discuss some of the key issues and controversies that have arisen regarding gender and computer networking, including participation of women in computer science, participation of women in networking, issues of access to networking, social interactions, pornography, and the use of networking by women. I will summarize by suggesting possible strategies and policies that community networks can adopt in order to ensure that women will be equitably represented.

Participation of Women in Computer Science

The statistics for women in the computer science field are dismal,revealing that only a small percentage of computer scientists and computer professionals are female. In the most recent years for which statistics are available, women received a third of the bachelor's degrees in computer science, 27% of master's degrees, and 13% of PhDs. Women comprise a mere 7.8% of computer science and computer engineering faculties, and only 2.7% of these are tenured. (Frenkel 1990, 38). Put another way, "92% of CS and engineering faculty -- and 97% of the tenured faculty--are male. And about one-third of the computer science departments polled employ no women faculty at all" [Cottrell, 1992].

These figures aren't surprising given the early stereotyping of toys for boys and girls: Transformers for boys and Math-Phobia Barbie for girls.Videogames and educational software are replete with aggressive metaphors:guns, missiles, spaceships, and blasting asteroids, which typically don't appeal to girls. Witness the very recent controversy over Sega's new game,entitled "Night Trap," in which "nameless attackers dressed in black stalk scantily clad teen-age girls through a large house. The girls are portrayed as powerless to defend themselves and, unless rescued by the player, are murdered" [Langberg, 1993].

As well, the young girl who is an avid computerist might later encounter in her professional career a masculine "locker-room environment" in workplaces, technical conferences, and computer trade shows which can be professionally demeaning. Ellen Spertus [1991] described the biases that women face in pursuing careers in computer science and how they deal with them. She solicited remarks on the net from female (and male) students, faculty, and professionals involved in computer science and engineering, and compiled these frank anecdotes about job discrimination and sexist attitudes in the classroom into a well-organized and thoughtful overview of recommendations and policies that can be implemented to make the world of computer science more hospitable towards women. These include: not tolerating sexual harassment; providing mentoring opportunities for women students; and making the workplace, both corporate and academic, accommodate the needs of career and children.

Janet Cottrell [1992] provides some useful suggestions to make the university computing environment more hospitable towards women, such as: making sure the computing facilities are physically safe; ensuring that women are well-represented in computing staff; making sure that pornographic images are not allowed as background screens in labs and offices; making sure that public labs are accessible for the non-aggressive student;and providing individualized learning resources, such as self-paced online or video training tools for students who may feel uncomfortable in large classes.

Participation of women in networking

As we all know, the Internet is expanding at an explosive rate. 1992 statistics put the Internet as extending to over 50 countries on all seven continents, with approximately 5-10 million people using it, and with as many as 15 million people communicating between the Internet and other interconnecting networks. [Hart, et. al] These figures seem conservative now. Many private conferencing systems, such as the WELL, and ECHO (New York City's "East Coast Hang-Out") now have Internet access. Commercial IP network connectivity providers are mushrooming, provided by companies such as Advanced Network and Services (ANS), CO+RE (Commercial plus Research and Education), and the CIX (Commercial Internet Exchange) members--AlterNet, PSINet, CERFnet, and Sprintnet. And, Free-Nets in various cities internationally have started up or are in their formative stages--there are approximately 45 free-net organizing committees around the world. There are at least 11 free-nets in the U.S., with maybe more in the formative stages; 2 in Canada, with 8 others in the formative stages; and 1 in New Zealand.

But does this rapidly expanding user base include an equal proportion of men and women? Probably not. The breakdown of gender usage on various networks is difficult to gauge, but it is safe to say that women are not very well represented on most networks. This low visibility is not surprising, given that women are still under-represented in almost every aspect of computer culture, from programming, to product design, to everyday use.

Access to computer networking for women involves access to both the hardware and the software to support communications. Professional women who are in the academic or corporate mainstream where Internet costs are basically "invisible" for them can take advantage of the Internet. Financially-advantaged women can partake of the many private online services, such as Prodigy, Delphi, American Online, Compuserve, ECHO, and the WELL. On-line costs average 10-20$ month, plus hourly connect fees of 2-$5/hour. However, for those women (and other people) that can't afford networking costs--or who don't own a computer and modem- the introduction of free-nets is fortuitous.

The placement of computers in public spaces, such as libraries and various community centres, would allow those that don't own personal computers to access community networks and partake of local resources, and from there, telnet out into the broader Internet world. The penetration of personal computers into the average household, though, isn't as high as telecom visionaries thought it would be. Free-net sponsored workshops on purchasing used or new computers, or perhaps the donation of used or outmoded equipment from computer manufacturers, might be a good strategy for increasing domestic placement of pc's.

As well, women must have access to the training that will support such communication, and access to significant and relevant resources that can support their research or personal needs. Hands-on, face-2-face training is an option, as well as online "navigating the net" workshops. Novice network users--both men and women--often find that they are overwhelmed by the mountains of text available on the Internet. And, since bibliographic control of the Internet is still in the developmental stages, it is frequently quite difficult to become familiar with the tools.

Fortunately, however, several tools have been developed and are being improved, which can aid in accessing the Internet bounty. These include Archie, a system for locating files (software programs, data, or text files) that are publically available via anonymous FTP; and menu-based tools such as Gopher, WAIS, Veronica, and the World-Wide Web (WWW).

As was mentioned before, the breakdown of gender usage on networks is difficult to gauge, and depends on the network. However, at the low end, women are assumed to hover around 10-15% of the audience. For instance, the contribution of women to UseNet newsgroups is typically not very high, but the actual numbers are subject to debate. In the unmoderated feminist newsgroups (alt.feminism and soc.women), approximately 80% of the messages are posted by men. In the moderated feminist group (soc. feminism), there is usually about a 50/50 balance between women and men.

But, a recent post to soc.women on women's participation cited two differing figures: one reader said that after wading through 130 articles and deleting all those from men, she was left with only 12 posts from women. Another reader countered by saying that she (he?) counted more posts by women than men: after eliminating a ll the cross-posts out of a total of 568 articles available on her node, 62 were left; and of that number, 44 were from women and 18 from men (Article 58511, soc.women, Aug. 10, 1993).

SeniorNet, a consumer-oriented online service available on American OnLine, that caters to the "mature market", reports that their audience mix is 51% female, 49% male. Contrast this gender-balance to other services such as CompuServe, GEnie. and Prodigy, where between 60-90% of the customers are male [Arlen, 6] How is SeniorNet attracting so many women?

Obviously, different networks will attract different audiences. The WELL, from my experience there, seems to have a fairly high ratio of female WELLbeings. ECHO, (the East Coast Hang Out) was started by a woman, Stacey Horn. There females comprise 57% of the audience, and half of the conference hosts are women. Horn actively recruits and encourages women to get on ECHO. She offered the first year of ECHO free to women, with the second year at reduced rates. She's started ECHO School, which helps women out technically; and a Mentoring Program for women, which consists of a group of women who have volunteered to help new women "get acclimated to cyberspace" (personal correspondence, August 1, 1993).

And, when women participate in networks, are there gender differences between the way men and women talk and participate?

Susan Herring at the University of Texas at Arlington analyzed male and female participation in two academic electronic lists, Linguist (devoted to the discussion of linguistics-related issues) and Megabyte University (MBU) (devoted to the discussion of computers and writing). She concluded that "male and female academic professionals do not participate equally in academic CMC. Rather, a small male minority dominates the discourse both in terms of amount of talk, and rhetorically, through self- promotional and adversarial strategies. Moreover, when women do attempt to participate on a more equal basis, they risk being actively censored by the reactions of men who either ignore them or attempt to delegitimize their contributions. Because of social conditioning that makes women uncomfortable with direct conflict, women tend to be more intimidated by these practices and to avoid participating as a result....rather than being democratic, academic CMC is power-based and hierarchical. This state of affairs cannot however be attributed to the influence of computer communication technology; rather, it continues pre- existing patterns of hierarchy and male dominance in academia more generally, and in society as a whole" [Herring]

Kathleen Michel of Miami University investigated gender differences in KIDCAFE, a networking project that links children around the world. Michel was interested in finding out if boys and girls talked to each other more often using CMC, and, if the medium let them understand each other better. In particular, she sought to apply linguist Deborah Tannen's theories of the gender differences in conversational styles-- the "rapport" (cooperative, intimate style) versus "report" (information giving) styles of talk. (Generally speaking, more women engage in the "rapport" style; more men the "report" style). She concluded that, although boys and girls have different conversational patterns, the styles are not as discrepant as Tannen would indicate. CMC can have very positive effects for school children, she observed: "By linking students to other peers around the world through a computer network, schools can positively effect the ways in which male and females converse, and can open up more opportunities for cross-gender communication...on-line , social status and gender become less obvious differences and extend the boundaries of the student's community. A student doesn't have to break into a clique or take social risks in order to hold a conversation with someone she or he normally would not talk to". [Michel]

Social Interactions

Some of you might have seen a recent Peter Steiner cartoon in The New Yorker magazine (July 5, 1993, p. 61). In it, a dog is sitting at a computer saying to his dog-friend, "On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog".

Unfortunately, as many women have found out, cyberspace is not a gender-free space. One of the characteristics of computer- mediated-communication (CMC) is its lack of easy social contextualization. Kiesler at. al. have noted that CMC neutralizes such social status clues as appearance, voice, organizational hierarchy, and often gender--this of course depends on the handle used, mailing address, etc. Despite the relative anonymity of CMC, though, some women report that they are often harassed and intimidated from posting and participating on conferences or via e-mail. They often choose gender-neutral handles, and prefer to post in women-only conferences or mailing lists.

Does the relative anonymity of the electronic medium encourage emotive behavior--flaming--and sometimes abusive language? What constitutes harassment, or sexual harassment, on the net? Is it possible to generalize about behavior on the net, or do we need to consider the networking context--i.e, UseNet (its anarchy seems to encourage a fair amount of crankiness and flame-fests, which can contribute to both its charm and irritability), versus community-based free-nets, or private commercial networks?

Gladys We of Simon Fraser University conducted a research project into how men and women felt about communicating online, versus face-2-face. She sent a questionnaire to various UseNet newsgroups and an eclectic range of mailing lists. She concluded that: "On the surface, it would seem that most people feel that cyberspace tends to be friendly to women. It allows women to adopt more active personas, and to speak on a level-playing field reduced of gender cues. " Several respondents to Gladys' survey sent her anecdotes about meeting and falling in love online. But, she also heard from others who were harassed online: " one man said, 'try using a woman's handle online someday and see how many 'hello's' you get as compared to your regular handle (if you're a male, of course!)... one woman reported, 'in response to my postings he sent e-mail calling me hairly legged feminazi...and did lots of innuendos about the probable deficits in my personal life". (We)

The issue of sexual harassment on the net is controversial. Many women complain that various newsgroups and networking environments are hostile towards women. Net.sleazing and "trolling for babes" do exist on some networks. Harassment can take many forms, and it has occurred in both public forums and in private e-mail. It can be subtle, such as personal questions directed to a woman; or blatant, such as women receiving sexual propositions via e-mail.

The legal status of online harassment is murky, as case law has not been established for many situations. For instance, can the typical UseNet commentary be classified as harassment? Sexual harassment guidelines could be incorporated into general University computing policies, and, as Kramarae and Taylor suggest, could include clarification of what constitutes offensive messages and provide a grievance procedure for complaints of sexual harassment. [Kramarae, Taylor] An article in Macweek, a computer industry publication, suggested that company managers should incorporate online harassment into anti-harassment policies. [Erlich]

Education and recognition of the issues surrounding online harassment is a preventative measure we can take now. Cyberion City at MIT is a MUSE-role-playing game which educates its users by telling them: "...unwanted advances of hostile or forward nature are unacceptable...if you think someone might be interested in developing a closer personal relationship, it is your responsibility to make absolutely sure of this before saying or doing anything that would be considered inappropriate in real life...such inappropriate behavior includes, but is not limited to, suggestive remarks; violation of the other person's space; forward, intimate or suggestive conduct". [as quoted in Truong]

The idea of women-only lists and conferences has been suggested as a way to counteract harassment and monopolization of postings by men. Of course, given the relative insecurity of electronic identity, and the fact that electronic personas can be easily spoofed, such segregation is difficult to control. Several women-only conferences exist, such as WOW--Women on the Well--(there is also MOW--Men on the WELL); and Systers, a private, unmoderated, mailing list for female computer professionals in the commercial, academic, and government world, as well as female graduate and undergraduate computer science and computer engineering students. Anita Borg, the founder and moderator of Systers, has often been asked to justify the exclusion of men from her list, particularly given that the list is not limited solely to discussions of women's issues, but deals in professional and technical concerns. She stated the following points in her position paper for the "Gender Issues in Computers and Telecommunications" panel at the Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference: Since women in computer sciences are geographically dispersed and a "frequently individually isolated minority", they rarely have the chance to interact professionally with each other. The different conversational styles of men and women prohibits an egalitarian nature. An all-female forum allows for mentoring for CS women. And, "the likelihood that an underpowered minority is keeping otherwise inaccessible information from the large empowered majority...seems small indeed". [Borg]

Gender-swapping is a popular pastime on some network interactions. Amy Bruckman at MIT has been conducting research on social interactions in text-based virtual reality environments on the Internet called MUDS (multi-user domains). Female MUDders (of which there are many) report that they are often "besieged with attention", including unwanted sexual advances. As Bruckman writes, "many people, both male and female, enjoy the attention paid to female characters. Male players will often log on as female characters and behave suggestively, further encouraging sexual advances. Pavel Curtis has noted that the most promiscuous and sexually aggressive women are usually played by men. If you meet a character named Fabulous HotBabe, she is almost certainly a he in real life". [Bruckman, Curtis]

In 1985 Lindsy Van Gelder published her almost "classic" tale in Ms. magazine about the case of "Joan". Joan" was a disabled single older woman who appeared on Compuserve's "Between the Sexes" conference. She developed intimate relationships with other women, although never face-2-face. After several years, "Joan" was discovered to be a middle-aged male psychiatrist, "Alex". Such online "cross-dressing" shook up the many women and men who had "encountered" Joan throughout the years, and led many to be more suspicious and wary of computerized interactions..


The ethical uses of computers and computer networks is a contentious and unresolved area, both legally and socially. There are no universal standards of governance, and it seems unlikely and quite preposterous that such a consensus could ever be reached, given both the evolving technological infrastructure, types of various information carriers and providers, and variety of nationalistic notions of legal jurisprudence.

Sexual imagery and pornographic content on the nets is one of these debatable arenas. How, exactly, does one define computer pornography and "offensive" material on networks? In this last year alone many debates have surfaced within various universities in North America and internationally as to whether or not it is appropriate to censor the hierarchy within UseNet. Where can one draw the line between freedom of speech and mere censorship? Are there any links between computer pornography, sexual harassment, and sexual violence? Are such "questionable" UseNet newsgroups a "proper" use of University computing facilities? Should community networks provide an "on-ramp" to these newsgroups? Should minors be allowed access to these newsgroups; or, put another way, how can you not prevent minors from accessing these newsgroups? Should academic institutions, or community networks "police" UseNet bulletin board postings and newsgroups based on content, such as sexual explicitness (which could be in perceived violation of the law) without consulting the user community? What kinds of mechanisms should be instituted, if at all, to judge the acceptability of the contents of certain newsgroups? What legal rights regarding free speech and privacy should network users be entitled to?

Use of Networks By Women

Despite some of the hazards and irritation that some women have encountered online, access to networking has also encouraged a wealth of surprising uses for women. I think it's important to highlight some of the more positive benefits of computer networking for women, because it seems that any media coverage of networking tends to zoom in on the more salacious and sensationalistic aspects.

Networking has been increasingly recognized by female scholars as being a tool for feminist empowerment, and many women have taken to the net to create, as Ebben and Kramarae call it, "a cyberspace of our own". There are now many UseNet newsgroups and lists that cater to the research needs of women scholars, from MEFEM, a list for female medievalists; to WISENET, a list for women in science and engineering; to the South Asian Women's List; to WMST-L, the Women's Studies List. [see Appendix for list of resources]

Several grassroots networking projects have also benefited women. Big Sky Telegraph, a computerized BBS system in Montana, has been used to connect together the geographically dispersed directors of the various Montana Women's Centers. BST has also been used to provide computer training to homebound women. [Odasz]

Mexican women's groups--through the Institute for Global Communications (IGC) networks--have found that networking has facilitated their work in fighting NAFTA. For instance, Mujer a Mujer/Woman to Woman, based in Mexico City, has found networking to be indispensable in coordinating the Tri-National Working Women's Conference on NAFTA, the reports of which were posted online for the entire community to read. [Frederick]

One of the biggest challenges is widening access to the net for women that aren't institutionally affiliated, whether in industry or academia, where they purportedly have "ready" access to both the hardware and software, and technical expertise, to successfully learn how to navigate the net.

Ellen Balka of Memorial University at Newfoundland has written that "perhaps the greatest issue faced by the women's movement with respect to the adoption of computer networking technology is access...access to communication constraints imposed by the infrastructure of data lines and value-added carriers...access to the location of networks and terminals: whether they are located in a public place and available for use free of charge as Community Memory terminals were, or whether they are located in a private home or office...and access to the knowledge and related support mechanisms that will allow a novice user to successfully contact a computer network". [Balka]

As well, it is important to develop resources and tools that address the needs of various women. WON--the Women's Online Network that is an off-shoot of ECHO, is an online advocacy and action group for women. It is currently being revamped, and will be sponsored by a variety of U.S. women's groups, including Ms. , WAC, WHAM!, and WAA. It is certainly not inconceivable that the same sort of collaboration could be fostered across Canada amongst various women's groups using community networks as the anchor.

Community networks are well situated to increase the participation and use of networks by women. It is difficult to speak in generalities about how to do this, since such recruitment tends to be community-specific. Vancouver's Free-Net, for instance, has established a "Task Force for Equal Access", whose role will be to approach community organizations that don't have ready access to computers and help them get the computers and training to get online. As well, the committee will try to get donations of computers for placement in various community centres, such as senior citizens centres, women's centres, etc.

A mentoring program, such as that set up by Stacey Horn of ECHO, where volunteers help women get online is also a good strategy. Perhaps "aggressiveness training" could become one of the components here. Online navigating-the-net programs can encourage people to explore the wider world of the Internet. Developing programs and services for children is also necessary-- and a mentor program designed for young girls might, in particular, encourage more of them to enter the CS field. It is not unimaginable, for instance, to envision kids newsgroups, such as kids.ninjas; kids.dinosaurs, kids.yucky-parents, kids.knock-knock-jokes, and kids.barbie.hollywood-hair.

This forthcoming November, CRIAW (the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women) will publish a handbook written by Ellen Balka on community networking for women. Chapters will be devoted to networking history, women's use of nets, access issues, design, and organizational needs.

In a recent article in Technology Review, Langdon Winner quotes Richard Civille, director of the Washington office of the Center for Civic Networking. Civille suggests "earmarking 1 percent of the $350-million a year that President Clinton wants to spend on community development banks for building civic networks. The Census Bureau could survey the nation's computer owners to see how they use online services. Some fraction of the federal budget for an information infrastructure could go to study information equity--just as the Human Genome Project sets aside 5% of its appropriation to explore ethical issues". [Winner]

A similar strategy could apply to CANARIE, the Canadian Network for the Advancement of Research, Industry, and Education, given the government's recent commitment to invest $26-million for the first phase of the project. With the increasingly swift commercialization of the Internet (a recent news blurb reported that more than 54 Internet trademarks were pending at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office--see The Internet Letter) it is vital that information equity be a paramount policy consideration, and it seems that community networks will be one of the venues for fostering this.


As Gladys We and I wrote, "the new electronic frontier is unfortunately still a very masculine dominated space, one in which many women may feel uncomfortable at the best of times. Ensuring equitable gender access to the Internet should be a prerogative of this information age. This means that we must pay close attention to the metaphors that people will use and see in this new world, so that they won't exclude women, or include them in undesirable ways. It means making the Internet easily accessible to all people; making networking an attractive communications tool for women, by creating tangible and viable information and resources; and by encouraging young girls and women to become involved in the development and deployment of the technology. It also means creating a friendly online environment, one that allows women to speak their thoughts without having to hide their gender. The world of cyberspace is one which is being shaped daily by the millions of interactions on it, and women can contribute much to these exchanges." [Shade, We].


[Arlen] Arlen, Gary (1991). "SeniorNet Services: toward a new electronic environment for seniors". Report of a conference held by The Aspen Institute's Communications and Society Program in Queenstown. MD, April 8-10, 1991.

[Balka] Balka, Ellen. (1993, February). "Women's access to on-line discussions about feminism". Electronic Journal of Communications/La revue electronique de communication v.3, n.1. {to retrieve file send command: send balka v3n193 to comserve@rpitsvm.bitnet (bitnet) or (Internet)

[Borg] Borg, Anita. (1993). "The rationale for a closed electronic forum". Position paper for "Gender Issues in Computers and Telecommunications" panel delivered to Third Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, Burlingame, CA, March 1993.

[Bruckman] Bruckman, Amy. (1993). "Gender swapping on the Internet". [available via anonymous FTP from in pub/MediaMOO/Papers:gender swapping.{ps,rtf,Bin}]

[Cadigan] Cadigan, Pat. (1991). Synners . N.Y.: Bantam Books.

[Cottrell] Cottrell, Janet.( 1992). "I'm a Stranger here Myself: A consideration of women in computing." In Learning From the Past, Stepping into the Future, the Proceedings of the 1992 ACM SIGUCCS User Services Conference, November 8-11,1992, Cleveland, OH. New York: The Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 71-76.

[Curtis] [Curtis, Pavel. (1992). "MUDding: social phenomena in text-based virtual realities". Proceedings of DIAC 92. [Available via anonymous FTP from in pub/MOO/papers/DIAC92 {ps,txt}].

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[Herring] Herring, Susan C. (1993). "Gender and democracy in computer-mediated communication". Electronic Journal of Communication, v.3, n.2.

[Internet Letter ] "Companies rush to secure Internet trademarks". (1993, October). The Internet Letter, v.1, n.1. {A Net Week Inc. publication}

[Kiesler,] Kiesler, Sara; Siegel, J.; McGuire, T.W. (1984). "Social psychological aspects of computer-mediated communication". American Psychologist v.39: 1123-1134; also in Computerization and Controversy: value conflicts and social choices, ed. Charles Dunlop and Rob Kling. Academic Press, 1991: 330-349.

[Kramarae, Taylor] Kramarae, Cheris; H. Jeanie Taylor. (1993). "Women and men on electronic networks: a conversation or a monologue?", p. 52-61 in Women, Information Technology, & Scholarship. Urbana, Illinois: Center for Advanced Study, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

[Langberg] Langberg, Mike. (1993, May 25). "Sega plans first video-game rating system". San Jose Mercury News.

[Michel] Michel, Kathleen. (1992). "Gender differences in computer-mediated conversations". [available via KIDLINK]

[Odasz] Odasz, Frank. (1991, Summer). "Big Sky Telegraph", _Whole Earth Review_: 32-35.

[Spertus] Spertus, Ellen. "Why are There so Few Female Computer Scientists?" Artificial Intelligence Laboratory at MIT, 1991. [available via anonymous FTP from in pub/ellens/mget womcs*.ps]

[Shade, We] Shade, Leslie Regan; Gladys We. (1993). "Gender issues and networking" Forthcoming in The Internet Business Journal.

[Stephenson] Stephenson, Neal. (1992). Snow Crash. N.Y.: Bantam Books.

[Sterling] Sterling, Bruce. (1988). Islands in the Net. N.Y.: Ace Books.

[Tannen] Tannen, Deborah. (1990). You Just Don't Understand. N.Y.:Ballantine.

[Truong] Truong, Hoai-An. (1993, March). "Gender Issues in Online Communication". Paper Presented at Third Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy, Burlingame, CA, March 1993. [In conjunction with BAWIT-Bay Area Women in Telecommunications] [Available via ftp to CD: Gender]

[U.S.A. Today] U.S.A. Today (1993, August 6). "High Tech Harassment": B1.

[Van Gelder] Van Gelder, Lindsy. (1991). "The strange case of the electronic lover", in Computerization and Controversy: value conflicts and social choices, ed. Charles Dunlop and Rob Kling. Academic Press: 364-375.

[We] We, Gladys. (1993) "Cross-gender communication in cyberspace". Unpublished ms., Simon Fraser University. [avail..]

[Winner] Winner, Langdon. (1993, August/September). "Beyond Inter-Passive Media". Technology Review : 69.

Appendix: Conferences and Lists

moderated list for women only. Its purpose is to provide a safe space primarily for bisexual women. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@BROWNVM (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU (Internet).
East Coast Hang Out. Subscription requests: HORN@ECHONYC.COM
Moderated list for issues of technology and education that are of interest to women. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@BITNIC (Bitnet), or LISTSERV@BITNIC.EDUCOM.EDU (Internet).
For feminists around the world. Open to both men and women. Subscription requests to: FEMAILREQUEST@LUCERNE.ENG.SUN.COM (Internet).
List for feminist economists. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@BUCKNELL.EDU (Internet).
Digest form of soc.feminism available via email. Subscription requests: FEMINISM-DIGEST@NCAR.UCAR.EDU (Internet) or FEMINISM-DIGEST%NCAR.UCAR.EDU@NCARIO (Bitnet).

FEMINIST, owned by the Feminist Task Force of the American Library Association
Issues including sexism in libraries and librarianship; pornography and censorship in libraries, and racism and ethnic diversity in librarianship. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@MITVMA (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@MITVMA.MIT.EDU (Internet).

Discussion list re: feminism, gender, women and international relations. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@CSF.COLORADO.EDU (Internet).
Women and religion and feminist theology. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@MIZZOU1 (Bitnet).
FIST (Feminism in/and Science and Technology)
Unmoderated list for discussion of feminism and science and technology. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@DAWN.HAMPSHIRE.EDU (Internet).
list focusing on gay and lesbian concerns on college campuses. Subscription messages should be sent to GAYNET-REQUEST@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Internet).
Moderated list devoted to issues re: gender and communication. Subscription requests to: COMSERVE@RPITSVM (Bitnet) or COMSERVE@VM.ITS.RPI.EDU (Internet).
Discussion of sexuality and gender in geography, Subscription requests: LISTSERV@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Internet) or LISTERV@UKCC.
"read-only depository of information for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, and sympathetic persons." Subscription requests: LISTSERV@BROWNVM (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU (Internet).
Gender issues in geography. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@UKCC.UKY.EDU (Internet) or LISTSERV@UKCC.
List for Malaysian women in the U.S. and Canada. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@PSUVM (Bitnet).
Moderated list for halachic questions and issues concerning women's roles in Judaism. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@ISRAEL.NYSERNET.ORG (Internet).
Lesbians in Science and is a list for lesbians in industry, universities, government labs, etc. Subscription requests: ZITA@JUNO.PHYSICS.WISC.EDU; send postings to LIS@JUNO.PHYSICS.WISC.EDU.
forum for discussion of men's issues. Subscription requests: MAIL-MEN-REQUEST@USL.COM (Internet).
List for feminist medievalists. Subscription requests to:LISTSERV@INDYCMS (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@INDYCMS.IUPUI.EDU (Internet).
The National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals. Subscription requests to NOGLSTP-REQUEST@ELROY.JPL.NASA.GOV.
for both men and women. Subscription requests: JYANOWITZ@HAMP.HAMPSHIRE.EDU (Internet).
forum and support group for gay and bisexual women. Membership is open to all women and is limited to women. Subscription requests: contact SAPPHO-REQUEST@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU (Internet).
SASH (Sociologists Against Sexual Harassment)
Moderated list focusing on sexual harassment. Subscription requests: Phoebe M. Stambaugh, AZPXS@ASUACAD (Bitnet) or AZPXS@ASUVM.INRE.ASU.EDU(Internet).
Discussion group for women from the south asian countries re concerns of south asian women. Women only. Subscription requests: USUBRAMA@MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU or to SUSANC@HELIX.NIH.GOV
List for professional researchers, clinicians, educators, and students in the field of sexuality. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@TAMVM1 (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU (Internet).
Sexual assault activist list. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@BROWNVM (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU (Internet).
Society for Women in Philosophy. Subscription requests:LISTSERV@CFRVM (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@CFRVM.CFR.USF.EDU (Internet).
For professional women only in computer science. Subscription requests: Anita Borg at Please put "addsyster" in the subject field of the message.
WIML-L (Women's Issues in Music Librarianship)
Subscription requests: Laura Gayle Green, LGREEN@IUBVM (Bitnet).
Moderated list for issues of concern to women in physics. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@NYSERNET.ORG (Internet).
Women;s Information Retrieval and Exchange Nancy Rhine ( Forthcoming: "a new online communication service offering fast- breaking news stories and lively conversations on the issues impacting women's lives today. Includes databases on topics such as health information, referral services,women's colleges/studies, financial tips. and professional and political women's organizations."
List for women in science, mathematics,and engineering. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@UICVM (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@UICVM.UIC.EDU (Internet).
Women's Health Electronic News Line, started by the Center for Women's Health Research. Subscription requests: LISTSERV@UWAVM (Bitnet) or LISTSERV@UWAVM.U.WASHINGTON.EDU (Internet).
Forum for women's studies academics. Subscription requests:WMST-L@UMDD.UMD.EDU (Internet), or LISTSERV@UMDD.
general purpose list for women and women's groups. Subscription request: WOMEN-REQUEST@ATHENA.MIT.EDU (Internet)
WON, the Women's Online Network
Electronic political group for women.whose aim is to distribute information and aid in political action. Subscription request and info: contact the co-founders at CARMELA@ECHONYC.COM or HORN@ECHONYC.COM (Internet); phone: (212) 255-3839.
WOW, Women on the Well
Women-only. Subscription requests: vice: 415-332-4335

Copyright 1993 by Leslie Regan Shade. The paper is publically licensed so that it may be copied for further distribution, provided that it is copied and distributed in its entirety, including this title page.

Contributors : Leslie Regan Shade
Last modified 2005-02-11 11:30 PM

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