In Malaysia, computers are unmasculine.

Ruth Schechter (Clayman Institute) writes:

The answer [to the cause of the gender gap in technology] may lie in Malaysia, where women make up between 50 and 60 percent of the computer industry’s employees and many hold mid- and upper-level management positions. The country’s burgeoning technology industry has brought about dramatic changes to women’s roles in society, changing traditional perceptions of class, ethnicity and gender.


The author of “Masculinity, Power and Technology: A Malaysian Ethnography,” Mellstrom has been conducting a long-term survey of female students in preparation for a new book on Malaysian women in the computer industry. In contrast to the U.S., in Malaysia jobs in technology are seen as appropriate for women: Men do not perceive indoor work as masculine and much of society stigmatizes women who work outdoors as lower class. Computing and programming are seen as “women-friendly” professions, with opportunities opening up since men are not interested in competing for these types of jobs. “It’s a woman’s world in that respect,” said Mellstrom.

Link: Malaysian women redefine gender roles in technology

(Via geekfeminism Delicious tag)

3 Responses to “In Malaysia, computers are unmasculine.”

  1. Jha Says:

    I just came back to Canada from Malaysia (which is home to me), and I never heard this at all. In fact, this seems more like a case of forcing gendered assumptions on another culture. Computers simply are not gendered like that in Malaysia, nor is most technology. In fact, IT doesn’t have that same dudebro culture in Malaysia that it has in the US. No one tells a girl, “IT is for boys, why don’t you study something else”. (At least, not in Chinese-specific companies to my knowledge.)

    Also, what is their definition of “outdoor work”? Many middle-class families hire maids, which is not exactly “outdoor work”, but being a domestic worker is definitely considered lower-class.

  2. Restructure! Says:

    Okay, I changed the title to make a weaker claim. I wish that the study was done by a native Malaysian instead of some Swedish guy.

  3. Neo 尼奥 Says:

    ouh,the study was made by a swedish guy?? lol..i wonder how many samples did he took before he made this up?
    Never really thought occupation related to gender before,but it’s a good topic to think about..
    But as a Malaysian,i don’t think we have that kind of culture in here.It doesn’t matter you are a woman or a guy,as long as the job fit your qualification or you are suit for the job,then it’s settled~
    i really need a definition on ‘outdoor work’ in Malaysia.

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