How well does technology assessment (TA) relate to women's lives? If women are underrepresented in the long-term research and development process that leads to scientific advancements, how can TA understand technology aimed at women? It can't, claims the author of Technology Assessment: A Feminist Perspective.
A relative new field, TA examines the social aspect of technology and provides information critical to decision making, policy development, safety standards, and avoiding litigation. Until gender analysis is introduced into all assessments of new technologies, Janine Marie Morgall argues, TA can't evaluate technology's impact upon women.
Morgall investigates two areas of technology that affect women's lives: productive (clerical work) and reproductive (health care). Case studies of clerical workers and health care recipients illustrate gender-specify effects of technology ranging from word processors to treatments for infertility. These studies convincingly demonstrate that TA encourages innovations without questioning their effects on women. Issues of dominance, control, and conflicting values emerge from Morgall's feminist perspective and support her call for gender analysis of new technologies.
In the series Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni.