Feminism S&F Online Scholar and Feminist Online, published by the Barnard Center for Research on Women
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Volume 5, Number 2, Spring 2007 Gwendolyn Beetham and Jessica Valenti, Guest Editors
Blogging Feminism:
(Web)Sites of Resistance
About this Issue
About the Contributors

Issue 5.2 Homepage

·My Story
·Gender Differences in Technology Use
·The Road Ahead

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Access to Technology:
Race, Gender, Class Bias

Shireen Mitchell


The term "digital divide" was coined in a report published by the Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in 1999.[1] The report documented the barriers to low-income families' access to technology, including the inability to afford computers and monthly fees for Internet access. An earlier NTIA report, released in 1995, indicated disparities in rural America. The 1999 report included disparities in technology use, based on ethnicity and income, using US Census data and a questionnaire about technology usage. All data indicated that the gap was wide and getting wider each year, but the report did not differentiate which communities were most affected. Were senior citizens, single mothers, and indigenous people, for example, less likely to have access to the Internet? With the US economy becoming increasingly knowledge based, access to information and communication technologies (ICT) has become about a matter of economic opportunity.

More recently, two NTIA reports stated that the digital divide was no longer a reality and that broadband access had increased dramatically.[2] As a result of this rise, approximately 385,000 families generate some part of their income from eBay, contributing to their economic security in a new and promising way. So is the divide really closed?

Tools 5.2 Online Resources Recommended Reading S&F Online in the Classroom
S&F Online - Issue 5.2 - Blogging Feminism: (Web)Sites of Resistance - ©2007