Thursday, July 13, 2006

This follows similar findings on medicine, car repair and police work

In the first study to look at self-assessed Internet competence and its relationship to actual online ability, women and men are found to have equal skills. Yet women rank their skills significantly lower than men do. The findings from Northwestern University are consistent with research on math and science ability and may have serious implications for women. “By underestimating their ability to effectively use the Web, women may be limiting the extent of their online behavior, the ways in which they use the Internet and, ultimately, the career choices they make,” said Eszter Hargittai, the assistant professor of communication studies at Northwestern and co-author, with Princeton University researcher Steven Shafer, of the article titled “Differences in Actual and Perceived Online Skills: The Role of Gender.” “Not a single woman among all our female study subjects called herself an “expert” user, while not a single male ranked himself as a complete novice or ‘not at all skilled.’”

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