Gender approaches in the study of the digital economy: a systematic literature review

Research methodology This paper aims to answer the question of how the relationship between gender and the digital economy has been studied over time by undertaking a systematic literature review

Mónica Grau-Sarabia; Mayo Fuster-Morell

2021

Scholarcy highlights

  • Around 25 years have passed since digital technologies began to develop and pervade almost every aspect of sociopolitical and economic life, giving rise to what is known as the ‘Network Society’ and transforming most sectors of economic activity and the economy as a whole
  • Research methodology This paper aims to answer the question of how the relationship between gender and the digital economy has been studied over time by undertaking a systematic literature review
  • Based on an SLR, the analysis shows that gender analysis on the digital economy has been limited and unsystematized, and needs to be expanded and explored in greater depth, while a dialogue about it needs to be started to create coherence
  • The research was limited, three main approaches are have been identified in the study of the interplay of gender and the digital economy: the ‘feminist theory of technology and information and communication technologies’ approach; the ‘feminist political economy’ approach; and the ‘mainstream economic analysis and women’s participation and labour in the digital economy’ approach
  • Each has its strengths and limitations and addresses elements related to gender and the digital economy, but overall the study highlights the lack of a direct feminist gender critique of the digital economy
  • The wide range of issues and how they are approached is proven by the diversity of issues addressed: the gender embedment of digital technology; the women’s rights agenda: advocacy, political activism and empowerment initiatives; gender-based violence and sexual harassment in the digital economy; new forms of value creation—commodification of care, domestic and leisure activities; economic epistemology and dichotomy of work; the sexual division of labour: public vs. private, productive vs. reproductive; women’s access to and use of the digital economy; and time and space flexibility in work
  • Other gender issues were found among the works, such as intimacy and sexuality in the digital economy; privacy, data and surveillance; and free and open source software movements and gender, but these were not mentioned as they are less present

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