Feminism and New Technology

A look at some feminist debates on the impacts of new technology on women.

This work critically examines contemporary feminist debates on new technology. It presents the arguments of feminists who believe that new technology will liberate women and the arguments of feminists who believe in the antithesis of this , that new technology is oppressive to women. It looks at how the arguments of the latter stem from the belief that technology is developed in a society, which is inherently patriarchal. It includes topics such as an introduction new technology, women and paid work, women and housework technology and women and unwanted pregnancy.
“One problem with the approach of liberal feminists is they fail to address difference in women. Women do not constitute one homogenous group who have the same choices available to them. For example Hamner (1985: 95) notes that the Warnock Report associated with the government looked for ways of controlling access to certain reproductive technologies. It recommended that artificial insemination should be made available only to heterosexual couples in stable relationship, not to single women or lesbians. Thus women’s choices are in reality highly dependent on different factors such as their age, sexuality, and race. Moreover Firestone’s account is arguably a limited one as she attributes women’s oppression solely to their reproduction and biology therefore ectogenesis would liberate women. In reality woman’s oppression is a result of multiple factors and removing the reproductive functions of women would not mean that they would stop being the subordinate group in society, it may take more than this to overthrow patriarchy which is deeply embedded.”