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Gender and the Internet: Causes of Variation in Access, Level, and Scope of Use

Authors


  • *The authors will share coding procedures for purposes of replication.

Ira M. Wasserman, Department of Sociology, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 〈Ira_Wasserman@Hotmail.Com〉.

Abstract

Objective. The article examines differences in the use of the Internet by gender, with a consideration of access to the web, use of communication facilities related to email and chat rooms, frequency of use, and types of websites used. The study considers the impact of socioeconomic status and social, geographic, racial, and ethnic variables for explaining variations in the use of the web by men and women, and how these factors are mediated by knowledge of how to use the web.

Methods. The study employs data collected by the General Social Survey (GSS) in 2000, and relates access, communication levels, frequency of use, and types of sites used to gender and other relevant variables. The relevant variables are analyzed by multivariate analysis.

Results. Access to the web was independent of gender, but was related to education, race, income, age, and marital status. Women were less likely than men to chat on the web, but were slightly more likely to use email, and they utilized different types of sites than men.

Conclusions. Women access the web as frequently as men, but they communicate on the Internet differently than men, are online less than men, and utilize different types of websites than men. Knowledge related to web use is an important independent variable that influences Internet use by men and women.

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