11 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
  2. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. An irony of our focus on workplace writing is that it comes at a time when the "workplace" itself is disappearing. To define technical writing by placing it strictly within the workplace denies the historical contributions of women, but in doing so it also denies a larger past—and future—where the household is a primary location for the economically productive activities of women and men. According to Shoshana Zuboff, "home and workshop continued to be the prin­cipal centers of production as late as 1850" (227); with the increase in computer technologies, the prevalence of two-income households, and the rise of an information economy, the separation of home space and work space blurs, and as Joan Greenbaum asserts, "the office of the future may be the home" (117). Many people (myself included) spend many of their productive hours working in a home office, connected to clients and coworkers by computer networks, fax, and phone.

      This concludes the workplace's significance to women in modern and past life. It explains that is mandatory to reflect on the past to establish the significance of women's technical work, for most earlier days home and workplace were principal centers of production.In addition it raises lieu to the dynamics of the future home office where it makes business and child rearing more easily accessible and useful for both men and women considering technical work and technical business.

    2. I believe there are significant instances of technical writing and the use of technical documentation that occur within the household. Many of the tech­nologies produced by industry are targeted for home use; the associated doc­umentation is used primarily within the household (by women and by men). Examples include instructions for computer hardware and software, but also those for vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, blenders, and even coffee mills (note that Dobrin finds instructions for the coffee mill worthy of analysis; see "Do Not Grind"). Further examples of other types of technical communica­tion that enter and are "consumed" within the household include credit card agreements, billing statements, and tax and insurance forms and documents. Daily life is not devoid of instances in which individuals might produce arti­facts we would find worthy of study if they had originated within the "work­place" : there are any number of situations in which private individuals must interact by text with organizations. Surely correspondence challenging billing errors or notifying insurance carriers of changes to personal information are as "significant" as intercompany correspondence and job postings.

      This raises significance in technical works and technical documentations that are used through the household. Some include billing statements, instruction manuals, card statements, and tax and insurance forms, and more. Although these are private matters these are still significant importance.Many of us depend heavily on such matters, and today these are still very much useful in many systems including medical, judicial, and economic activity. However since this is a woman's historical work it is seemed as insignificant and unprofound.

    3. Historical studies find women are excluded from technology as a consequence of the gender division of labor (see Rothschild, Cockburn, and Wajcman). Men remain predominantly the makers, repairers, designers, and users of what we typically consider technology. Wajcman observes that "tech­nical competence is central to the dominant cultural ideal of masculinity and its absence a key feature of stereotyped femininity" (159) and that "the work of women is often deemed inferior simply because it is women who do it" (37). Hence the remarks of anthropologist George Murdock:

      Gives major reasons as to why women are excluded from technology including the gender division of labor, defining technical competence as male oriented, gender prejudices and stereotypes of women, and historical barriers that still exist in gender including behaviors, roles, and duties. Where men are the masters and behind the operations with the "knowledge", women are subjects of use, seen as the "Know-How". In addition it gives the perspective that competence is a male dominance subject. Competence is not related to skillful use, although it takes much competence to do much skill related work. It shows that women and women's work is devalued and under-appreciated.

    4. The industrial revolution brought with it not only great technological innovation, but increasing differentiation between appropriate work roles for men and for women (see Kerber; Oakley). "One of the most profound effects of industrialization was, and is, the separation of 'work places' from 'home places' —and the attendant designation of the former as the 'place' for men and the latter as the 'domain' of women," asserts Cowan (More 18). During the rise of industrial society and capitalism, "the modern concept of work, as the expenditure of energy for financial gain" (Oakley 4) came to further dis­tinguish the stereotyped expectations of productive activity done by men and women.

      Gives historical evolutions of men and women's experiences through the work and the workplace. Moving toward the industrial revolution goals and duties of gender gradually started changing but women and men's main objective was financial gain, and that meant workplaces for women outside the usual household. For men work was still considered a "place" but for women there was much production that took place within the household, labeling it the "domain". Furthermore it delegated appropriate work roles for men and women in addition to establishing sexual division labor to society during the time.

    5. Judy Wajcman, like Stanley, observes that "we tend to think about tech­nology in terms of industrial machinery and cars .. . ignoring other technolo­gies that affect most aspects of everyday life" (137). Ruth Schwartz Cowan notes in More Work for Mother, her history of household technology, that we "do not ordinarily associate 'tools' with 'women's w ork'—but household tools there nonetheless are and always have been" (9). Stoves and spinning wheels are two such examples; the sewing machine is one such tool used in the household and in industry.

      This statement supports the claim of how the perspective of women's contributions has had insignificance even though their contributions have been all and useful in everyday households, work, and workplaces. It also suggests the normal perspective of the word "technology" seeing it as male suited are. Through this perspective it downplays women and their historical contributions in technical communications and dominance. Although the contributions may be quite different that does not make them insignificant.

    6. Overcoming the assumption of agency first involves identifying women who have contributed significantly to science, technology, and medicine, then fit­ting their written works into our history: "gathering] evidence about women to demonstrate their essential likeness as historical subjects to men . . . [and] attem pting] to fit a new subject—w om en—into received historical cate­gories" (Scott 18-19). The main difficulty facing the historian is the apparent lack of women's contribution to these fields. From the dawn of humanity, women, like men, have undoubtedly sought means for improving their work processes, yet we rarely conceive of women as technological innovators. Why is this the case?

      To challenge assumptions for why their are exclusions of women and women's work one must give notification of women's identity, their works, and raise awareness of how their woks have fit into history. Most of the time there has been female contributions in technical works, and those names go unmentioned. To undo this formality we must give credit where it is due, and raise awareness to the trivia and issues.

      This statement also acts to question why women's achievements to technical communication/writing have been far shunned.

    7. As Joan Wallach Scott (Gender) and Autumn Stanley (Mothers and "Women") each point out, history in general, and the history of technology in particular have tended to omit the activities of women in part by locating significance primarily in public and political activities and innovations, the very "realm[s] of social, political, and economic interaction" of such great int

      This statement makes claims that throughout history it has been mans objective to keep women inferior by excluding them from political and public matters. Some examples include right to vote, right to own property, equal pay, and overall social opportunities. Such public matters are considered to be of extreme importance, some of which we've fought for through civil rights movements.This is very important to note because it shows a historical background where men have opted women out, and the tradition is to follow for our present and future.

    8. Including women and women's work in a history of technical writing requires that we contest two assumptions that lead to their exclusion from our disciplinary story: First, (the assumption of agency) that women are not sig­nificant originators of technical, scientific, or medical achievement; and sec­ond, (the assumption of technological significance) that women's tools are not sufficiently technical, nor their work sufficiently important, to warrant study of their supporting texts

      This statement gives two assumptions to why women and womens work could be excluded. There is (1) Agency and (2) Products that the author takes into consideration. However significance within the two subjects relies heavily resulting in ways that men dominate in the public realms rather than the private realms. It also gives the perspective that women are inferior in the technical world and are not seen as significant agents and also suggests that women can not produce significant products within technical works.

    9. The problem with regard to adding women to our disciplinary history lies in the assumption that technology, work, and workplace are gender-neutral terms, and that addressing gender and the history of technical communica­tion is a simple matter of searching the annals of science and industry and tacking on articles about a few women who have distinguished themselves in scientific, medical, and technical fields. But as the work of feminist historians and scholars demonstrate, such terms represent contested ground, and such a simplistic view may be inadequate to fully address the elusive —and, as I suspect, frequently unintentional—biases that both define our past and gov­ern our future.

      This statement raises lieu to the idea of the problem. The problem of women's contributions being overlooked can not just be easily answered by numbers. The issue has to not just be studied but assessed and analyzed. Due to historical cultural and gender barriers between women and men issues have to be further examined through certain lenses to reflect and conclude.

    10. Yet another possible reason why the history of technical communication is so barren of women is that (as feminist scholars have noted about histories of technology) "the absence of a female perspective . . . was a function of the his­torians who wrote them and not of historical reality" (Cowan, "From Virginia Dare" 248).

      This claim gives another reason as to why women's contributions may have been shadowed or overlooked in technical and scientific work. Historians functioned to hide the female perspective due to male dominance. Even when there is female technical contributions of significance of the recognition will go unnoticed. But this was not at all historical reality where women did have great dominance in many writings and still to continue.

    11. One possibility is that women have con­tributed only very rarely to technical and scientific work (and, consequently, to technical and scientific communication). Indeed, Elizabeth Wayland Barber suggests that women's contributions to technological innovation have been hampered by their own productive (and reproductive) responsibilities:

      This claim gives one possibility into why women's contributions to technical and scientific work may have been blinded or overlooked. Women's primary role and duties as mother and household have not changed much from earlier days to today. However there are dynamics that exist amid in today's society, through this claim is still a primary reason for the absence of women's contributions.