Despite many claims that the internet will lead to Utopia - to equality and democracy for us all, for many people in society this hasn't been born out by reality. Women's access to computers and the Net may have increased dramatically over the last five years but due to many factors the internet is still predominantly a male domain.
According to some the internet gives us the opportunity to completely restructure the world and the way people relate to each other. 'The Net offers us a chance to take charge of our own lives and to redefine our role as citizens of local communities and of a global society. It also hands us the responsibility to govern ourselves, to think for ourselves, to educate our children, to do business honestly, and to work with fellow citizens to design rules we want to live by' (Dyson, page 2)
Margie Wylie, the editor of Digital Media, has a much less optimistic view, she claims that, 'far from offering a millennial new world of democracy and equal opportunity, the coming web of information systems could turn the clock back 50 years for women (Wylie, page 3).
What Wylie takes into account, which Dyson seems to overlook, is the existing social framework, into which these new technologies are being introduced (Miller et al).
'Contrary to the fond delusions of many net utopians, information exchange on the Net does not automatically obliterate hierarchies through free exchange of information across boundaries. Also, the Net is not a utopia of nongender, it is not a free space ready for colonization without regard to bodies, sex, age, economics, social class, or race....today's Internet is a contested zone historically originated as a system to serve war technologies, and is currently part of masculinist institutions. Any new possibilities imagined...