Communication follows specific patterns which originate from social structures. These rules and patterns also apply to the field of technology and engineering. In traditionally male-dominated fields the risk of communicating stereotypes or under-representing women tends to be high. Images and texts as means of communication deliver more messages – conscious and unconscious – than one supposes.
To carry out gender screening we apply “content analysis” which is method of data collection to reveal the background of social situations by analysing a given content (e.g. texts, images, films, …) and drawing a conclusion about the context of its origins as wells as the sender’s intention, effect on the receiver and/or social situation. Applying this method with a focus on gender awareness, gender screenings provide a gender sensitive and target-group-oriented analysis of means of communication.
Visual communication is a powerful means of communication as it has the ability to arouse interest and enthusiasm. Images influence our notions of reality and they deliver simple messages which can be linked to a text. It is essential to work out which topics are related to which persons in an image and consequently what gender images are generated. Text analyses on the other hand check the consistent use of gender inclusive language. It is also examined in which parts gender inclusive language appears and whether “gender” is brought up as a topic on its own.
Gender screening was applied in several projects in the field of technology and engineering and gave support for making public presentations approachable, comprehensible and gender inclusive.
- University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna
Gender screenings of folders that provide information about master programmes at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences were conducted. Analysis of the texts and pictures of each folder were carried out and set in relation to each other and evaluated. A guideline for gender sensible and user-friendly editing of the websites concludes the report.
- University of Applied Sciences Joanneum, Kapfenberg
Several web based study folders formed part of the gender screening project. Evaluating the analysis offered recommendations to the project partner for improving their presentation to become more target-group-friendly and gender sensitive.
 Atteslander, Peter (2003): Methoden der empirischen Sozialforschung, de Gruyter Verlag, Berlin, p.225; translated by author