Conference report for The Scholar and The Feminist X, 1983, page 1

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          Barnard College
Columbia University

606 West 120th Street
New York, New York 10027

The Women’s Center

CONFERENCE REPORT
THE SCHOLAR AND THE FEMINIST X:

THE QUESTION OF TECHNOLOGY

This year's tenth annual Scholar and Feminist conference, sponsored
by the Barnard College Women's Center, was held on Saturday, April
23, 1983. The conference was attended by about 400 people and
included not only the usual representation of feminist scholars

and activists, but in addition, scientists, business people and
labor organizers. Although delighted by the additional diversity,
we were somewhat concerned that there were fewer minority women

at this conference than some other conferences in the past.

This year's theme, the question of technology, was proposed by the
academic coordinator in her invitation to the feminist community
inside and outside Barnard to join the planning comittee. This
final committee was predominantly composed of Barnard faculty,
administration and staff people with the addition of a few New York
area feminists working in the field of technology. The difficulty
of addressing the issue of technology must be emphasized. Many
would assume this a safe and easy, even 'technical' topic, until
they begin to grapple with it. As we discovered in our pre-conference
planning meetings, the question of technology raises emotional as
well as academic and strategic questions.

The committee began by trying to examine technology as a social
process and product. We tried to understand the specific relation

of women to the new technology, as producers and users of new
technology. We tried to assess the impact of new technology on the
way day—to-day life is conducted - its impact on housework, market
work, free time, social space and entertainment as well as more

global issues of pollution and labor exploitation. We debated

how to understand the gendered nature of technology. We realized
technological change is already part of our lives, but tried to

find some empowering strategy toward what many see as a 'fait accompli'.
The more we read and discussed, the more we realized that the feminist
movement itself has not confronted its ambivalance about the questions
raised by technological change, even as we realize that it is one

of the most important questions women face. It covers all aspects of
our lives and shapes our futures. Thematically, this conference, as
many before, was on the "cutting edge..."

BARNARD