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


  • Ira M. Wasserman
  • Marie Richmond‐Abbott


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Ira M. Wasserman & Marie Richmond‐Abbott, 2005. "Gender and the Internet: Causes of Variation in Access, Level, and Scope of Use," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 86(1), pages 252-270, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:socsci:v:86:y:2005:i:1:p:252-270
    DOI: 10.1111/j.0038-4941.2005.00301.x

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    2. Chiang, Eric P. & Assane, Djeto, 2008. "Music piracy among students on the university campus: Do males and females react differently?," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 1371-1380, August.
    3. Viswanath Venkatesh & James Y. L. Thong & Frank K. Y. Chan & Paul J. H. Hu, 2016. "Managing Citizens’ Uncertainty in E-Government Services: The Mediating and Moderating Roles of Transparency and Trust," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 27(1), pages 87-111, March.
    4. Elpida TENIDOU & Dimosthenis PAPPAS & Ioannis KAZANIDIS & Stavros VALSAMIDIS, 2016. "The Usage Of E-Commerce In The Area Of Evros, Greece," Scientific Bulletin - Economic Sciences, University of Pitesti, vol. 15(2), pages 3-19.
    5. Anthony S Kim & Sharon N Poisson & J Donald Easton & S Claiborne Johnston, 2012. "A Cross-Sectional Study of Individuals Seeking Information on Transient Ischemic Attack and Stroke Symptoms Online: A Target for Intervention?," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 7(10), pages 1-6, October.
    6. Ahlam Al-Muwil & Vishanth Weerakkody & Ramzi El-haddadeh & Yogesh Dwivedi, 2019. "Balancing Digital-By-Default with Inclusion: A Study of the Factors Influencing E-Inclusion in the UK," Information Systems Frontiers, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 635-659, June.
    7. Isabella Mingo & Roberta Bracciale, 2018. "The Matthew Effect in the Italian Digital Context: The Progressive Marginalisation of the “Poor”," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 135(2), pages 629-659, January.
    8. Ellen Helsper & Monica M. Gerber, 2012. "The plausibility of cross-national comparisons of internet use types," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 42956, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Javier G. Rodríguez Ruiz, 2019. "Adopción de Internet en México: Propuesta de un índice con base en Microdatos. (Internet Adoption in Mexico: Proposal of an Index based on Microdata)," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(2), pages 135-182, November.
    10. Ather Akhlaq & Ejaz Ahmed, 2016. "Gender Differences Among Online Shopping Factors In Pakistan," Organizations and Markets in Emerging Economies, Faculty of Economics, Vilnius University, vol. 7(1).
    11. Taipale, Sakari, 2013. "The use of e-government services and the Internet: The role of socio-demographic, economic and geographical predictors," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 413-422.
    12. Orviska, Marta & Hudson, John, 2009. "Dividing or uniting Europe? Internet usage in the EU," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(4), pages 279-290, November.
    13. Alexander van Deursen & Jan van Dijk & Ellen Helsper, 2014. "Investigating outcomes of online engagement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59994, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    14. Davis, Robert & Smith, Sandra D. & Lang, Bodo U., 2017. "A comparison of online and offline gender and goal directed shopping online," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 118-125.
    15. Fatehkia, Masoomali & Kashyap, Ridhi & Weber, Ingmar, 2018. "Using Facebook ad data to track the global digital gender gap," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 189-209.

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