International Center for Ethics in the Sciences and Humanities (IZEW)


CfP - Digital Transformation and Gender Bias

The process of digital transformation has a fundamental impact on social interactions and influences important areas of people’s lives. Especially under recent pandemic conditions, the desire and need to access digital information and communication technologies has intensified. The benefits of digital trans- formation are linked to new opportunities for information gathering, participation and involvement of a wide range of groups (including marginalized groups) at the political, cultural and social level. However, the risks of digitalization such as manipulation, bias or distorted information and knowledge in online and social media can and must also be addressed. These risks often involve discriminatory (linguistic) patterns in which existing power structures are clearly expressed or traditional patterns of interpretation continue to be conveyed. While algorithms are widely perceived to enable neutral deci- sion-making and efficient judgment, there is also the danger that algorithms perpetuate and reinforce gender bias due to unbalanced data sets and homogenous design teams. Online communities dedica- ted to providing low-threshold access to information and digital participation, for example, are often characterized by a lack of sociographic diversity (gender gap), which can lead to a lack of epistemic diversity (gender bias).

This special issue focuses on the extent to which sexist, racist, and other discriminatory patterns as well as power structures are transformed and/or reproduced in digital platforms, social networks and through algorithms. We appreciate contributions that analyze the opportunities and risks of digital transformation for a non-discriminatory and diverse society from a linguistic, media/cultural studies or ethical perspective. We welcome both critical, intersectional analyses as well as concrete proposals for solutions that promote an inclusive digital society.

For more information, please find the call here.