Letter: Women and computers

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The Independent Online
IT IS a risky generalisation to suggest women have different priorities from men. However, I believe information technology companies and commentators could help to change women's attitudes to IT (Network, 10 March) by stressing two important facts.

First, that IT (in the form of e-mail) provides by far the most cost- effective way of keeping in touch. Almost none of the female friends to whom I've described the benefits of the Internet realised initially that messages were sent in fractions of a second at local call rates and hence that the incremental cost of each, once the subscription is paid, is virtually nil. This point is rarely stressed in service providers' ads.

Second, IT is set to have an extraordinary impact on our children's education. The instant availability of unlimited factual knowledge via IT will increasingly mean we must concentrate on teaching children how rather than what to learn. Inevitably, this will have a huge impact both on the role of teachers and the contribution parents can make.

Finally, computers, which do tend to be seen as a male preserve, have revived the art of correspondence for men. I, at least, have written scarcely one personal letter over the past 20 years. Yet since Christmas I've been in regular contact by e-mail with about six male friends to whom I'd previously sent nothing more than a "let's keep in touch" at the foot of an annual Christmas card.

DAVID ROBERTSON

Technology Response Ltd

West Malvern, Worcestershire

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