Before I go any further with this idea, I am going to do something deeply unfashionable and quote some feminist academics because I view the world through a feminist lens and to not bring gender into this would feel a bit like ignoring the elephant that is stood in the middle of the room that everyone else is studiously not commenting on.
I dug out one of my notebooks from 1995 yesterday for and rediscovered this quote from the preface of Mapping the Moral Domain (Gilligan et al 1988)
"Children had been asked to write essays on how to improve their city.
To the boys improving the city meant urban renewal as we generally concive it: more parks, new buildings, renovations, better streets, more lighting.
Girls however wrote about improving the city in a way the reporter found surprising. They suggested strengthening relationships between people:responding to people in need and taking action to help them."
Wheras boys viewed it as an somthing that could be solved by upgrading the infrastructure, girls were viewing it in terms of relationshipis and connectedness. This appears to be quite a significant disconnect in the two world views.
This reminded me of Du Bois writing about the concept of "double conciousness" in 1983 and "the way women inhabit the world - they are part of society, but never quite of it. Women see and think in terms of culture yet have always have another consciousness, another potental language" I have been reminded of that quote so many times over the last few years while working as a woman in ICT.