GIRE: Gender-Inclusive Requirements Engineering

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Gender inclusion is fundamental to a prosperous society, but inequality and exclusion persist in various sectors of it. One of them is the ICT field, which is still struggling to represent the diversity of those it serves. The lack of diversity and power imbalance in software development affects the produced systems, that, instead of advancing gender inclusion, create new barriers in achieving it. Although considered neutral, software does not equally serve everyone who depends on it, favoring characteristics that are statistically more observed in those that are represented during development. As software development teams are predominantly male, it is not surprising that existing systems favor characteristics that are statistically more observed in men over characteristics observed in other genders. As technologies rapidly evolve and revolutionize the way we live, addressing this problem becomes urgent to ensure that these systems benefit everyone, regardless of their gender. As a first step towards this goal, we performed a systematic mapping study on gender issues in software engineering whose results indicated that gender impacts development and systems, but there are limited approaches for addressing it in Requirements Engineering. This study served as the foundation for proposing a conceptual model for gender-inclusive requirements. Its main objective is to facilitate discussion and analysis of gender and related concepts in the elicitation process to include them in the specification of requirements. In this paper, we extend this work by illustrating the concepts with an example, by presenting a process for using the knowledge of the model and a prototype tool that implements it, and by discussing an evaluation with 31 participants of the conceptual model's usefulness, difficulty of understanding, strengths and weaknesses, use and recommendation, and finally, its components. The results were positive as both novices and experts in conceptual modeling considered the model useful, provided comprehensive feedback on its strengths but also suggestions for improvement, and most answered positively to the questions about whether they would use and recommend it.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102108
Number of pages19
JournalData and Knowledge Engineering
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Conceptual modeling
  • Gender issues
  • Gender-inclusive
  • Requirements engineering
  • Software development


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