Gender, culture and ICT use in rural South India

Title: Gender, culture and ICT use in rural South India
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: May 2007
Published In: Gender, Technology and Development
Description: In this article we explore how women use and perceive information technology in five villages in rural Tamil Nadu, India. We analyse the outcomes from structured in-depth interviews with 17 women Internet kiosk users and 22 women who have never used the Internet (non-users). Our intention was to systematically document the information and communication needs of women in rural South India as articulated by the women themselves. We identify several critical issues that must be taken into account in the design of information and communication technology (ICT) projects. Our findings suggest four main conclusions: (1) rural women in this study find ICTs useful; (2) there are gender-specific usage patterns and perceptions of ICTs; (3) obstacles to ICT use are generally structural (time, location, illiteracy) and not personal (for example, a prohibition from a relative); and (4) manifestations of gender awareness correlate with perceptions of obstacles to ICT use. Information and communication technologies hold great promise in the drive for development and poverty reduction in the global South, yet in order to ensure that the entire population reaps the benefits of these technologies, a clear understanding of the specific needs of women and other disadvantaged groups is imperative.
Ivan Allen College Contributors:
Citation: Gender, Technology and Development. 11. Issue 2. 137 - 155. ISSN 0971-8524. DOI 10.1177/097185240701100201.
  • Information and Communications Technologies for Development
Related Departments:
  • Center for International Strategy, Technology, and Policy
  • School of International Affairs