“ICT Is for Boys”: Unravelling Inhibitors for Women's Use of ICTs in Developing Countries

“ICT Is for Boys”: Unravelling Inhibitors for Women's Use of ICTs in Developing Countries

Erica Norstedt (School of Business, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden), Annika Andersson (Örebro Universitet, Örebro, Sweden), Evylyn Pettersson (School of Business, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden) and Simon Klintestrand (School of Business, Örebro University, Örebro, Sweden)
DOI: 10.4018/IJICTHD.2019040101

Abstract

There is worldwide consensus on how important women are for development where gender equality is seen as a prerequisite for sustainable development. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) are seen as one of the most promising tools for the empowerment of women in developing countries. Men and women therefore need to have equal opportunities to access and use ICTs. Here, the authors, however, find a huge gender gap, and the reasons for this gap are still not fully understood or investigated. The purpose of this study is therefore to further investigate the reasons for this gap in ICT use. Based on a review of existing literature, as well as interviews with men and women from developing countries, the main finding is that the impeding factor underlying all barriers described in the literature relates to social norms. Based on this insight, the authors end the paper by discussing implications for research and practice.
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Gender equality is imperative for sustainable development and for a fair and sustainable world (Boserup, Tan, & Toulmin, 2013; Tembon & Fort, 2008; UN Women, 2016) and empowering women and increasing equality are known as vital components to reaching a sustainable socio-economic development (Danjuma, 2015). The UN declares that access to ICTs is a prerequisite for increasing a country’s social and economic development and that the use of ICTs is one of the most important aspects to empower women and improve their position in society (Danjuma, 2015). ICTs increase women participation within different productive areas and improve their abilities and potentials (Elnaggar, 2008; Balakrishnan 2002; Best, 2007; Chib, 2011). It is thus important to make sure that access to ICTs is not dependent on gender and that women have the same opportunities to use ICTs as men have (Elnaggar, 2008; Best, 2007; Danjuma, 2015). However, there is a “world wide decline in the participation of women in the information technology (IT) profession and education” (Pretorius, Mawela, Strydom, De Villiers & Johnson, 2015, p. 346)

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