Gender Gaps and Information and Communication Technology: A Case Study of India

Gender Gaps and Information and Communication Technology: A Case Study of India

Rekha Pande (University of Hyderabad, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0020-1.ch022
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Abstract

The present chapter attempts to look at the digital divide and the constraints related to Information Technology, which women share by gender. Along with major subdivisions on region, ethnic group, class, and caste, a major digital divide based on gender is emerging in India. Poverty is the main constraint that many women face along with men, in addition to their lower status in Indian society. Women face challenges in pursuing education at all ages because of lack of time to attend school, familial and household duties, and socio-cultural norms that give a low priority to education. The gender gap, especially the gap between men and women and how they benefit from Information Technology, has widened, because women are less likely than men to receive technical education or be employed in technology intensive work. Globalization has further complicated this issue, leading to increasing feminization.
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Background

Colonial rule had deprived India of an Industrial revolution. After independence in 1947, India had adopted an economic policy which largely favored public sector expansion. In this strategy, private and foreign capitals were strictly controlled by the government. India’s opting for a mixed economy also reflected the country’s approach to high technology industries (Harindranath, 1999, p. 53). During this period multinationals such as International Business Machine (IBM) and International Computer Limited (ICL) leased obsolete technology to India. Though the State owned firm Electronics Corporation of India Ltd.(ECIL) entered into the indigenous manufacturing of computers in 1971, it could neither fully embrace the technology nor satisfy the growing demand of the country (Subramanian, 1992). In 1978 private sector entrepreneurs entered the computer manufacturing industry which was supported by the national computer policy of 1984 (GOI, 1984).

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