Women Access to Computers and Internet: A Malaysian Perspective

Women Access to Computers and Internet: A Malaysian Perspective

Maslin Masrom (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia) and Zuraini Ismail (Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-657-5.ch010

Abstract

Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural society characterized by distinct values and norms about many issues including the role of women in society. Since Malaysia gained independence in 1957, Malaysian women have participated and contributed towards the social and economic development of the country. This was made possible by the policy standpoint of the Malaysian government which considers women are an important pool of resource that can be mobilized towards achieving the national development agenda. After fifty-two years of independence, Malaysia is one of the most developed countries in Southeast Asia. She has seriously geared its effort toward information and communication technology (ICT) by establishing the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) in 1996 with the widespread use of computer in Malaysia women have been found to have benefited from the modern technologies. They enjoy greater access to computers and Internet. Therefore, this chapter emphasizes accessibility, delivering access to the computers and internet info-structure to women in Malaysia. A framework for analyzing Malaysian women accessing computers and the internet is presented and discussed.
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Introduction

Information and communication technology (ICT) has entered the organizations, office and home, and indirectly influenced employees, individual and family life. Information technology (IT) comprises of hardware (e.g. personal computer, printer, and scanner) and software (e.g. application and system program) that allow us to access, retrieve, store, organize, manipulate and present information by electronic means. Meanwhile, communication technology consists of telecommunication tools that allow information to be accessed and sought, for example telephones, facsimiles, and modems.

The Malaysian government has heavily invested in ICT centers all over the country. IT and in particular the internet have become an important part of the Malaysian life. Malaysia has established its Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) in 1996 (NITC, 2004). The provision of ICT platforms resulted in mega implementation such as e-government and e-governance, besides the surge of multimedia industry and the existence of biotechnology valley. The very presence of IT has lead to ICT literacy and further accelerate human resource development.

Malaysia is a developing country that has integrated ICT into its grand narrative of modernity. The national development plan Vision 2020 is aimed at giving all Malaysians a fully developed and modern society by 2020. The Malaysian government has been an enthusiastic supporter of internet technology since the early 1990s, and has employed a range of policies to encourage Malaysian businesses to venture online. ICT is highlighted as a media to eradicate poverty and facilitate progress.

The story of the commercial internet in Malaysia began in 1990, when the Malaysian Institute of Microelectronic Systems (MIMOS, now MIMOS Berhad) launched JARING (Joint Advanced Integrated Networking), the first Malaysian ISP. It was not until 1992, however, with the installation of a satellite link between Malaysia and the United States of America, that Malaysian users gained easy access to the internet. Subsequently, Malaysia’s second internet service provider (ISP), TMNet, launched in 1995. Since then, the market for both commercial and residential internet access has grown steadily. There are now eight ISPs within Malaysia offering both dial-up and broadband connectivity, namely TIMENet Central, Jaring, TMNet, Streamyx, Nasionet, Maxis Net, Silicon Central and Malaysia Online.

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