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Women’s income generation through mobile Internet: a study of focus group data from Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-03-26, 12:41 authored by Savita Bailur, Silvia Masiero
For many women in resource-constrained environments, mobile phones are the first and foremost information and communication technology (ICT) used. In theory, the increasing pervasiveness of mobiles and mobile Internet across developing countries should provide growing opportunities to women, especially in terms of earning through small, on-the-fly jobs, using the very mobility aspect of the devices. Using Donner’s six affordances of mobile Internet and Cornwall’s discussion of what women’s empowerment means, we analyze data from 30 focus groups conducted with 18 to 25-year-olds earning under $2 a day in peri-urban areas of Nairobi, Kenya, Accra, Ghana and Jinja, Uganda). We explore the relation between the affordances of mobile Internet and structural changes in the economic and societal status of subjects, as reflected in the narratives of women adopters. We find that such affordances, while leading to new mechanisms for income generation, at least in our focus groups, do not result in changes of societal structures: older cultural stereotypes are built around adoption of the new technology, and policies underlying economic activities are hardly challenged by digitalization. This problematizes the extent to which the mobile Internet can be universally conceived as a tool for income generation, and by extension as a long-term, secure means for the empowerment of many women.

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

Gender, Technology and Development

Volume

21

Issue

2

Pages

77 - 98

Citation

BAILUR, S. and MASIERO, S., 2017. Women’s income generation through mobile Internet: a study of focus group data from Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda. Gender, Technology and Development, 21 (1-2), pp.77-98.

Publisher

Taylor & Francis © Asian Institute of Technology

Version

AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

Acceptance date

2016-12-31

Publication date

2017-11-03

Notes

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Gender, Technology and Development on 3 November 2017, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09718524.2017.1385312.

ISSN

0971-8524

eISSN

0973-0656

Language

en