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The potential of ICTs to empower rural women

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1 Author(s)
Joseph, M. ; Univ. of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

The purpose of the study is to investigate the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) to empower rural women. A variety of ICTs are used by the rural women to develop their ICT skills. Participation in decision-making that affect their lives and the use of ICTs are crucial for the socio-economic empowerment of rural women. Mere availability and access to ICTs will not empower women. The paper highlights the need for rural women's active involvement in ICT policy making and capacity building to give them `the strength and confidence to' use ICTs. The telecentres can provide government services to the rural women, business opportunities and other income generation opportunities. ICTs should be provided at a reasonable cost to help rural women maintain the `networks' with other community members and to develop ICT skills. Engendered ICT policies, gender sensitive and innovative programmes that target rural women are crucial for women to overcome the social barriers in accessing information and to improve their capabilities. ICTs have the potential to improve the quality of lives of rural women and can give them more control over their lives.

Published in:

IST-Africa Conference Proceedings, 2011

Date of Conference:

11-13 May 2011