mobile phones

[COLUMN] Access and Beyond (5): How do we address the gender question?

Chenai Chair on 17 Aug 2017
In this last column by Chenai Chair following the gender implications of the research by Research ICT Africa on access, she explores how researchers and activists can proactively explore gender dimensions. Even as ITU figures point to a progressively increasing gender digital divide, there are steps to take to understand and address this divide.

Framing access and power at Stockholm Internet Forum 2017

Rafia Shaikh on 22 Jun 2017
The Stockholm Internet Forum 2017 focused their discussions on the links between access and power. In this article Shaikh Rafia Sarwar examines how access is linked to women's empowerment and particularly their economic empowerment. And whether the debate around access should focus on economic, cultural and social empowerment of women through and outside technology, rather than ensuring access to devices and internet via civil society projects.

[COLUMN] Access and Beyond (3): Navigating mobile costs in communication

Chenai Chair on 15 Jun 2017
Africa is flooded with zero rating services such as Free Basics (Facebook’s zero rating scheme) and other subsidised data strategies. Do these schemes make internet more affordable and bring access to more people? In this column Chenai Chair examines whether ordinary people perceive such schemes as useful.

Tackling the gender digital divide in Africa

Koliwe Majama on 1 Jun 2017
The coming of the digital age and of information technology promises that those 'left out' or excluded from development will be to access their rights and enjoy a higher standard of living. But what is the truth for African women - are the experiences of all 'marginal' women being lumped together and how far away is the promise of equal access and gender equity.

[COLUMN] I want to be a Pokémon master

Angélica Contreras on 13 Apr 2017
Pokémon exploded as a game that could be played on mobile phones in 2016. Of the many debates around it, Angélica Contreras explores the gendered aspect of videogames and how Pokémon struck a chord with many women in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and parts of Latin America. This article was originally written in Spanish, and is part of a column series that explores young women and their lives immersed in technology.

[COLUMN] Access and beyond (1): Navigating the gendered cyberspace

Chenai Chair on 12 Apr 2017
In this column series, Chenai Chair explores the barriers to accessing the internet in four countries in Africa - Rwanda, Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. The study in particular looks at the impact of affordability of internet and subsidised data services, and what impact this has on people in different locations (countries, urban-rural), of different genders, and so on. In the first column, Chenai examines what kind of methodology is suited for research on access.

Internet use barriers and user strategies: perspectives from Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Rwanda

Chenai Chair on 28 Mar 2017
The introduction of OTT services that replace regular messaging applications in built into a phone, definitely has an impact on internet use. OTT services have become the main entry point to the Internet for most users in the prepaid mobile environment that characterises most African markets. This comparative country study, based on focus groups conducted in November 2016 in Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa, sought to develop evidence of why people, use the Internet the way they do, specifically when their data is subsidised. The study is meant to inform policy making and especially discourse around internet rights.

The (mobile) games women play

Neha Mathews on 21 Oct 2016
Games on mobile phones are often a disregarded area of study, because it is relatively cheap and less glamorous than video games. But global consumer spending on mobile gaming in 2015 was estimated to be worth 34.8 billion dollars, and there have been several reports talking about how India is on the ‘verge of a mobile gaming boom’. What the numbers often fail to mention is that a large chunk of people playing mobile games are women.

Mobile Phone: A Public Tool (Civic Participation, Education and Health)

on 20 Oct 2016
This study led by Digital Empowerment Foundation analyses 14 projects that are active in India in the arena of civic participation, education and health, and examines its impact on women stakeholders. One of the objectives is to understand how mobile phones are benefiting women frontline workers (teachers, auxiliary nurses) and mothers; however, the study's main findings are that accessibility and availability of local content are two major challenges of using ICTs among women.

Use of mobile phones by the rural poor; Gender perspectives from selected Asian countries

Dafne Sabanes Plou on 4 Jul 2016
Acknowledging the differences in perceptions between genders, and between urban and rural dwellers, what must be realized is that these differences are often not unique to aspects related to the mobile phone. The concerns, needs, and benefits ascribed to the mobile phone are more a reflection of people’s existing societal, familial, and gender norms prevalent in their environments, rather than having been elicited by the mobile phone. From the perception of the study participants, the phone is an enabler of extant human need and desire.

Interview: Adolescent Girls’ Mobile Phone Use in Bihar, Jharkhand, UP

Rohini Lakshan​​é on 13 Jan 2014
Human rights organisation CREA conducted a study in Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh last year to assess the feasibility of delivering sexual and reproductive health information through mobile phones to adolescent girls. The study was a part of the “It’s My Body” programme held in collaboration with 15 local community-based organisations for girls aged 12 to 18 years. The findings of the study reveal the many complexities of providing information on sexual health to minors — the girls’ use of the mobile phone is extremely restricted and monitored by families, telecom operators are wary of partnering with such an initiative, and families and communities are uncomfortable with the topic. Rohini Lakshané speaks with Sanjana Gaind, Program Manager, Young Women’s Feminist Leadership, CREA about the study.

Implicating mobile phones in violence against women: What’s gender got to do with it?

Flavia Fascendini on 4 Dec 2012
This paper gives an analysis of women and men’s differential access and use of the mobile phone and how through it gender stereotypes are reinforced. During a four year study in Zambia, it emerged that although there were clear advantages that have come as a result of mobile phones some negative social impacts which reinforce gender stereotypes and power relations and subsequently result in violence against women have remained largely un-documented. The paper therefore makes the case that despite the clear advantage of the mobile phone; it is also providing a new focal point for social conflict and violence in relationships.

New mobile app for sexuality research pulled back over privacy concerns

Melissa Hope Ditmore on 23 Oct 2012
Melissa Ditmore reflects on release and subsequent pulling back of new application designed to collect data on sexual activity by Kinsey Institute in the USA. She outlines privacy concerns raised and how these holes can jeopardize users data. She also makes a make a case how this app once privacy gaps are fixed can assist to document unwanted and often under-reported sexual experiences, such as rape or sexual harassment.

Take Back The Tech! Be safe

Kateřina Fialová on 15 Dec 2011
The Take Back the Tech! Be Safe website section offers tips and ideas on steps women and girls can take to make their online experiences safer. It addresses security issues regarding privacy (emails, online chats, password protection, mobile phones), prevention of cyberstalking or secure online browsing.

Pakistan: Violence against Women and ICT

Kateřina Fialová on 29 Mar 2011
Access to mobile technology is increasing rapidly in Pakistan, and women are also gaining access, albeit at a slower rate than men. Kyla Pasha examines how mobile technology is ripe for use in strategies of empowerment, as long as access to technology is accompanied by training and orientation.
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