Technology Assisted Economic Empowerment of Women: A Social Transformation Model

By:
Dr. Kavita Karan,
Nanditha Das
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Women’s welfare and economic empowerment is a vital issue for women’s development around the globe. In developed countries like USA, Australia, Japan and parts of Europe where social security is available, women’s welfare takes a different platform with gender bias being a social issue, women in these countries also fight for equal rights, equal job opportunities etc, albeit in a different plane. However, the welfare of women is a major socioeconomic problem in developing countries. Poverty, lack of knowledge and resources, social systems, superstitious beliefs and a variety of socioeconomic and political dimensions impact women who are subjugated to secondary status and many a time are objects of abuse. These women are disadvantaged as they lack the initiative to lead their lives with economic independence inspite of being surrounded by facilities and infrastructure in some cases.

The solution to this problem has been addressed to some extent by projects where the women have taken the entrepreneurship role and how by using Information and Communication Technologies and other social platforms, these women have become E-Entrepreneurs involving and joining their communities to support each other, seek alliances and are more effective in combating social problems from getting raw materials for production to combating domestic pressures. There is local community ownership where these projects could be a forerunner to similar ones in other parts, from those within the country and in other countries, the problems generally being similar. A preliminary analysis of two countries has brought in a wealth of data in this area of investigation. There are gradual moves towards development including the change in social engagement towards self-reliance and participation in local governance and policy matters. These women who are better informed also act as information providers for larger groups of people.

This study aims at looking at the above processes where technology is transforming and empowering women. By analyzing the problems and best practices through case studies, interviews and possible survey data in countries like China, India, Malaysia and Sri Lanka, it attempts to develop a comprehensive model for women’s’ development. The applicability of this model is wide as it can be replicated in other countries where women can initiate the process of using technology for development. The study uses both quantitative and qualitative techniques. The broad objectives and the methods of study for the research are

· Identify the circumstances under which women have taken the initiatives to start new projects

· The efforts made by themselves as well as the support from the community, non-government and government organizations, if any.

· To evaluate how these disadvantaged women are using management and marketing techniques to transform themselves into building new identities and epistemic societies.

· To study the use of ICTs and the participatory and collective approaches used in successful planning and operations.

· Assess the impact on healthcare, social development, family life, economic status, educational development etc.

· To evaluate and compare the models, systems and infrastructure development patterns within identified countries to develop the model for development

Methods of Study

Case Study To meet the requirements of the above objectives of the study, an in-depth case study of each country will be done, principally from documents and other secondary sources, supplemented with primary data through interviews with decision-makers and principal stakeholders. It will be a broad descriptive and analytical assessment including the problems and limitations faced by these women, socio-cultural biases affecting them and how they have successfully overcome these barriers and evolved their successive stories. There would be a general overview of the country, and specifically in detail about the rural areas. As stated above preliminary data has yielded extensive information in understanding and moving towards an effective model for women’s entrepreneurial development.


Keywords: ICTs for Development, E-Entreprenership, Women Empowerment, Developing Countries
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Kavita Karan

Assitant Professor, Public and Promotional Communication, School of Communication and Information, Nanyang Technological University
Singapore


Nanditha Das

Research Executive, Asian Media Information and Communication Centre, (AMIC)
Singapore


Ref: T06P0056