Advanced

Evaluating how intensive Information and Communication Technology courses can help bridge the Gender Digital Divide

Wyon, Zoë LU and Sundbom, Sofia (2019) INTM01 20191
Innovation Engineering
Abstract
Inclusion in the digital society can lead to improved communication and access to information which increases informed decision making and productivity for individuals and businesses. In turn, this has a positive effect on the socio-economic development of a country. Worldwide, more women than men lack the knowledge of, and access to, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) such as computers and access to Internet. This occurrence is known as the Gender Digital Divide. Africa stands out as the continent with the largest regional gender gaps. There is no single solution found to tackle this problem and this thesis aimed to investigate if, and how, an intensive course for female university students or newly graduated students in... (More)
Inclusion in the digital society can lead to improved communication and access to information which increases informed decision making and productivity for individuals and businesses. In turn, this has a positive effect on the socio-economic development of a country. Worldwide, more women than men lack the knowledge of, and access to, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) such as computers and access to Internet. This occurrence is known as the Gender Digital Divide. Africa stands out as the continent with the largest regional gender gaps. There is no single solution found to tackle this problem and this thesis aimed to investigate if, and how, an intensive course for female university students or newly graduated students in Tanzania could be part of the solution. The study also aimed to explore which challenges and objectives the women pursuing ICT education had.
The approach was a case study on an intensive computer course arranged by the Swedish-Tanzanian NGO Help to Help. The study consisted of a profound literature review, a questionnaire, several qualitative interviews and observations in order to triangulate the findings.
The major objective for the studied women was to increase their ICT skills in order to be more competitive in the labour market. The most prominent challenge was finding time to practice or deepen their ICT knowledge due to other responsibilities such as domestic work. The women also encountered the gender norms of Tanzanian society where information technology and computers were viewed as a male area and was not encouraged for women. The major impact areas identified for former participants of the intensive course were, acquired ICT knowledge and skills, increased confidence, inclusion in an ICT network, and increased employability. A framework based on previous ICT research together with the findings from this case study was iterated and are presented in this thesis. The framework is suggested to be used to evaluate long-term impact of similar educational programs within ICT in low-income countries. The findings contribute to theory by filling the gap in literature on how the Gender Digital Divide manifests in Tanzania for urban women. The study primarily shows how intensive courses can help bridge the Gender Digital Divide and suggests a framework to decide the impact level of such initiatives. (Less)
Popular Abstract
Worldwide, more women than men lack the knowledge of and access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Africa stands out as the continent with the largest regional gender gap. Access to ICT has been acknowledged as a primary factor to be included in the global information society and can lead to improved decision making and access to the labour market. In order to increase digital literacy for women and bridge this gap, can intensive ICT courses for women be one part of the solution?
In an already digital society and with the current pace of technology development, ICT knowledge and skills become increasingly important. However, the digital area is another one of the aspects where the inequalities of society as a whole... (More)
Worldwide, more women than men lack the knowledge of and access to Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Africa stands out as the continent with the largest regional gender gap. Access to ICT has been acknowledged as a primary factor to be included in the global information society and can lead to improved decision making and access to the labour market. In order to increase digital literacy for women and bridge this gap, can intensive ICT courses for women be one part of the solution?
In an already digital society and with the current pace of technology development, ICT knowledge and skills become increasingly important. However, the digital area is another one of the aspects where the inequalities of society as a whole are inflicted upon, creating an impeding environment for women. It has been shown that women to a lesser extent than men have access to and skills within ICT and this gap is growing continuously. This occurrence is known as the Gender Digital Divide (GDD).
The study, based on qualitative interviews with former participants of an intensive ICT course for Tanzanian women, shows that initiatives such as this one, can in fact have a positive effect in bridging the GDD. The ICT course targets adolescent girls who have acquired enough resources to pursue a university degree but not enough to fund a computer training course.
In Tanzania, where unemployment poses a great challenge for recent graduates, ICT skills compose a great competitive advantage when applying for jobs. The findings show that one of the main objectives for women pursuing ICT education was to increase their employability. The most prominent challenge was finding time to practice or deepen the ICT knowledge due to other responsibilities such as domestic work. The women also encountered the gender norms of Tanzanian society where IT and computers were viewed as a male area and was not encouraged for women.
The impact on the participating women were, apart from increased ICT skills and knowledge, increased confidence, increased employability and inclusion in an ICT network.
The GDD is a complex problem without a one-way-fix and can therefore not be solved solely by intensive ICT education for women. The solution needs to be multidimensional with initiatives working on different fronts. Changes on a governmental level have huge potential but are less adaptable and takes a lot of time. Therefore, initiatives such as this one, can help speed up the change on an individual level and can also inspire and push for systematic change. Because of the increased digital literacy and the positive impact on the women, it is meaningful to support small scale initiatives as one part of the solution. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Wyon, Zoë LU and Sundbom, Sofia
supervisor
organization
course
INTM01 20191
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Gender Digital Divide, Information and Communication Technology, Evaluation, Evaluation Framework, Tanzania
language
English
id
8988896
date added to LUP
2019-06-29 16:43:16
date last changed
2019-06-29 16:43:16
@misc{8988896,
  abstract     = {Inclusion in the digital society can lead to improved communication and access to information which increases informed decision making and productivity for individuals and businesses. In turn, this has a positive effect on the socio-economic development of a country. Worldwide, more women than men lack the knowledge of, and access to, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) such as computers and access to Internet. This occurrence is known as the Gender Digital Divide. Africa stands out as the continent with the largest regional gender gaps. There is no single solution found to tackle this problem and this thesis aimed to investigate if, and how, an intensive course for female university students or newly graduated students in Tanzania could be part of the solution. The study also aimed to explore which challenges and objectives the women pursuing ICT education had.
The approach was a case study on an intensive computer course arranged by the Swedish-Tanzanian NGO Help to Help. The study consisted of a profound literature review, a questionnaire, several qualitative interviews and observations in order to triangulate the findings.
The major objective for the studied women was to increase their ICT skills in order to be more competitive in the labour market. The most prominent challenge was finding time to practice or deepen their ICT knowledge due to other responsibilities such as domestic work. The women also encountered the gender norms of Tanzanian society where information technology and computers were viewed as a male area and was not encouraged for women. The major impact areas identified for former participants of the intensive course were, acquired ICT knowledge and skills, increased confidence, inclusion in an ICT network, and increased employability. A framework based on previous ICT research together with the findings from this case study was iterated and are presented in this thesis. The framework is suggested to be used to evaluate long-term impact of similar educational programs within ICT in low-income countries. The findings contribute to theory by filling the gap in literature on how the Gender Digital Divide manifests in Tanzania for urban women. The study primarily shows how intensive courses can help bridge the Gender Digital Divide and suggests a framework to decide the impact level of such initiatives.},
  author       = {Wyon, Zoë and Sundbom, Sofia},
  keyword      = {Gender Digital Divide,Information and Communication Technology,Evaluation,Evaluation Framework,Tanzania},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Evaluating how intensive Information and Communication Technology courses can help bridge the Gender Digital Divide},
  year         = {2019},
}