Bridging the Gender-Based Digital Divide: Empowerment of Women Through ICT

Thumbnail Image
Links
Date
2022-09
Authors
Hendricks, Winston
Olawale, Babawande
Editor
Corporate Author
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Publisher
Commonwealth of Learning (COL)
Report/Paper Number
Abstract
PCF10 Sub-theme: Promoting Equity and Inclusion // This paper explores how digital transformation can bridge the gender-based digital divide and empower women for civic engagement in a digital world. This is because, in recent times, women in developing countries such as South Africa have been marginalized due to the patriarchal sentiment prevalent in society. While gender equality is not only a universal human right, recognizing the importance of gender equality in ensuring the advancement of society will go a long way to reducing the existing gender gaps in digital inclusion. While it has been argued that digital transformation perpetuates gender-related inequality, empowering women has the potential to generate a new source of global economic growth that is more inclusive. In addition, the incorporation of computer-based technologies into an organization's products, processes, and strategies, often referred to as 'digital transformation' is capable of providing an avenue for more equal women participation in labour markets and entrepreneurship. However, despite the advantages of digital transformation for women’s empowerment, women’s marginalisation in digital technologies continues to be evident in South Africa and its education system. The present study, therefore, investigates how digital transformation can bridge the gender-based digital divide and empower women for civic engagement in a digital world by promoting gender equality in the digital communities. Underpinned by an Interpretivist paradigm, the study employs a qualitative research approach and a case study design. Thus, to investigate how digital transformation can bridge the gender-based digital divide and empower women for civic engagement in a digital world, data for the study was collected through interviews from ten female university students in a rural university in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The findings from the study revealed that while there are several opportunities that the digital technologies present in the quest for women empowerment, the lack of skills and expertise, literacy gaps, traditional and social norms, and a lack of confidence in experimenting with technology, among many others are the key factors that widen the digital gender gap. Based on the findings, recommendations were made that universities and higher education institutions partners should promote women's empowerment by supporting women's meaningful and equal participation in decision making where digital technologies are concerned. // Paper ID 9136
Description
Subject
Digital transformation, Digital divide, Gender equality, Marginalization, Technology
Country
South Africa
Region
Africa
Series
Citation