ICT Initiatives, Women and Work in Developing Countries: Reinforcing or Changing Gender Inequalities in South India?

This paper argues that ICTs as a form of new technology are socially deterministic, with varied implications for women in terms of employment and empowerment dependent on the context within which the ICTs are utilized. The paper presents findings from two ICT initiatives in South India showing significant impacts on women's employment, income and social roles. One ICT initiative - 'gender-blind' and pursued within the globalized, competitive context of an increased role for markets and 'flexibility' - has generally reinforced gender inequalities. By contrast, a gender-focused ICT initiative involving significant state intervention has brought about positive changes to livelihood outcomes and empowerment of poor women.

Shoba Arun
Richard Heeks
Sharon Morgan
© Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, 2004, 23 pages ISBN 1 904143 58 X