ICT Usage, Economic growth, and Gender Equality in India.

In “Connecting the first mile:  a framework for best practice in ICT projects for knowledge sharing in development”  we see a framework set up for the best practices in ICT projects for knowledge sharing in development, centered around debates related to: Top down versus participatory solutions to development problems, global versus local solutions, technological versus social solutions, and optimism versus pessimism about the role of ICTs in development. Based upon this article there are essentially three success factors that determine the efficiency of ICT development: the environment, the project level, and the first mile. I am going to focus on a country in which we success in all three of these areas; India. As noted in the infographic below, India is the winner for the most growth “in terms of mobile users in the past 20 years”. Instead of looking at only where this success was driven from, I am going to look at what this success in growth and technological innovation has done for women in India in the ast few decades.

Mobile Usage Worldwide

A study published in partnership by the International Center for Research on Women and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women entitled: “Connectivity, How mobile phones, computers, and the internet can catalyze women’s entrepreneurship; Case Study: India”, part 2.2 takes time the analyze the information and communications sector in India, finding major success including:
1. New policies and business opportunities, especially in wireless communications and products, inspiring growth of the new government ministries, regulatory agencies, state-owned corporations, and private sector companies.
2. The expansion of sought out market space in the mobile and internet services industry from companies such as state-owned BSNL and MTNL, Bharti-Airtel, Reliance Communications, as well as Nokia and Motorola.
3. The growth of the ICT sectors contribution to GDP from 3.4% in 2000-2001 to 5.9% in 2007-2008.
With the staggering economic and political success of ICTs in India, I am asking how this success has worked to improve the lives of women in India, and the answer is, it has, and in a big way.
Gender Disparity in India

The graphic from the ICRW report notes the rise in economic social and educational success for women. This success is due the residual effects of ICT development including GDP growth, job creation, and social change. Barriers to women’s business success in India that remain include: social norms, time, capital and financing, skills and training, access to markets, and business networks. While these barriers exist, they are similar to issues we would find in a fully developed country such as the United States.

These challenges will continue to exist around the world, but what all developing nations can learn from the success of India is the wide range of positive benefits the expansions and successful implementation of mobile phone strategy can have. The more connected the population, the more likely we are to see success and growth spread.

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One response to “ICT Usage, Economic growth, and Gender Equality in India.

  • laurenparmley

    Are companies such as BSNL and MTNL, Bharti-Airtel, Reliance Communications specifically hiring females? I understand the growth of ICTs in India is helping overall GDP and creating more jobs; do you know if there are policies targeting females or are the residual effects just inferred?

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