This week, our class discussions have been focused on barriers to use of ICT– mainly gender , and the potential equalizing effects ICTs may have on gender inequality. As I looked for some statistics on Azerbaijan specifically, I came across this blog written by Katy Pearce that provides research on ICTs in the Caucasus region. Pearce explains that the overall focus of her research is the adoptions and use of information and communication technologies in diverse cultural, economic, and political contexts. Specifically, she researches the barriers to ICT use, often socioeconomic in nature, but sometimes political or cultural. Pearce provides an enormous amount of technical statistics on the Caucasus region on her blog, one of which is a graphical breakdown of ICT use in Azerbaijan by gender.
To access the full size image, click here
Pearce’s report explains that, unlike neighboring Armenia and Georgia, women in Azerbaijan are much less likely to own and use technology. Here are some reasons Pearce offers as to why these discrepancies occur:
- Azerbaijani women may lack the economic and educational resources which would make them more likely to use technology.
- Azerbaijani women may lack the temporal resources (due to household responsibilities) to have time to engage with technology.
- Culturally and religiously, there is some evidence that Azerbaijani families discourage women from using the Internet because of fear of emancipatory activities or meeting men.
- Many Azerbaijanis use Internet cafes for access and these, like in many countries, are places that are inappropriate or not safe for women.
Many of these reasons have come up in other reports and analysis for other countries. While I would be cautious to generalize to all countries and ICT use, I think that under the right circumstances, there are cases where a country profile may provide insights for other countries.