In the report “Gender Assessment of ICT Usage and Access in Africa,” I found the gender disparities especially in Radio & TV to be especially surprising. Radio is the main source of information for low income and rural households, although the price of constantly having to buy batteries hinders the upkeep of these radios. The fact of being a woman reduces the probability of listening to the radio and increases the probability of watching TV. Women watch TV more constantly then men, usually occurring in groups and watching entertainment shows. In the report, stories of widowed women who no longer have the means to buy batteries and have the responsibility of supporting their children does not allow for radio usage to fit into their lifestyles. Similarly to women in America, watching TV becomes an enjoyable social event, allowing for relaxation greater than that of listening to the radio. Tied to many cultural norms, women may be subject to scrutiny if seen watching TV and engaging in leisure activities.
This marginalization of women is concerning to the advancement of ICTs in that their inclusion is essential to meeting the MDGs and the advancement of their opportunities. In the following video, the author of the “African Women and ICT, Investigating Technology, Gender and Empowerment” book highlights the need for politicians to make sure women become a part of the ICT revolution.
While women have already been introduced to different technologies like TV, it is essential to development to get politician and communities behind them in their endeavors to create a network between themselves and within the society. Is it possible to try to change lasting societal norms? How can we cope with the marginalization of women in developing countries?