Gender, Technology and Development, 8(2):185-207, 7, 2004. Paper abstract bibtex
This article presents findings from recent research in the use of telecommunications services in African countries. The research is intended to address the lack of field data on customers in rural and low-income areas of Africa, and to inform policymakers, private-sector service providers, and the donor community about issues concerned with universal access. Surveys were conducted in Botswana, Uganda, and Ghana with an overall sample of 1,800, stratified by access to ICTs services. Survey data from the countries is gender disaggregated, enabling an analysis of the gender differences in patterns of use of services, and of attitudes that act as barriers and drivers to the use of services. Data shows that the use of services is remarkably similar between women and men. This is true not only of voice telephony (fixed and mobile), but also of points of public access (primarily telephone shops and public booths); it is less true of data services such as the Internet and SMS. However, an analysis of attitudes shows that different priorities and concerns lie behind the use of services by women and men. Many of these differences reflect different gender roles. However, policymakers need to ensure that the concerns of women are taken into account and their access to services not impeded in the rapidly expanding telecommunications market.