Empowerment through ICT education, access and use: A gender analysis of Muslim youth in India



Information and communication technologies (ICTs) developing countries can bridge socio-economic divides and empower the marginalised, including women and minority groups. This paper considers four dimensions of empowerment—psychological, social, educational and economic—and assesses benefits to each following computer education and usage of computer and Internet technology. Data were collected from 155 young Muslim women and men studying in three computer training centres in Mumbai, and a gender-based comparison was conducted. Figures for computer ownership and home Internet connection were low for the entire sample, and the training centres and cybercafes were important points of access for females and males, respectively. In terms of perceived empowerment, young women reported higher gains than men from computer learning when combined with ICT use. Thus, despite the existence of a gender-based digital divide, when bridged, ICTs showed potential as an equalising force between the genders. In light of the above, policy measures to widen access and provide subsidised training are suggested. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.