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Use of mobile phones by the rural poor: gender perspectives from selected Asian countries

Alice Van der Elstraeten's picture

FAO, in collaboration with LIRNEasia and the International Development Research Centre published the USE OF MOBILE PHONES BY THE RURAL POOR - Gender perspectives from selected Asian countries. 

A qualitative study was conducted in Indonesia and Sri Lanka to understand the varied perceptions on the use and ownership of mobile phones. Given the large rural population in developing Asia, a nuanced understanding of mobile phone use and access that could articulate gender as well as locational (urban versus rural) differences, could sharpen the design of policy targeting the digital gender divide. This is particularly important given the importance of women in rural livelihoods.

The two studies brought together in this publication suggest that it is clear that the digital gender divide exists and but that it cannot be explained by differences in income, education and/or employment factors. Given that the survey findings differ from those of other researchers, this suggests that country and local socio-cultural contexts inhibit a more generalizable action plan for reducing the digital gender divide.

The publication can be downloaded from the FAO website through this link