Cookies on oxfam

We use cookies to ensure that you have the best experience on our website. If you continue browsing, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all our cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more Accept

‘I don’t care about their reactions’: agency and ICTs in women’s empowerment in Afghanistan

‘I don’t care about their reactions’: agency and ICTs in women’s empowerment in Afghanistan
16 pages

Authors
Hussain, Faheem
Amin, Sara N.

Editors
Sweetman, Caroline
Journal
Gender & Development Volume 26 Issue 2 ICTs

Publication date
11 Jul 2018

DOI
10.1080/13552074.2018.1475924

Publisher
Oxfam GB
Routledge

Type
Journal article

Gender justice and women’s empowerment are both an end and a goal of sustainable development, and information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) policies and monitoring needs to be informed by this understanding. This article draws on research from Afghanistan exploring how women’s empowerment is conceptualised in relation to information and communication technologies (ICTs) currently, and how ICTs are used in processes intended to support empowerment. Our research shows that women in Afghanistan have high hopes that ICTs will be enabling and empowering. Yet the majority of women’s ICT activities do not realise that vision; with a few exceptions around women’s health, ICTs usually only enable women to meet their existing needs, and do not enable them to challenge patriarchal power relations. According to our respondents, using ICT for purposes that challenge patriarchy – e.g. using the internet to learn about rights to divorce or citizen’s rights, or sharing ‘private’ stories of abuse in social media spaces – has a high risk of social repercussions. We argue that these warnings and responses urge women to conform, and submit to control, and regulate women’s interactions and movements. They limit women’s choices, options, and power. However, some Afghan women in our research rejected these attempts to control and regulate – ‘I don’t care about their reactions’. This offers hope that for some individuals in some contexts, ICTs can put a dent in patriarchal power, supporting and furthering women’s empowerment.

Download

Oxfam Policy & Practice provides free access Gender & Development and Development in Practice journal articles.

Download this article from the publisher

Comments