The feasibility of ICT diffusion and use amongst rural women in South Africa

Alice Kwake, Dennis N. Ocholla, Mathew O. Adigun


This study explores whether ICT use is feasible in the rural areas of South Africa. Using the survey method, women aged 16-60 were sampled to include: Small-scale traders (58; 29.0%); Housewives/homemakers (48; 24.0%); Farm employees (25; 12.5%); Domestic workers (18; 9.0%); Educators/teachers (16; 8.0%); Students (15; 7.5%), Entrepreneurs managing large-scale enterprises (3; 1.5%); Clerical workers (9; 4.5%); Community development workers (6; 3.0%) and Preachers (2; 1.0%). These 200 respondents formed the sampling size. Sampling data was obtained from Census household data of the magisterial districts of Umlalazi i.e. Eshowe, Amatikulu, Gigindlovu and Mtunzini. Using the snowball technique women respondents, directly and indirectly connected to each other, were identified, and consequently interviewed. The survey results indicate that access and exclusion are still predominant issues, as while a meager average of 11(5.5%) respondents use modern technologies such as the computer/internet, more than half (115: 57.5%) of the respondents surveyed face problems ranging from affordability, to distance and time. Additionally, there is a marked correlation between the respondents' level of education, type of ICTs' accessed and information needs and purposes. It was observed that singularly, ICTs are insufficient for significant benefits to emerge.


Global Information Infrastructure; ICT; South Africa; rural areas; United Nations Commission of Science and Technology

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