Women’s Empowerment through Increased Access and Understanding of Technology

Many South Africans have experienced a digital divide as the influx of new types of technology in the last two decades has intersected with social, political, historical, and economic inequalities. Dijk and Hacker (2003) suggest that the divide exists as a result of lack of interest, possession, skills, and usage opportunities. For the purposes of this project, we have defined this divide as lack of access and access as possession of technology and understanding the skills needed to use it. According to a 2011 Cape Town census, roughly 90% of the population owned cellphones and 40% a computer, and around 50% had access to the Internet (City of Cape Town, 2011). The digital divide has been identified as particularly evident in poorer communities (Dijk & Hacker, 2003), especially among adult women in South Africa (Martineau, 1997). Community members within Philippi, Cape Town, a historically disadvantaged township highly affected by unemployment (City of Cape Town, 2011), have identified a desire to increase access to and understanding of new types of technology with hopes for empowerment and changes in their community.This project sought to address these issues using the strategies for increasing access and understanding detailed in the project overview seen in the diagram below. The major deliverable of this process was the proposal for the Technology for Women’s Empowerment Programme (TWE Programme). This was created based on the successes and failures of a pilot technology training programme, which utilized peer and project-based learning, and an exploration of available technology in the community through the creation of an asset map and informal IT learning lab.

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Read more about:

  • The background research that informed these methods
  • The partners who made this project possible
  • The plans used to accomplish the project outcomes
  • The process narrative, describing the events that took place throughout the course of this project
  • The outcomes that resulted from this project
  • The project resources that were produced throughout the course of the project
  • The references used to inform the background research and methods used in this project

Contact information:

To contact the student team, email ct15-siza@wpi.edu (expires May, 2017)

Contact the Cape Town Project Center at ctpc@wpi.edu

To cite:

Bombard, J., Carey, M., Kling, B., Richardson, E.. (2015). Women’s Empowermnet through Increased Access and Understnading of Technology. Worcester Polytechnic Institute Cape Town Project Centre. Retrieved from https://wp.wpi.edu/capetown/projects/p2015/sizakuyenza/