gender Archives — LIRNEasia


Ramathi Bandaranayake presented the following paper at the 3rd International Conference on Gender Research, held July 16 – 17 2020. The conference took place virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper discusses the findings of our qualitative research related to female online freelancers in India and Sri Lanka.   Bandaranayake, R., Iqbal, T.
For a number of reasons, I’ve been thinking about Sri Lanka’s unusually low female participation in the labor force. As is common among policy people, I was emphasizing the benefits for households from having multiple incomes and to various sectors from having less constraints on labor inputs. Here, Janet Yellen talks about the macro-economic benefits directly: The sweeping movement of women from the home to the workplace during the mid-20th century, she said, was a “major factor in America’s prosperity.” But that progress has stalled in recent decades, leaving women less likely than men to hold paying jobs. Bringing more women into the work force with policies like expanding the availability of paid leave, affordable childcare and flexible work schedules, she said, could help to lift the American economy from a long stretch of slow growth.
LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya was invited to a panel discussion titled “Is Innovation Sexist” in celebration of International Women’s Day.  The event was held in Ottawa, Canada on the 8th of March, It was inaugurated by Celina R. Caesar-Chavannes, M.P., Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development.
For some, Facebook is a bad thing. That was an underlying theme of the opposition to Free Basics and zero rating. I guess having less women use a bad thing is good, so they should be happy. The fact remains that Facebook is the most popular app, the killer app that everyone was looking for. So even if it does not meet the standards of the purists, very low use by women should be of concern to pragmatists.
A box in 2015-16 Affordability Report of the Alliance for Affordable Internet includes a box on gender which begins thus: By March 2015, just over a year after liberalising their ICT sector, 40% of Myanmar’s population between the ages of 15-65 owned a mobile phone. Yet, women were 29% less likely to own a mobile phone than men. To understand the reasons for this gender gap in mobile phone ownership, GSMA and LIRNEasia conducted a qualitative study among 91 men and women in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, and Pantanaw, a small town in the southwestern part of the country. The research showed that women in Myanmar play a prominent role in the management of household finances — even if they do not earn anything themselves — and are frequently involved in the financial decision to purchase a mobile phone for the family. Yet women’s access to this family mobile phone is often limited because the phone tends to travel outside the home, with the person who is deemed to need it the most.
Helani Galpaya presented the findings of the joint research by GSMA Connected Women & LIRNEasia on “Mobile phones, internet & gender in Myanmar” at the Chatrium Hotel, Yangon on 8 April 2016. The event organized by LIRNEasia and MIDO was used as a forum to discuss issues pertaining to gender and ICTs in Myanmar at large. Khin Sandar Win & Htla San Htwe presented the rationale behind and the workings of the UNDP iWomen application while Htaike Htaike Aung of MIDO spoke of the role of women as app developers, hackers and coders. The event was well attended despite it being held on the last working day prior to the New Year Water Festival holidays. Noteworthy was the large media presence, with the event being covered by multiple print, television and online media outlets.
Even before we officially launch the gender study, it is being used in Myanmar. A recent report on gender and connectivity by GSMA and Sri Lanka based think tank LIRNEasia said that mobile phones have come to symbolise status in Myanmar. “Despite the cost barrier, people are often not interested in keypad phones or less expensive smartphones, which are also perceived as low-quality,” said the report. Mr Meza said that outside Myanmar’s cities, the phone would find its audience. “In Yangon people will go out of their way to get … the latest iPhone, Samsung, HTC [device], but the country has 680,000 square kilometres so life doesn’t end in Yangon.
This report is the result of research conducted by GSMA’s Connected Women programme and LIRNEasia in Myanmar in 2015. LIRNEasia’s nationally representative baseline survey of ICT needs and usage in Myanmar showed a gender gap  in mobile ownership of 29%  by March 2015.  Together with GSM Association’s Connected Women program, LIRNEasia explored the reasons behind this gender gap through a series of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions held in Yangon (urban) and Pantanaw (rural) among 91 men and women in July 2015. Further questions on mobile internet awareness and use, as well as barriers to use were explored, yielding a rich set of findings and a large set of policy recommendations. Read full report: Mobile phones, internet, and gender in Myanmar
It was tough going up against Helani Galpaya’s Zero Rating session, but the Myanmar session attracted 17 persons (I took some photos, but later realized that it is against SIF policy to take or publish audience photos without permission). I presented the “all fronts” approach of the ongoing LIRNEasia-MIDO Inclusive Information Society project as a framework for discussion and presented a subset of the Myanmar 2015 teleuse survey. After the contextual information, Htaike Htaike Aung, Yatanar Htun along with colleague Ei Myat Noe Khin from Phandeeyar presented the work they were engaged in, including app development, improving digital literacy and so on. Given conference’s thematic emphasis on gender, I showed that there was no gender disparity in terms of use, while there was a significant difference between male and female subscribers.
We don’t really have a formal position. But we collect data on gender and country representation, among other things, in all the training events we run and report them. From the time I used to be involved in admitting students to graduate studies, I’ve had to think about and act on issues of gender and ethnic balance. I’ve never been for quotas; but have always been committed to affirmative action. And I believe I was responsible for admitting some of the most diverse classes of grad students to my School.
The XX Factor is written by Alison Wolf, the CBE Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King’s College London. The book outlines how working women of the modern workforce have changed the society.  This change has occurred due to the fact that women are working in white collar jobs around the world hand in hand with men in contrast to past generations where both educated and uneducated women stayed at home once married. Author starts the book with the story of Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), an English novelist braking off her engagement with Harris Big Wither in 1802, which was something extraordinarily brave at her time. Then the book describes modern highly educated professional females, 70 million worldwide who stand in a direct line from Jane Austen.
LIRNEasia research manager Shazna Zuhyle presented our findings on ‘Gendered use in ICTs at the bottom of the pyramid in emerging Asia’ at the WSIS forum in Geneva on the 14th May 2013. The panel consisted of selected members of the Task Group on Measuring Gender and ICTs. The session addressed the question of what current statistics can tell us about women in the information society and how women use and benefit from ICTs. The session also looked at available data on gender and ICT and proposed a set of priority areas where more data are needed. The outcome of the session will feed into the work of the Partnership Task Group on Measuring Gender and ICT.
There has been a lot of press on an Intel funded research report on ICTs and gender. Before we get too excited, it may be worth looking at their data collection. 1800 face to face interview and 400 telephone interview for a ‘global report’ which covers three countries. The rest all based on World Bank/ITU data… very self-congratulatory panel of State Department, UN and ITU broadband commission… no acknowledgement of problems of supply side data or of the existing demand side data in the global south. .

Thai media reports Teleuse@BOP4

Posted on January 14, 2012  /  0 Comments

It took a little time, but a comprehensive report on the Bangkok launch of teleuse@BOP4 results has been published in the Nation (Thailand). The survey found that Thai users spent more than any other nationality on mobile phones, $93 on average compared to $50 or less elsewhere. Most of the phones they bought had radio connections, while 14 per cent had a Web browser and 5 per cent had touch-screens. Ninety-one per cent of the Thais said they’d used a mobile phone in the previous three months, up from 77 per cent in 2008. More than 90 per cent of the urban users made regular calls, compared to 80 per cent in the rural areas.
Research ICT Africa (RIA) has recently published a policy paper entitled, ‘Gender Assessment of ICT Access and Usage in Africa‘, based on findings from a nationally-representative household and individual-level survey of ICT use in 17 African countries. The full paper can be downloaded here. LIRNEasia Senior Research Manager, Ayesha Zainudeen, was selected to review the paper; her written assessment is available here. An excerpt of the executive summary of the paper follows: What is clear from the Research ICT Africa (RIA) Household and Individual Access and Usage Survey is that the diffusion of ICT is highly uneven concentrating in urban areas and leaving some rural areas almost untouched. Access to these technologies is constrained by income as is usage, and as they become more complex, they are increasingly constrained by literacy and education.
We are always happy when people use our research. Happier when we are mentioned as the source too. We thank the writer and/or the source for attributing the results to us. While there is no separate data on the number of female subscribers in the country, according to a recent Lirneasia Teleuse Survey (a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank), mobile phone ownership is far lower among females than males in South Asia. Statistical analysis shows that gender has a significant impact on mobile phone adoption at the bottom of the pyramid in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India.