Contradictory Entitlements: Gendered Digital Inequalities in Urban Kolkata

Monday, 11 July 2016: 14:35
Location: Hörsaal I (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Ground breaking developments in digitalization have led cyber genres to assert that ICTs are gender neutral unlike other technologies as they are based on brains rather than brawn, on networks rather than hierarchy (Wajcman, 2009), heralding a new unbiased relationship between men and women. But the realities of women's daily lived experiences belie these simple generalizations. While ICTs and the Internet offer vast, new and unprecedented opportunities for human development and empowerment in areas ranging from education to entertainment, they are also one of the key contributing factors to inequalities across different social and economic groups. The gender divide is one of the most significant inequalities to be amplified by the digital revolution, and cuts across all social and income groups. Throughout the world, women face serious challenges that are not only economic but social as well as cultural that limits their access to ICTs. There is a strong co-relation between gender and access to digital resources, while ICTs usage may seem gender neutral at face value however socially and culturally constructed gender roles and relationships remain a perennial impediment in shaping the capacity of young women and men in Kolkata and to participate on equal terms in the fast growing Information Society of India. The present study addresses through intersectional perspective how digital inequalities are enforced among young women of urban India based on their gender, social class and family background. With the application of mixed method techniques, the present study attempts to reveal how mutual compatibility of gender, class and family background reinforced disparate prospects among young girls, accentuating deprivation and shape their identity and lived experiences in digital world. The respondents are from male and female of upper and middle class students belonging to grade IX-XII in Kolkata.