Using Communication and Information Technologies To Empower Women in Rural Communities.Report as inadecuate

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Research aimed to enhance rural women's access to communication and information technologies and to assess the impact of their technology use on their participation in small business development and community development. Over 200 women throughout Queensland (Australia) were involved. A trial electronic mailing list linking rural women to urban women and women in other countries quickly expanded into a vibrant online community because it addressed the social isolation of women in rural and remote situations. Gender was a significant factor in the development of this online community due to women's use of communication for kinship, friendship, and community maintenance as well as stress management. The development of networks between women in government, industry, academic contexts, and rural communities empowered participants and enhanced community development processes. Gender was a factor here as well, due to women's holistic perspectives on community development and to the high value women place on connectivity, which resulted in contentious issues being introduced with care and respect. Because of their diverse social and productive roles in rural communities and by virtue of their communication skills, women are emerging as innovators and managers of change. It is therefore important that they have access to new technologies and appropriate training. This research revealed the need for the integration of social infrastructure with economic concerns in community development. (Contains 18 references.) (TD)

Descriptors: Access to Information, Community Development, Distance Education, Electronic Mail, Empowerment, Foreign Countries, Geographic Isolation, Holistic Approach, Informal Education, Information Technology, Rural Areas, Rural Women, Social Networks, Social Support Groups

Author: Grace, Margaret


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