Mobile phones and changing perceptions of gendered household decision-making in rural Africa

Authors: Timothy Baird*, Virginia Tech, J Terrence McCabe, University of Colorado, Boulder, Emily Woodhouse, University College London
Topics: Human-Environment Geography
Keywords: Mobile phones, gender, decision making, social networks
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Zulu, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Mobile phones have been heralded as transformative new tools to reduce global poverty by reducing barriers to information, promoting market efficiency, boosting savings and expediting adaptive responses. Alternatively, phones may magnify situations rather than transform them. Valuable tools may be less valuable to vulnerable groups like women, minorities, and the poor. This paper presents early data from a multi-year project to examine the gendered effects of mobile phones within Maasai communities in northern Tanzania. Here, we present preliminary qualitative data on men’s and women’s perceptions of their changing social networks and contributions to household decision-making amidst widespread mobile phone use. Preliminary findings indicate shifting power dynamics across gender and age dimensions.

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