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ERIC Number: ED519629
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 206
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-7482-5
Laggards No More: Understanding Effective Use of Information and Communication Technologies by West Virginian Women at the Lower End of the Digital Divide
Goh, Debbie
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Indiana University
Despite efforts to introduce information and communication technologies to women, internet access rates for women and the benefits they can draw from using ICTs still are not on par with men. This dissertation examines why the gender digital divide persists in America, who are the women at the lower end of the digital divide, and why they are unable to effectively engage with ICTs. Understanding the gender digital divide involves examining gender in relation to the social and structural processes affecting it, and also to determine definitions of effective ICT use for women. This study applies third-world feminist perspective to a synthesis of three digital divide frameworks aimed at examining contextual influences. Synthesizing the three models streamlines some of the common factors and processes and makes the framework more parsimonious while strengthening its explanatory power. To enable the framework to be more sensitive to the examination of the gender digital divide, third world feminist perspective was used as a theoretical and methodological guide that helped make visible the processes of everyday ICT adoption and use by women at the lower end of the digital divide. The framework proposes that categorical inequalities contribute to differences in resources necessary for different levels of digital access. Technological characteristics also influence access. Unequal levels of access contribute to unequal levels of ICT use for social inclusion, and this contributes or recreates people's marginalized positions. This research was set in West Virginia. Beginner computer courses in one rural and one urban county were observed over a 14-month period. Group interviews and in-depth interviews with participants were also conducted. The findings helped explained how paternalistic and capitalist forces that had historically marginalized West Virginian women economically and socially continue to act as barriers that prevent them from accessing resources that will help them bridge the digital divide. The findings also provided evidence on how these different resources influence the digital divide. The findings further identified operational definitions on each type of resource in relation to women's needs and experiences, and also identified health as another category of resource. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: West Virginia