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Hossain, Sarah

  • Paper Title: Is ICT gender neutral? A review of ICT development in Bangladesh
  • Department Affiliation: Economics 
  • Supervisors Name: Doctor Melanie Beresford


This paper reviews the recent situation in ICT, particularly mobile phone, development in Bangladesh. While mass access to ICT technologies is often portrayed as the great socio-economic leveller, we show that in the Bangladesh case the existing evidence illustrates something quite different. Despite the high profile of certain female politicians, Bangladesh performs very poorly on international measures of gender equality and the reasons are deeply rooted in social and cultural norms. As a consequence, programs aimed at poverty alleviation through widespread deployment of ICT in rural areas are disproportionately beneficial to men, even when targeted primarily at women. We conclude that unless ICT programs are more sensitive to the causes of gender inequity, the ICT revolution in Bangladesh is likely to deepen rather than ameliorate the gender divide.


ICT, Women, Poverty, Gender, Empowerment, Bangladesh.