Implication of ICT use on gender division of labour and decision making in agricultural production
Mugambe, Mpiima David
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This study aimed at examining the implications of the use of Information Communication Technology (lCT) on the gender division of labour and decision-making in agricultural production at households level. The study focused on the changes that occur in gender division of labour and decision-making when male and female fanners use ICT. This study used theoretical explanations on how the use of new technology can bring about change in labour allocation between women in different ways from those of men, and how decisions can be undertaken on utilizing the skills and knowledge gained. Furthermore, gender division of labour and decision-making were used as the key concepts and how these detennined the position of either males or females. As such, lCT was considered as a technological resource that could enable women and men to use skills and knowledge gained in order to make a change in division of labour in agriculture and how females can influence decisions or males who have learnt new techniques. The study also took into consideration the influence of culture, location, available resources, religion and familial structure on the changing labour allocation for women and how this can be different from that of men. The research for this study was carried out in Nakaseke district, in central Uganda. A total of eighty nine (89) primary respondents were selected from Mifunya and Kigege parishes in Nakaseke Sub County using the using systematic random sampling with a random start. Four key respondents were interviewed as well as four Focus group discussions. The methodology used was both comparative and involved both ICT users and non-ICT users employing both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection. The key research tools used were the interview schedule; Key informant guide, Focus group discussion guide and these were strengthened by the review of existing literature. These were designed to answer the main research questions i.e. the ICT services men and women choose to access, the ICT services men and women choose to adopt, how ICT changes or retains work done by men and women, how the use of lCT has changed the participation of men and women in agriculture, who decides on the acquisition of agricultural resources and how responsibilities are allocated between men and women. The findings indicate that in many aspects of agricultural production, fanners who were using ICT services experienced a change in both gender division of labour, gender division of crops and technology as well as changes in decision in comparison to the ,non-users. There were cases where authoritarian decision-making turned into joint decision-making as a result of the accompanying training that is run at the telecentre. Women could also sell their crops directly to the market or the middlemen especially after learning of the prices fusing the pricelists. Though in some areas men were dominant, women were reported to be highly empowered by the use of especially the internet. The study clearly showed that there is a strong case for change and visibly, more women as well as men changed the technology they were using, gender division of labour was altered not only in the nature of activities engaged in by men and women, but also the crops that women and men were now involved in. In conclusion therefore, the use of ICT greatly led to changes in gender division of labour and decision making as both men and women acquired and used various skills from the telecentre and this precipitated changes in the way crops were planted, chose to adopt new skills and both men and women clearly got involved in activities previously engaged in by the other sex. For instance, women got into marketing and men using ICT were also more involved in various agricultural production processes.