Women Empowerment in Bangladesh: A Study of the Village Pay Phone Program

The diffusion of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has come to play a major part in development programs around the world. Among them, the mobile phone have been used in various such programs, to combat poverty and give the people a chance to join the new information society that is widely spoken of and experienced in Western societies.

The purpose with this study is to find out how the mobile phone and the Village Pay Phone from Grameen Telecom have been implemented into women’s life in rural Bangladesh. It also aims to study how the women have become empowered by this program. The sample constitutes sixteen female owners. A purposeful cluster sampling was used….


1 Introduction
2 Background
2.1 Women in Bangladesh
2.2 Telecommunications in Bangladesh
2.3 Initiation of the Village Pay Phones
2.4 Goals of the Grameen Bank and the Village Pay Phones
2.5 Users’ benefits from the VPP
3 VPP and women empowerment
3.1 The VPP in Bangladesh – entering the field
3.2 Studying women empowerment
4 Purpose of the study
4.1 Research questions
5 Theory
5.1 Digital divide
5.2 Technology, society and culture
5.3 Gender and technology
5.4 Technology as capability enhancement
5.5 Gender and Development
5.6 Empowerment
5.6.1 Empowerment as a relational construct
5.6.2 Empowerment as motivational construct
6 Methodology
6.1 Hermeneutic phenomenology
6.2 Data collection
6.2.1 Method for sampling
6.2.2 Sample
6.2.3 Interviews
6.2.4 Construction of the interview guide
6.2.5 Data analysis
6.2.6 The Hermeneutic Rule
6.3 Methodological demarcations
6.4 Pre-understanding
6.5 Communication difficulties
6.6 Immediacy
6.7 The interview guide
6.8 Sampling
6.9 General comment
7 Results
7.1 Women’s use of and access to the VPP
7.1.1 Women mostly hand over the VPP to a male operator
7.1.2 When women operate the VPP
7.1.3 Personal use of the mobile phone among men and women
7.1.4 The VPP and the mobile phone as a male or female domain
7.2 Benefit and restraints derived from the VPP among the women
7.2.1 Economic
7.2.2 Social
7.2.3 Family
7.2.4 Individual
8 Discussion
8.1 Women’s access to the VPP
8.2 The VPP as a social, individual and technological construct
8.3 VPP and women empowerment
8.3.1 The VPP owners and mobility
8.3.2 VPP and social life
8.3.3 Ownership and power distribution
8.3.4 Owner of an income-generating source
8.3.5 New knowledge and capabilities
9 Conclusion and Recommendations
Internet Sources
Verbal Sources
1. Table of sample characteristics
2. Map of Bangladesh
3. Interview guide (a)
4. Interview guide (b)

Author: Hultberg, Linda

Source: Jönköping University

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