“When people come to me for suggestions, I feel like an expert”: Empowering women through smartphones in rural Bangladesh

Anindita Sarker, Monisha Biswas, Misita Anwar, Larry Stillman, Gillian Oliver

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter reports on an Information and Communications Technologies for Development (ICT4D) project, PROTIC. The project aims for the socioeconomic empowerment of women farmers in rural Bangladesh through information access. As part of the project, 300 women in three remote locations in Bangladesh received smartphones as well as training and information support to improve local agriculture and social development. In this chapter, empowerment is understood as a process of social and structural change where the capacity to make choices and influence sociocultural and structural challenges are considered important for women. The women’s experiences with smartphones and their journey to overcome social and cultural challenges were researched. Data was collected through episodic interviews of 60 participants in 2016 and 2018 and doctoral research. Findings show that women’s use of smartphones contributed to improved learning and skills in using new technology, created greater participation opportunities in livelihood activities, improved communication and networking, resulted in increased respect for the women, and improved their social position. These are notable achievements in a society where social, cultural, economic, and religious barriers constantly challenge the uptake of new and emerging technologies by women.

Insights from PROTIC can guide local, national, and international level development organisations, partners, and other stakeholders in the design and implementation of more appropriate and sustainable ICT initiatives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTechnology and Women's Empowerment
EditorsEwa Lechman
Place of PublicationLondon UK
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781000437942, 9781003045946
ISBN (Print)9780367493721, 9780367493714
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • ICT and gender
  • ICTD
  • information provision

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