|dc.description.abstract||Background: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have the potential to meet the development information needs of individuals particularly women. Even though much has been documented about gender and ICTs, few studies have been conducted to closely examine the link between ICTs, women and development information.
Objective: To investigate whether professional women in Lusaka, Zambia use ICTs to access development information.
Methods: This study, largely quantitative in nature was conducted in Lusaka, Zambia. Ten (10) private and ten (10) public sector institutions were purposely selected. A minimum sample of 200 professional women from these institutions was randomly selected. A questionnaire survey was used to gather primary data.
Results: The results from the field reveal that the majority of the respondents have access to ICTs such as radio (99.5%), television (100%), computers (79.5%), Internet (65.5% land phone (82.5%) and mobile phone (96.5%). Even though the findings reveal that professional women use these ICTs to access development information, the majority of the respondents (25%) use the radio to listen to news, television to watch the news also (18%), Internet for e-mail purposes (17%), Computer for working purposes (20%), landline phone (20%) and mobile phone (22.5%) for emergency purposes. The types of development information accessed using the ICTs include information on health, education, agriculture, gender issues, good governance, environment and water and sanitation. This information is mainly accessed in English. The main barriers professional women face to access and use ICTs include high costs of equipment, maintenance and connectivity (26%); limited knowledge and skills (22%); inadequate time (16.5%); limited connectivity (15.5%); lack of relevant content (9%); language barrier (4.5%); distance (4.5%) and marginalisation (2%).
Results from the field further reveal that professional women use other sources to access development information such as print newspapers, libraries or information centres, families and friends, women’s groups and church. The findings have also revealed that the majority of the respondents recognize the importance for them to have access to ICTs and development information.
Conclusions: From the findings, it is clear that ICTs have the potential to meet the development information needs of women. Thus women should take advantage of these technologies and use them to access information and knowledge in all aspects of development to increase their productivity, efficiency and income||en_US