There is a lot of interest in using mobile phones as the “last mile” connectivity for providing various services in rural India: Services ranging widely from education, awareness building, and a variety of health services. Many of these services are intended for women.
My team’s study of women farmers’ access to and usage of mobile phones has thrown up some fascinating insights.
For example, while only 10-25% of women farmers own mobile phones, the majority have access to phones at some point in the day. Our survey shows that women have access to mobile phones typically from 3 – 5 pm and 7 – 11 pm in rural Karnataka and from 7 – 9 am in Odisha.
But access does not mean attention: Competing with TV watching time and saas-bahu dramas can only lead to ineffective outcomes. Therefore, our study concluded that the best time to provide women farmers information through alerts or pre-recorded messages is between 3 – 5 pm and 9 – 11 pm in rural Karnataka and between 7 – 9 am in rural Odisha.
Intriguing, isn’t it?
Programs targeting women often fail to understand the nuances of how women actually live and work, even though attention to detail such as this is critical for their success.
Read the full report with information on rural women’s ownership, access and usage of mobile phones here.