Mobile phones as amplifiers of social inequality among rural Kenyan women

Susan Wyche, Nightingale Simiyu, Martha E. Othieno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 1 Citations

Abstract

This article provides a detailed analysis of rural Kenyan women and their interactions with the products and services of Safaricom Ltd., Kenya's dominant mobile network provider. The amplification theory of technology offers a framework for analyzing our data, and we find that differential motivation and capacity are mechanisms that appear to benefit the network provider, while disadvantaging rural mobile phone owners. In particular, the design of Safaricom's airtime scratch cards andmobile services does not support rural users' capabilities. Our analysis suggests that technologists consider their ongoing responsibilities for technologies they built yesterday-that is, they should address problems inherent in the current design of mobile-phone interfaces. We offer practical recommendations on how to do this, and ask HCI/ICTD researchers and practitioners to more carefully consider how overlooking corporate power structures and their impact on mobile phone use amplifies social inequality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Volume23
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Profile

Mobile phones
Human computer interaction
Amplification
Wireless networks

Keywords

  • Amplification theory
  • Design
  • HCI4D
  • ICTD
  • Kenya
  • M-Pesa
  • Mobile phones
  • Rural
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human-Computer Interaction

Cite this

Mobile phones as amplifiers of social inequality among rural Kenyan women. / Wyche, Susan; Simiyu, Nightingale; Othieno, Martha E.

In: ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 23, No. 3, 14, 01.05.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wyche, Susan; Simiyu, Nightingale; Othieno, Martha E. / Mobile phones as amplifiers of social inequality among rural Kenyan women.

In: ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, Vol. 23, No. 3, 14, 01.05.2016.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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