Village Phone Program, Commodification Of Mobile Phone Set And Empowerment Of Women
AbstractThe objective of the article is to examine the role of the Village Phone (VP) Program of the Grameen Bank in the empowerment of women. The article takes a case study approach that draws on a close examination of the literatures on the VP Program in Bangladesh, its role in providing telephone service to rural people, creating income opportunities for the rural women (who predominantly operate the owner-operated village pay-phone program) and thereby empowering them. We find that the VP empowered village women economically and socially by reducing and/or eliminating their dependence on other members of their families and giving them increased roles in family decision making. The empowering role of the VP also spilled over to its users. The article demonstrates how an innovative idea by social entrepreneurs in the Information and Communication Technology ( ICT) sector can act as change agent in transforming the lot of rural poor women by empowering them and making them self reliant.
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