Centre for Community Informatics, Research, Development and Training (CCIRDT)
This study follows Seelampur women who participate in the ICTD project at the Gender Resource Center from the doorsteps of the ICT center into their everyday lives. This paper explores the impact of new technologies on minority women and work in the resettlement colony of Seelampur and other institutional sites of labor through an extended period of fieldwork observations and interviews. One of the main aims of the Seelampur ICT and development project is to empower minority women to participate with equity in the modern labor force. How does work and participation in the labor force change for Seelampur women after their participation in the new technology and development project? The study argues that that there is a gap between the promises associated with new technologies and resultant actual employment for young women. Learning computers is considered to be necessary in the modern world and a promising means of finding work but computer literacy does not often produce desired employment and changes in everyday lives for Seelampur women. The study further tracks women who have been able to find work after the computer literacy programs in two fields including home-based computer businesses and in the emerging service and retail sector in India. In home-based computer literacy businesses, teaching computers is often integrated with “women’s work” at home including taking care of large families and informal work for the manufacturing sector and consequently devalued within the extended family system. Among Seelampur project participants, ticketing and service sector jobs in the Delhi Metro Rail system and private airlines are seen as valuable venues of work but these jobs must be understood in the broader global and institutional context of “pink-collar” work that can place young women in vulnerable positions in the sexual division of labor. Drawing from feminist and critical scholarship on ICTD policies and practice in India and the global south, this article examines gendered shifts and construction of personal and ‘professional” identities among young women who are the subjects for ICTD projects in a local community that constantly interacts and interfaces with global concerns and forces.
Sarkar, S. (2010). Women at Work and Home: New Technologies and Labor among Minority Women in Seelampur, Journal of Community Informatics, 5(3)/6(1). http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/article/view/531/518