Rural Women and ICT Exposure in Tarai Region of Uttarakhand

Arpita Sharma* 
Dr. S. K. Kashyap**

The study was conducted with the objective of understanding the different communication sources of information used by rural women. A sample of 1000 respondents was selected through census method in Rudrapur block of Udham Singh Nagar district in Uttarakhand. Data was collected through semi-structured interview schedule, observation and focused group discussion. The collected data was analyzed through Frequency, Mean and Percentage. The study indicated that the respondents owned television and mobile phone. Majority of respondents used Information Communication Technologies for entertainment purposes. All the respondents used mobile phone and television regularly. Maximum respondents trusted the radio and Aanganwadi workers. Majority of rural women trusted the radio.

In contemporary world communication has become the backbone of any society striving for development. Effective communication with help from different sources and channels provides knowledge and information for rural women to modify behavior in a way that provides sustainable benefits to them. (Verma et. al, 2012). Communication is a basic need of all human beings and remains so throughout one’s life. It is a natural demand of individual and a requirement for social existence.

Information sources play a key role in communicating innovative technologies to the ultimate users. The useful information that they receive creates interest, promotes understanding, assists in mental evaluation and ultimately motivates them to make use of that information. Past research has shown that it is necessary to study the characteristics of communication. A study conducted in Karnataka showed that rural women received information from three major sources: (1) Books (2) Television (3) Internet (Singh, 2011). For obtaining information on child vaccination schedule radio was considered an effective media among the rural women of Maharastra (Yadav, 2012).

Meena and Sharma (2012) reported that 65 years after Independence the rural women were still ignorant about many activities that affect their day to day lives. Many developmental programmes have been launched by the government and NGOs for empowering rural women, but till today only half of the women are aware about of these programmes. Hence, there is an urgent need to disseminate useful information among rural women through Information Communication Technologies.

The heterogeneity of rural women in their ICT ownership, purpose of utilizing ICT, ICT credibility makes the communication more complex. For the successful communication among rural women, it is necessary to know the communication profile of rural women. Keeping this in view, the present study was undertaken with studying communication characteristics of rural women as one of its objectives.

Research Methodology

The present study was carried out in Rudrapur block of Udham Singh Nagar district of Uttarakhand state, which was selected primarily because it has a community radio station, Pantnagar Janvani. There are 69 villages in the Rudarpur block, out of which three villages, viz Jawaharnagar, Shantipuri No.2 and Gokulnagar were selected purposively. The main reason was that a community radio covers only a small geographical area, the low power transmission reaching not beyond a radius of 20-30 km. Pantnagar Janvani covers the villages within that geographical range. A sample of 1000 respondents was selected through the census method. Data was collected through semi-structured interview schedule, observation and focused group discussion. Prior interview respondents were taken into confidence by revealing the actual purpose of the study and full care was taken in to consideration and developed good rapport with them. The collected data was analyzed by the help of various statistical tools i.e. Frequency, Mean and Percentage.

Result and Discussion

ICT ownership, purpose of utilizing ICT, ICT exposure, ICT credibility were considered as communication characteristics of respondents. These characteristics were processed, analyzed and then presented in following tables.

(1) ICT ownership: It is clear from table 1 below that all the respondents (100 %) owned television followed by mobile (95.7 %) ownership, 22 % respondents read newspapers followed by 11.5 % who read magazines. Only 8 and 14 % respondents have radio receivers and internet connections respectively.

Table 1 : Distribution the respondent according to ICTs Ownership

(N=1000)

S.No. Category No. of Respondents Percentage*
1. Radio 80 8.0
2. Television 1000 100
3. Newspaper 220 22.0
4. Magazine 115 11.5
5. Mobile/Telephone 957 95.7
6. Computer 14 1.4

* Multiple responses were allowed

(2) Purpose of utilizing ICT: Data in table 2 indicates that television was the most widely used Information Communication Technology (100 %) followed by mobile (95.7 %) and newspaper (22 %) whereas, radio and internet and were used by only eight and 14 % respondents respectively. The purpose of using different Information Communication Technology may vary from individual to individual. From the findings of purpose of utilizing media, it was observed that majority of the respondents turned to television (90 %) for entertainment while very few were utilizing it for the purpose of information (10 %). Most of the respondents (11.5 %) read magazines for information purpose. As regards information utilization, 10 % respondents used newspapers for information purpose whereas only 12 % were using it for the purpose of education. Mobile phone was utilized by 95.7 % women for talking to their relatives. From the overall view, it can be concluded that maximum women utilized media for entertainment purpose rather than information and education purpose. They used modern media (mobile) for talking to their relatives.

Table2: Distribution of the respondents according to purpose of utilizing ICTs

(N=1000)

S.No. Category Information Entertainment Education Other
1. Radio 40 (4.0) 40 (4.0)
2. Television 100 (10.0) 900 (90.0)
3. Newspaper 100 (10.0) 120 (12.0)
4. Magazine 115 (11.5)
5. Mobile 957 (95.7)
6. Internet 14 (1.4)

* Figures in parentheses indicate percentage

(3) ICT exposure: The viewership of television was found to be regular among the majority of respondents (80.00 %). However, 20 % women viewed television occasionally. As regards the pattern of ICT use, 12 % respondents read newspapers occasionally while 10 % read them daily and 11.5 cent respondents read magazines rarely. All the respondents used the mobile phone when they talked to their relatives. Thus, it can be concluded that maximum respondents used Information Communication Technology occasionally.

Table 3: Distribution of the respondents according to ICT exposure

(N=1000)

S.No. Category Frequency of Media
Regularly Occasionally Rarely
N Percentage N Percentage N Percentage
1. Radio 80 80.0
2. Television 800 80.0 200 20.0
3. Newspaper 100 10.0 120 12.0
4. Magazine 115 11.5
5. Mobile 1000 100
6. Internet 14 1.4

(4) ICT Credibility: ICT credibility is the degree of trustworthiness attached by the respondent towards a particular medium. The data from table 4 reveals that a high number of the respondents (80 %) trusted the radio and Aanganwadi workers while 70 % respondents trusted television and health workers. Half the respondents (50 %) trusted newspaper.  Radio enjoyed high credibility as a source of farm information (Sharma and Kumar, 2010). Thus, it can be concluded that a large proportion trusts the radio and Aanganwadi workers.

Table 4: Distribution of the respondents according to ICTs Credibility

(N=1000)

S.No. Category Credible Less Credible
1. Radio 800 (80.0) 200 (20.0)
2. Television 700 (70.0) 300 (30.0)
3. Newspaper 500 (50.0) 500 (50.0)
4. Magazine 100 (10.0) 900 (90.0)
5. Health Worker 700 (70.0) 300 (30.0)
6. Anaganwadi Worker 800 (80.0) 200 (20.0)

* Figures in parentheses indicate percentage

Conclusion

This research study has revealed that communication profile is essential for effective communication in this era of ICT. The above findings show all the respondents owned television and mobile phone. The majority of respondents used ICT for entertainment purpose and quite regularly too. Most of the respondents trusted the radio and Aanganwadi workers while a majority of rural women trusted the radio.

It can be concluded that for successful communication among rural women, a study on ICT utilization pattern of rural women is necessary. The present study presented a complete picture about the ICT utilization pattern of rural women which would help in developing future programmes for rural women.

References

  1. Meena, M. L. and Sharma, N.K. (2012). Utilizing of Mass Media Communication Channel by Farm Women of Rajasthan. Journal of Communication Studies. Vol. XXX, No. 2, PP.118-124.
  2. Singh, M. (2011). Audience Profile of rural women in Karnataka. Journal of communication Studies. Vol. XXVII, NO.3, pp.15-19.
  3. Sharma, A. & Kumar B. (2010). Audience profile of women community radio listeners. Journal of Communication Studies.. Vol. XXVIII, NO.3, pp.50-59.
  4. Verma, S. K., Sengar, R. S., Yadav, K. N., Suryawanshi, R. K. (2012). Utilization pattern of different communication sources for seeking information about organic farming used by tribal farmers of Chhattisgarh.  Journal of Communication Studies. Vol. XXXI, No. 3, pp-54-59.
  5. Yadav M. (2012). Communication Profile of rural women in Maharastra. Journal of Extension Education. Vol. 32, No.3, pp-23-25.

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