Access and Beyond: An Intersectional Approach to Women’s Everyday Experiences with ICTs
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are seen as the pathway not just to
(economic) development, but key to ensuring good governance and removing social inequality.
At the heart of this narrative is the assumption that technology is neutral and an a priori source
for good which can be used for the inclusion of marginalised communities. Through in‐depth
interviews with working class women in New Delhi, India, my paper seeks to understand how
an intersectional social location affects women’s experiences with ICTs, and argues that they
are mired in complex ways with structures of caste, gender, class and education. The study
builds on feminist insights that technology must be seen as a set of practices, deeply implicated
in power relations. Thus, young women’s usage of mobile phones is shaped by upper-caste
norms of femininity. For other women, ICTs become a nuisance which allow employers more
access to them. This paper underscores the importance of a more bottom-up understanding of
the ways in which technology and society shape each other, and reflects on implications for
policymaking and future scholarship.