transfer 26(2) » Rezeptions- und Wirkungsforschung

Effectiveness of the Kenyan government’s measures for the digital political empowerment of young disadvantaged women

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) such as the internet bear the potential to empower its users in many ways (Diamond, 2010). However, most studies focus on the economic implications of this phenomenon while political effects, especially on marginalized groups, receive less attention. Therefore, this bachelor thesis examines the effectiveness of the Kenyan government measures on the digital political empowerment of young disadvantaged women (YDW).

Firstly, drawing onto different empowerment approaches a functional definition was established. Followingly, in order to gather the necessary data to evaluate the Kenyan governments measures explorative expert interviews were conducted. These focused on researchers within the field of gender and development, ICTs and NGOs in Kenya as well as former-, and current Kenyan government employees. Afterwards, the interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis as an inductive category formation based on Mayring (2015). Two selection criteria were defined in order to determine the specific disadvantages/age range of Kenyan women and to assess challenges to the applied measures.

Within the interviews ten categories were found describing the disadvantages of Kenyan women, reaching from difficulties in accessing ICT´s to basic challenges such as lack of nutrition and time restrictions. The Kenyan government measures were challenged by the pre-established disadvantages, especially the women’s ability to access digital devices or connectivity points, also related to their status within society. Even when access was possible the effectiveness was hampered by programs not focusing on women in particular. This can also be linked to a disinterest in engaging women in politics and enact YDW friendly measures. Thereby, a further engagement of YDW in the ICT policy-making process seems recommendable as well as disaggregating more data on YDW´s program usage. Further research should be conducted to identify types of relevant content to YDW and the origin of the lacking political will towards YDW.