Mobile phones have become boundless all over the world, including in rural and low-income communities. As research shows, these accessories have the abeyant to bring about cogent civic change – a fact accustomed in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

While the able role that mobile phones and other Advice and Communication Technologies could play in allotment women – decidedly in Afrika – has long been discussed, relatively little is known about how, when, and why this happens.

We conducted a study with women from the Nigerian city of Kano to see how they were using the mobile messaging account WhatsApp. We wanted to know whether the app had opened up opportunities and freedoms that contributed to allotment them.

Many women said that WhatsApp had accustomed them to acquaint better, decidedly with local politicians. They felt empowered to talk about their apropos openly in WhatsApp altercation groups. They had more access to information. Others joined religious study groups on WhatsApp, administration questions and adeptness with other women.

Some women adapted their access into opportunity. For instance, they advertised small businesses or casework on WhatsApp groups, and earned money as a result.

The women in our study were able to use WhatsApp groups to push the barriers of civic norms that assort them in gendered roles of mothers and housewives. Using this technology, they were able to become agents of their own change as well as make and exercise choices.

WhatsApp and the women in Kano

Kano is a predominantly Muslim community. It is in Kano state, which has one of Nigeria’s accomplished smartphone densities – about 7,81 million of the country’s 60 actor smartphone users live there.

First, we articular two women leaders in association groups to help us find participants for the study. These were called based on how actively they were affianced in association groups and they also needed to own a smart mobile phone. We did interviews and focus groups with a assorted group of women, asking how they used WhatApp and what allowances they felt this had.

Some had become more politically empowered. Murja’atu*, a 34-year-old housewife, said:

Her acquaintance was echoed by 28-year-old Safiya, a shop owner:

The bargain and simple form of administration advice on the groups added women’s adeptness to learn and get description about concepts that were cryptic to them. In other cases they were able to get help with their children’s homework.

This was mentioned again in the focus group affair as one of the things women valued the most about being part of a WhatsApp group.

WhatsApp also proved to be a admired source of advice about health and safety. For example, 41-year-old Asabe, one of the association group leaders, shared this story:

The focus groups participants again mentioned that WhatsApp groups made them feel like part of a community. There was a strong charge to alive calm and analytic problems.

Economic opportunities

The WhatsApp group forums have also enabled the women to conduct business sales by business their articles and services. These entrepreneurs usually send photos of the articles and casework to -to-be audience to have a absolute image of what they are planning to buy. A chump is accustomed to choose the method of acquittal and also the method of delivery.

These business women have also used WhatsApp to reach out to their barter on changes in prices. With the accepted bread-and-butter bearings in country, market prices alter on a daily basis. The women use the forum as a belvedere where they can post and altercate changes in market prices.

The women now have greater access to barter all over Nigeria. One said:

Postings about jobs and vacancies also formed part of the altercation in these WhatsApp groups. These jobs included domiciliary jobs, events and catering. Those who were absorbed usually acquaintance the administration and interviews were abiding using WhatsApp voice and video calls.

Positive impacts

The allegation of this study show that income generation, saving opportunities, amplification of businesses were all bread-and-butter capabilities that were broadcast and afforded to the women by the use of mobile phones.

The use of mobile phones also led to other capabilities that covered other aspects of human development and that have altered impacts on the lives of these women and their communities.

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