Chloé Zollman and Arpita Joshi had the opportunity to attend and participate in the Mobile Plus- International Conference on Inclusive Growth through Mobile Applications held in Chennai from the 15 to 17 September 2011. The three days of the conference were divided thematically. The first day looked at 'The emerging mobile landscape' covering a wide range of issues related to mobile development. The second day covered 'Strategies and applications' while the last day covered 'Communities and growth'.
On the third day, Chloé and Arpita were a part of the panel titled 'Mobile communities' and presented their paper 'Recasting the potential of mobile phones for gender equality'. The abstract is below:
Several unique qualities of the mobile such as its ability to keep an individual connected to networks all the time, allowing them to transcend temporal and spatial constraints along with an ability to morph and absorb the characteristics of other ICTs, has positioned it as an increasingly favoured tool for supporting development aspirations. Their exponential growth and penetration of the global south markets and the possibility of most populations in the south accessing the internet through the mobile has only added to the growing excitement. Using an information society framework, our paper examines the mobile phone phenomena, the ideologies which inform its architecture and usage in the development sector, focusing in particular, on the nature of the female subject thus created. The feminist view is incorporated with the hope of formulating analysis which encompasses the gendered nature of the emergent techno-social paradigm and a nuanced understanding of the possibilities the mobile technology might hold for breaking traditional gender norms and be truly transformative.
Arpita Joshi and Chloé Zollman