A Study on the Gender Digital Divide: Overcoming the Under-Representation of South African Women in the IT Sector

Seetha Nesaratnam, Tengudzeni Nkosingiphile Mamba, Jugindar Singh Kartar Singh

Abstract


In South Africa, women are grossly underrepresented in the Information Technology (IT) sector result of gender stereotyping and discrimination. According to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) Report (2017), only 21% of executives in the IT sector are women. This has caused high unemployment of women IT graduates. The purpose of this study therefore is to explore and investigate the antecedents that influence and impact the phenomenon of the gender digital divide in South Africa. The study explores new antecedents of the digital gender divide that influences motivation of women to participate in the IT sector. This study used a qualitative approach through in-depth interviews of South African women in the IT sector. The rich volume of data collected was analysed via a thematic analysis. The analysis confirmed existing antecedents gleaned from literature and also uncovered three new dimensions, namely, networking, impartial mentorship and HR as motivators for women in the IT sector. The findings of the study also provides for a better understanding on the barriers that perpetuate the unequal gender gap problem especially in managerial and leadership roles. 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/bms.v9i2.13376

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