ETIQUETAS: Caribbean, mobile usage, gender, mobility
This project provides background information as the foundation for a more intensive study to be entitled ‘Genderstanding Mobile Telephony: Women, Men and their Use of the Cellular Phones in the Caribbean’ on usage of mobile telephony by men and women across varied age ranges in the region. The data suggests that telephony has undergone dramatic transitions over the last five years. From an overwhelming presence of wire-line technology, the regional industry is now dominated by wireless subscribers getting service mainly through an interlocking network of cellular sites. The mobility spawned by this wireless revolution has had differentiated impacts on how men and women now utilize the telephone. These trends are reflected in differing social classes, rural and urban areas and among men and women of differing ages.
Strong demographic data on social groups in the Caribbean are provided as a context for understanding mobile usage. The term ‘genderstanding’, borrowed from the work of Meryl James Sebro, is used to describe a nuanced understanding of gender relationships as they affect people in domestic, community and other social and cultural contexts.
The logic of ‘genderstanding’ is to deepen and share understandings and sensitivity and to bridge unequal power relations between women and men. The concept can be extended to developing a better understanding of the social divide between the rich and the poor and their relationship to technologies such as the mobile telephone. The focus of this study in its present form is on the English-speaking Caribbean for which data are currently available. But some attention is paid to trends in the linguistic groups in the region.