Monday, 15 July 2013

ipads and female empowerment

It's long been claimed that access to mobile phones has helped empower women in various poorer, more traditional countries, by allowing them to have conversations outside of the immediate family group.

We have of course, also, over the last few years, had the facebook phenomenon in various countries where facebook has become a platform for political discourse and social change.

I also wonder whether we might see a similar effect indirectly due to the adoption of iPads in various of the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia.

This is completely unscientific, but when we were in Sri Lanka we stayed a number of days at a reasonably nice resort in Habarana as a base for visiting Sigiriya and Polunaruwa.

For some reason this resort also appeared to be particularly popular with families from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. While their menfolk were dressed in western clothes, almost to a woman the women were dressed head to toe in a black burka. There were variations, some were clearly more stylish than others, and there was the occasional woman who dared to walk round with her husband with her veil up and her face exposed to feel the sun.

But the interesting thing is that they all had iPads, and walked round the resort using  them. Not every person who uses an iPad is of course a potential revolutionary, but of course it opens a window on the outside world, and perhaps provides a way for women to communicate outside of the family group ...

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