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Towards understanding the gender digital divide: a systematic literature review

Ali Acilar (Department of Information Systems, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway)
Øystein Sæbø (Department of Information Systems, University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway)

Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication

ISSN: 2514-9342

Article publication date: 16 December 2021

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to address the gender digital divide through the adoption of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by reviewing existing knowledge within the field. This paper explores the characteristics and factors contributing to the gender digital divide. To bridge the gender digital divide, it is important to understand the factors behind gender differences in ICT access and use.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, the systematic literature review was conducted in accordance with the preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses (PRISMA) approach. In total, 24 articles were selected and analysed with using PRISMA steps.

Findings

Despite a significant increase in usage of the internet and other ICTs around the world, women, especially in developing countries, tend to be on the wrong side of the digital divide. The results indicate that while there are still gender differences in access to ICT in developing countries, second-level digital divide issues are more of a concern in developed countries. In the literature, several important factors have been identified as being associated with the gender digital divide. The results highlight the importance of implementable policies to bridge the gender digital divide, as well as how sociocultural factors play an important role in explaining the gender digital divide phenomenon.

Originality/value

By identifying the gender digital divide studies’ characteristics and factors contributing to the gender digital divide, the authors provide an overview of the existing research, allowing us to discuss future research needs within the field. The authors argue that more research is needed to understand how to better address the sociocultural factors affecting the gender digital divide, to understand why equal access seems not to result in equal use and, to understand the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the gender digital divide.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research received no external funding.

Citation

Acilar, A. and Sæbø, Ø. (2021), "Towards understanding the gender digital divide: a systematic literature review", Global Knowledge, Memory and Communication, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/GKMC-09-2021-0147

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2021, Emerald Publishing Limited

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