Household access trends revealed general equity between men and women, but women did fall behind in terms of new ICT use.
There does not seem to be a general access divide between men and women showed for most media devices and ICTs, as measured by household access rates measured by the Uganda surveys. However, male respondents were more likely than females to say they use various media and ICTs than women (see media use below), raising the question of whether women are actually able to use various devices that are in their households.
Household Access and Ownership
- Radio is the most important medium in Uganda; more than 80 percent of both men and women said that they have a radio at home.
- In comparing levels of household access, television was the only other traditional media that was a distant second (see chart 1). Between 2007 and 2008, access to televisions at home increased by 4-5 percentage points for men and women.
- Other devices such as video recorders and DVD players have yet to become easily accessible for men or women.
- Mobile phones are the most accessible ICT device in Uganda; but here we see a gender divide-men are 10 percentage points more likely to have access to one than women, according to the survey.
- Other ICT access at home such as for computer/laptops or the internet is very rare. Those people who said they are internet users were more likely to log on at a cyber café (57 percent of men and 56 percent of women who were internet users).
- Men were also more likely to have access to the internet at other locations such as work and school/college- where they are more likely to be than women in the first place. Thirty percent men said they have access at work versus only 21 percent of women. Similarly, 13 percent of men said they have web access at school/college versus only 6 percent of women.
Traditional Media Use
- In general, men and women both listened to the radio in equal proportions; however men were more likely than women to use radio to be informed about political issues (by about 10 percentage points). Radio use has remained high and stable between 2007 and 2008 for both men and women.
- Leaving radio use aside, gender inequalities were seen when the respondents were asked about the frequency of their media use. Men were 11 percentage points more likely to watch television and read newspapers than women respondents in the previous week (chart 3).
- Between 2007 and 2008, men’s television use increased by percentage points from 23 percent to 34 percent. For women, the increase was much milder- by 4 percentage points from 19 percent to 23 percent. Newspaper use has not changed much between 2007 and 2008 (not shown in chart).
Communal Media Consumption in Uganda
- For both radio and television, we see greater proportions of men and women claiming weekly use (chart 3) than those who said they had household access (chart 1).
- In fact, nearly twice the number of men who said they own TV sets at home also said they watched TV in the previous week. This could signify a more communal watching approach to television. For women the difference was not as large (18 percent had household access, while 23 percent had weekly use).
- When asked where they watched television, 24 percent of men said they watch television in public places as opposed to only 10 percent of women. Men also said they were most likely to go watch television in public places during news (18 percent men versus 10 percent women)
- Thirteen percent of both men and women claimed that they watch television in someone else’s household.
- While, a little over 80 percent men and women had radio access at home (chart 1 above), close to 95 percent of men and women had listened to radio in the previous week.
- Men were more likely to listen to radio in public places than women-22 percent for men versus 16 percent for women. Close to 35 percent of men and women has listened to radio in someone else’s household, while 12 percent men (versus 7 percent women) had listened to radio at work.
New Media Use
- As Chart 4 shows above, internet use is still in its nascent stages in Uganda. Both men and women showed very little use, although men had higher use than women.
- In contrast, mobile phone use for making calls, SMS text messaging and listening to the radio increased for both men and women between 2007 and 2008 as chart 5 shows.
Chart 5 Uganda: Growth in Mobile Phone Household Access and Use by Gender (2007-2008)
- As ownership increased, so did mobile phone use. This increase in mobile activities was seen not just for making calls, but also for SMS texting and listening to radio on mobile phones.
- In general, in 2007 and 2008, men showed higher use at every stage- for making calls as wells as for SMS texting and listening to radio
- It is interesting to note that respondents using mobile phones to make calls on mobile phones are higher than those who claim to have household access to one. This could signify that there might be mobile sharing between friends and family or through mobile kiosks in Uganda. Both men and women show this trend- although they both have different levels of household access, they are somewhat equally likely to have higher use.
- This trend of higher use compared to level of access (possibly via borrowing) is not seen when it comes to SMS texting or listening to the radio on cell phones. Men are more likely to use mobile phones for SMS and listening to radio than women.
Other Means of Communication and Accessing Information
- Given the low use of internet in Uganda, convergence of mediums through activities such as reading a newspaper online, which is becoming more common in nations with greater connectivity, is yet to become very popular in Uganda for either gender. Nevertheless, listening to radio on cell phones is more common than other activities in chart 6. Here too, men are more likely to do so than women. Men are also more likely to participate in radio and TV shows by calling in or sending an SMS.
- In addition to traditional media such as radio and television as well as ICTs, Ugandan men and women also access information in their outdoor environment (chart 7). Men tend to look at posters more than women, although since proportions are low overall- this is not a prime source of information for either gender. Fliers and leaflets are very unpopular for both genders, and men seem only slightly more inclined to look at them.