Moving the centre without Conflict; Gender and Virtual Empowerment in Higher Education

Esther Gandari, Judith Tafangombe


There is a wide gap between women’s access to education and women’s empowerment in a
patriarchal society Schmidt (1996). In addressing marginalization, women in Southern Africa
have made significant achievements and have excelled in a variety of fields, including the
male domain Gandari & Mutsau (2014). This has been possible due to emergent technologies
which present new opportunities for women by empowering them in obtaining higher education,
playing an active process of construction of knowledge, attitudes and values as well as
developing skills using a variety of resources such as printed material and electronic media
Frissen, (2000). This article investigates how four African housewives successfully moved the
centre without conflict in their families especially with their husbands by getting educated
using web-based technologies across face-to-face, online, and virtual world classes with communication
tools that are synchronous, asynchronous, and automated pre-scripted. The study
is qualitative and captures the narratives of the women using the ODL mode in successfully
changing their circumstances while attending to their roles as mothers and wives in their
kitchens. Qualitative research seeks to build a holistic largely narrative description of phenomena.
This is appropriate for this study because it seeks to explore lived experiences of
women who managed to access and improve their education through use of technology. The
integration of E-learning, which is the application of information and communication technologies
in a wide array of solutions, improves knowledge and performance. The results were
IT supported learning helped some of the women to acquire the necessary skills knowledge for
their job without taking time off their traditional roles and duties in household work for
example, cooking skills.

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