Gender Praxis: Rural Fiji radio and mobile devices
Ashiyan Rahmani-Shirazi will be presenting the School of IT seminar with his PhD dissertation work and a talk entitled, "Gender Praxis: Rural Fiji radio and mobile devices"
This communications study looks at gender-based self-reflexive theoretically guided practice, “praxis,” to explore the way in which a women's community media organization, femLINKpacific, pursues its goals of enhancing women's participation in governance structures and resiliency to extreme weather conditions. This study contributes to the nascent literature on mobile device and radio interaction by exploring the way in which women in rural Fiji utilize mobile devices to interact with femTALK, the community radio station of femLINKpacific. The study is based on the theoretical frameworks of inclusive innovation, post-development theory, and participatory communications theory in the context of gender-based ICT4D. Two main platforms, Mobile Suitcase Radio (MSR), a portable radio platform, and Women’s Weather Watch (WWW), a mobile-phone based weather reporting network, and an additional non-mediated communication venue of monthly women’s gatherings were explored through a 3-phase study, utilizing interviews and focus groups, with radio station staff and women leader’s networks. Main findings included the role of WWW to transmit information for preparedness for Tropical Cyclone Winston, and indigenous food practices shared through the various platforms, as well as the role of MSR, when used in conjunction with the issues shared at the monthly consultations, to bring greater awareness to the women’s “voice.” This study extends to understanding the role of mutually supportive, systematic processes to enhance women's participation in governance structures, including the role and effectiveness of inter-ethnic groups in addressing community issues, and capacity building through incremental acclimatizing activities.