Access to technology makes women and disadvantaged happier

By Nicola Brittain
12 May 2010 View Comments
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Access to IT has a statistically significant positive impact on the lives of women and those on lower income

Access to IT has a statistically significant positive impact on the lives of women and those on lower income according to a report conducted by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Called ‘The Information Dividend: Can IT make you happier?’ the report is based on an analysis of the World Values Survey, with responses from more than 35,000 people across the world.

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‘Put simply, people with IT access are more satisfied with life even when taking account of income,’ said the study’s author, social scientist Michael Willmott.

‘Our analysis suggests that IT has an enabling and empowering role in people’s lives by increasing their sense of freedom and control, which has a positive impact on well-being or happiness,’ he continued.

Women and those on lower incomes or with fewer educational qualifications benefit most from access to and use of IT and appear to benefit more than those on higher incomes or with more qualifications.

The study also suggests that women in developing nations benefit even more than those in the developed world.

The reports findings suggest there may well be an ‘information dividend’ – a personal and social benefit which comes from access to information and IT.

Elizabeth Sparrow, President, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT said: "The ‘Information Society’, as we see it, should be a place where information technology is used to improve life satisfaction and support our individual and collective goals, not to erode or undermine them. The IT profession should be here to serve that purpose."

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