If Disrupted

Digital Devide

The term digital divide refers to unequal access to modern information and communications technologies (ICT), including hardware, software and the internet. This term originally emerged in the US in the 1990s to initially describe physical access to computers and later, the internet. A digital divide is usually related to demographics such as education level, socio-economic conditions and geographical location: mainly the differences in access between urban and rural areas and globally, between developed and developing countries (although there are also many exceptions). Other factors and correlations include gender, racial, (physical and mental) disability and age gaps. Education levels, especially primary illiteracy and financial abilities/poverty remain the most significant determinants of a digital divide.

In contemporary meaning, a digital divide describes not only the difficulties of accessing infrastructure (broadband internet connection, 4G/3G) and equipment (smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets) but also the varying levels of skill and digital literacy. Lack of technical knowledge on how to use a computer (or the internet) and how to find and use information and resources are some of the most important factors in the digital divide, as is the quality of information accessed and its interpretation and understanding. The digital divide disadvantages people affected by it in terms of their ability to participate in education, work, the economy and social connections.

According to the UN, in 2021, only about half of the world’s population had access to the Internet, with developing countries and women being the majority of the digitally excluded. For instance, 22% of Africans have internet access compared to 80% of Europeans and globally, internet users are 62% men and 57% women. (Alicja Rogalska)

Alicja Rogalska
Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas
Sabīne Šnē
Yevgenia Belorusets