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Accepted Paper:

Empowering rural women artisans in the Thar desert: bridging the digital divide through collaborative innovation  
Jaya Kritika Ojha (Central University of Rajasthan)

Short abstract:

Examining challenges faced by rural women artisans in the Thar Desert accessing digital technology amidst socio-economic, environmental, and post-pandemic factors. Proposing a Digital Ecosystem Framework for Rural-Digital Crafts Resource Centres to enhance their income and social status.

Long abstract:

The Thar Desert is a resource-scarce region in western Rajasthan in India. Agriculture production is limited in region and non-farm activities substitute the income of rural communities for their livelihoods. There exists a cadre of rural women artisans, skilled in embroidery craft, makes beautiful products to support their families, but due to the socio-economic structure of the society, women artisans are not able to progress much. Owing to lack of skills, digital technology, access to new and emerging markets, bargaining power, and relevant and most updated information, women enterprises lack advanced entrepreneurial skills and technological support to innovate marketing and sales for the emerging markets. Examining the challenges faced by these artisans in accessing digital technology amidst social, economic, environmental, and pandemic aspects, the study explores the interconnected systems, processes, and variables influencing their digital empowerment and the role of partnerships with external organisations, financial institutions and CSRs in establishing digital hubs for women artisans in remote areas. Employing an explanatory sequential design and a mixed-methods approach, the research uses multistage clustered sampling in the Thar Desert's four districts with 400 sample size. Findings reveal obstacles such as poverty, limited resources, and traditional roles hindering women artisans' digital engagement. It suggests of collaborative efforts and proposes The Digital Ecosystem Framework to establish Rural-Digital Crafts Resource Centres. The multifaceted strategy is required for digital ecosystem development, emphasising digital infrastructure, capacity building, access to e-markets, financial inclusion, government support, and data-driven decision-making to enhance the income and status of rural women artisans.

Traditional Open Panel P013
Social innovation: forms, evidence, and perspectives
  Session 2 Wednesday 17 July, 2024, -