About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN22 Proceedings
Publication year: 2022
Pages: 6738-6745
ISBN: 978-84-09-42484-9
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2022.1587
Conference name: 14th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2022
Location: Palma, Spain
Migrant women face many difficulties to integrate into their host society. Within the European Union, they are one of the most disadvantaged groups in terms of labor market participation and social inclusion. Furthermore, due to digital development, the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) has become necessary but is also a source of significant inequalities. Indeed, the digital divide affects many people, including migrants. The fight against illiteracy and digital illiteracy is therefore a key issue for their successful socio-economic and cultural integration. The illiterate immigrant population is confronted with two kinds of challenges: to understand the language of the host country and to be able to use digital tools effectively. The resulting inequalities particularly affect women. Most of them have never had the opportunity to use a computer or other digital devices. They have often never even been to school and cannot read or write. To overcome this, digital literacy programs have been developed to enable these people to use digital tools and to transfer the acquired skills into their everyday life (Brotcorne & Valenduc, 2013; Fischer, 2013; Marchal, 2019; Schmidt, 2017). The objectives of our research were to assess the contribution of digital literacy courses to the civic empowerment of immigrant women and to identify their needs and difficulties to integrate into (digital) society. We used a mixed methodology: after accompanying them during their digital training, we conducted exploratory interviews with 7 volunteer women; we then asked 20 women to complete a survey based on our first results. Among these women, most were from an African country (17/20 or 85%). They were 40.95 years old on average. They lived in Belgium for varying periods (from a few months to several years). Our results show that, according to these women, the digital literacy courses enabled them to make progress in their use of digital tools, but also to develop their self-confidence, their sense of responsibility, their critical thinking, their well-being, and their openness to the world. They also consider that these courses take into account their difficulties and needs in order to empower them. In order to integrate into society and support their families, they want to obtain Belgian nationality and get a job. Digital literacy enables them to carry out some computerized administrative procedures necessary to achieve these objectives. It is therefore an important tool for their socio-professional integration. In addition to digital skills, it appears that this training enables migrant women to develop social and personal skills that allow them to become autonomous and independent citizens in their host society, responsible for their own development.
Immigrant women, digital literacy, ICT skills, citizen empowerment, social integration.