Information and communication technologies: enhancing women entrepreneurship and productivity in the textile cottage industry
The textile cottage industry is important in employment creation, income and profits generation and foreign currency earning for a country through exports. The pursuit of women entrepreneurship in the textile cottage industries acts as an instrument towards their emancipation, consistent with the MDG # 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empower Women; and SDG #5: Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls. This paper focuses on how information and communication technology could enhance productivity in the cottage textiles in Zimbabwe. The study was qualitative in nature, employing non-probability sampling techniques. Semi structured interviews were administered to representatives of Ministries of Information and Communications Technology, Small-Medium Enterprises, and Women Affairs, Gender and Community Development to investigate policy issues. Focus group discussions were conducted on 67 participants selected from a total of 370 representatives of women entrepreneurs. The study primarily used thematic analysis tool for data analysis. Findings of the study showed that the textile cottage industry largely operated manual systems, had inconsistent connectivity, inadequate energy power systems, product innovations were inhibited, and disjoint information and communications technologies. To enhancing entrepreneurships and sustainable productivity it was recommended that textile cottage industry adopted robust information and communication technology strategies.