Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Gender, Cash, and the Mobile in Papua New Guinea

We are happy to share our most recent working paper, written by Supriya Singh and Yaso Nadarajah: "School Fees, Beer and 'Meri': Gender, Cash, and the Mobile in the Morobe Province of Papua New Guinea". From the abstract:
We combine the perspectives of the anthropology and sociology of money with user-centred design to explore how the use of cash in rural and remote Papua New Guinea will shape the use of mobile money. Drawing on 13 open-ended interviews, group interviews involving 100 persons, and participant observation over two visits to Morobe province in 2010 and 2011, we found cash is used for school fees, mobile phones, household goods, transport, beer, cards, women and gifting to wantok, that is, people connected by descent or place. Cash is individually controlled and women’s savings are often hidden in pandanus walls or locked cupboards. Women control cash from gardens and the re-selling of betel nuts and cigarettes. Men take the larger share of cash from coffee and control the ‘big money’ from mining. Mobile money, if appropriately designed, can reinforce the privacy and security of cash and savings, facilitate gifting to wantok, and lead to greater financial inclusion of women.
Click here to read our working paper!

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