Urban Community Access Program

Women's Focus Group
September 30, 1999

Discussion Questions - Key Points Made

         A key concern expressed was the reliance on volunteers to staff/manage CAP sites/arrangements. Women are already stretched with volunteer work and a program that will ultimately serve them but requires more of their volunteer time may be unrealistic.

  1. Potential User community - Who are all the possible groups or categories of women who currently do not have access?

    • Poor women
    • Housebound women
    • Seniors
    • Young women (high school +)
    • Single mothers
    • Women with physical and other disabilities
    • Homeless women
    • Women unaware of the benefits of the technology
    • Those with active resistance to technology
    • Those with fears around technology
    • Unemployed women
    • Underemployed women
    • Workforce re-entry women (40+)
    • Women in transition
    • Women entrepreneurs
    • Immigrant women
    • EAL women
    • Aboriginal women
    • Black women
    • Women volunteers
    • Women activists
    • Unskilled women
    • "Rural" women of HRM - more isolated

  2. What are the barriers to access? What are the particular IT needs of women that are not currently being met?

    • Training
    • Training locations
    • Bridging to the training
    • Proximity to computers and then familiarity
    • Support to get to training
    • Skills needed for another project/interest
    • No time

    How might barriers be addressed?

    • Find out what women's needs in general are not what their IT needs are and work through them
    • Relationship/familiarity with "computer helper/trainer"
    • Women only training
    • Self-help groups - women helping women
    • Coaches/mentors
    • Project or topic relevant training - leads to skills in computer/internet

  3. What type of training/support do women need? Are their needs different from other potential community users?

    • Must meet needs
    • Must be fun
    • Need to know what the opportunities are - awareness of potential benefits for them
    • Must meet needs of people who learn at different rates/speed
    • Must use lay language - no techno babble
    • Learn in "little pieces" - learn as you go
    • Requires on-site support from volunteer/friend/mentor/trainer
    • Must be hands on
    • Time of day, child care and transportation must be addressed
    • Online "women information" (e.g.: Webgrrls) meets needs of women at higher knowledge level - those with keen interest not beginners
    • Women need to know that CAP is:
      • means or tool to getting more information and skills
      • is a way to build community
      • is a way to communicate

  4. There are likely to be up to 30 access arrangements/sites in metro HRM. Do you think there is a need for separate sites/arrangement for women or do you think all sites need to be developed so that identified needs are addressed?

    • See comments under #3 above

  5. Where would you see the access being made available?

    • Must be at places where women currently go naturally
    • Must understand that schools/libraries are institutions of learning and may not appeal to some of the target groups (environment too intimidating)
    • Single parent/family resource centres

  6. Who else do you think we need to consult with?

    • People receiving service through service providers like single parent and family resource centres

  7. What are you thoughts about effective representation for women on the Steering Committee?

    • This question was not directly addressed due to time limitations. However, several participants expressed interest in being on the committee.


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