This research aims to explore the restrictions and limitations girls face in access to and use of computers in secondary schools in Northern Malawi, as well as discussing the implications this has for girls and their role in Malawian society, the ICT sector and computer education. Using a framework of literature on ICT access, feminist empowerment and computer access and use in education, the study uses qualitative analysis of both quantitative and qualitative findings. Using varying methods; observation, questionnaire, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups, the study triangulated to achieve valid results.
The research found four recurring themes to explain lack of girls in computer education; male dominance, time constraints, role models, motivation, and future prospects, and gender neutrality. Through the analysis, the findings suggest that there are wider consequences of girls’ lack of engagement, for the girls’ own personal development, the development of a Malawian ICT sector, and effects on the progress towards gender equality. In conclusion, the male dominance in society is the main culprit and is connected to all other findings. By not acknowledging the structural gender inequality, there is little prospects of progress or positive outcomes of programs aimed at girls’ meaningful access to computer education.