The Text Messaging Gender Divide in India

By Robert Shuter

I’m traveling to Boston this week to present my research at the ICA (International Communication Association) on the gender text messaging divide in India. This study follows up last year’s ICA paper and, now published article (with colleague Sumana Chattopadhyay) on “textiquettes” in India and the U.S.

Although text messaging has exploded in popularity worldwide, there is scant research on the social and interpersonal norms guiding its use, particularly when communicators send or read texts while conversing with others. In our recent published cross-cultural study of text messaging, it was found that culturally different “textiquettes” – emerging interpersonal norms of text messaging –were quickly developing in India and the U.S. and appeared to be linked to indigenous cultural values in each society. While different textiquettes were identified for both countries, one question remained: Why did women in India engage in text messaging patterns that were significantly different than their female and male counterparts in both countries?

My ICA paper explores this question, identifying socio-cultural forces that influence text messaging of women in India and fuel the gender text messaging divide.

Robert Shuter is a Professor of Communication Studies in the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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