Abstract: This study investigates the economic empowerment of rural women entrepreneurs by exploring the role of digital platforms, with a particular focus on social media platforms. The research aims to investigate how the utilization of these digital tools can positively impact the economic growth and empowerment of women entrepreneurs in rural areas. Data was collected from women entrepreneurs in Siaya County, Kenya, using a survey research design. The study analyzed the frequency and extent of social media platform usage for various business functions, such as sales, marketing, customer relationship services, and online banking. Additionally, the research examined the relationship between social media platform usage and women's economic empowerment using statistical models, including correlation and regression analyses. The findings demonstrate that social media platforms, especially WhatsApp and Facebook, play a significant role in advancing women's economic empowerment. However, the usage of these platforms by rural women entrepreneurs remains below average, indicating a need for increased awareness and support. The study highlights that digital platforms enhance productivity, reduce costs, and improve business efficiency, leading to improved health outcomes and environmental benefits. Online sales, facilitated by social media, enable entrepreneurs to expand their markets beyond geographical boundaries, reaching a broader customer base and achieving higher profit margins. These higher profits contribute to business expansion, job creation, and improved living standards, while also offering opportunities for investment in environmental development initiatives. Overall, this research underscores the transformative potential of digital platforms, particularly social media, in fostering economic growth and gender empowerment among rural women entrepreneurs. Policymakers and stakeholders can leverage these insights to develop targeted initiatives and support mechanisms that encourage more women to embrace digital tools for business growth, ultimately contributing to economic development and gender equity in rural communities.

Keywords: Digital Platforms, Social Media Platforms, Women Empowerment, Entrepreneurship, Women Entrepreneurs, Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn

Works Cited:

Roselida Maroko Ongare "Exploring the Economic Empowerment of Rural Women Entrepreneurs through Digital Platforms: An Investigation into the Utilization of Social Media Platforms", IJARCCE International Journal of Advanced Research in Computer and Communication Engineering, vol. 12, no. 7, pp. 308-316, 2023. Crossref https://doi.org/10.17148/IJARCCE.2023.12741

PDF | DOI: 10.17148/IJARCCE.2023.12741

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