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Instagram: its influence to psychologically empower women

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Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether posting on Instagram contributes to empowerment and through what mechanisms.

Design/methodology/approach

A sample of 372 women instagrammers from Kuwait participated in the survey. LISREL 8.2 was used to perform confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modeling, employing the maximum likelihood estimation method.

Findings

Instagram posts have direct and indirect effects on psychological empowerment. The indirect effect appears through two perceptual mechanisms: sense of self-efficacy and sense of community (SOC). The former provides women with a sense of mastery and control and the latter gives them the perception of belonging to a community that equips individual participants with a collective efficacy. Of the two mechanisms, the SOC plays a more significant role in creating psychological empowerment. Having a sense of virtual community, as opposed to participating in real ones, can act as catalyst in creating empowerment.

Originality/value

This study investigates the impact of a recent new technology, namely, Instagram, in regions where women are marginalized for generations. Instagram is important, because images, photo captions, short texts and hashtags are vital elements of communication in the present day. Furthermore, women are twice as likely to think highly of a brand that makes an empowering ad and are more likely to share, comment and like the ads.
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Keywords: Collective efficacy; Digital divide; Electronic mediated environment; Gender; Perceptions

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: College of Business, Gulf University for Science and Technology, Kuwait City, Kuwait 2: College of Arts, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia 3: Kuwait Maastricht Business School, Kuwait City, Kuwait

Publication date: December 3, 2018

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