More women in South Asia using mobile internet

More and more women in South Asia are now using mobile internet services, even though the underlying gender gap in smartphone ownership persists, according to the latest GSMA report. Gender gap on mobile to study.

In its fourth year, the study found that the gender gap in mobile internet use in South Asia has narrowed from 50% in 2019 to 36% in 2020, narrowing the overall gap of mobile internet use in low- and middle-income countries from 19% to 15.%.

When it comes to smartphone ownership, women were 15% less likely to own a smartphone than men in low- and middle-income countries, up from 20% in 2019. This is largely due to the higher number. of smartphone owners in Southeast Asia, thanks to a lower cost. handsets and data, according to Claire Sibthorpe, head of connected women, connected society and assistive technology at the GSMA.

Sibthorpe said the Covid-19 restrictions in India had also provided socially acceptable justifications for women to go online to access educational resources. This had not been the case before, as strong social norms in some parts of the country prevented women from using a phone, she added.

Gains in South Asia, however, have been masked by stagnation in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. Women in both regions now face a similar gender gap in mobile internet use, with 37% of women in sub-Saharan Africa using mobile internet services.

The GSMA noted that affordability, lack of literacy and digital skills, and low awareness of mobile internet were critical and common barriers for women. Even when women had the same levels of education, income, literacy and employment as men, they were still less likely to own a cell phone or use the mobile internet.

“If women are to become equal citizens in a more digital post-Covid world, bridging the gender gap on mobile has never been more critical,” said Mats Granryd, CEO of GSMA, urging policymakers policies, the private sector and the international community to help women and their families take full advantage of connectivity.

These benefits include improved socio-economic well-being, particularly in poverty-stricken areas where access to education and health care may not be available to women, either because these services do not exist, either because women are prevented from leaving their homes to enter them, Sibthorpe said. .

The GSMA launched the Connected Women Commitment initiative in 2016 to spur efforts to close the gap between mobile men and women. These efforts include working with telecom operators to reduce handset costs and introducing financial mechanisms that allow people to pay for their phones in smaller installments.

“We are also seeing a lot of effort from mobile operators and others to provide digital skills training relevant to mobiles rather than laptops and tablets,” Sibthorpe told Computer Weekly, adding that this includes teaching women how to stay safe online.

Mobile operators continued to make commitments throughout 2020, with 40 mobile operators across Africa, Asia and Latin America making formal commitments to accelerate the digital and financial inclusion of women since 2016. These operators have already reached more than 40 million additional women with mobile internet or mobile phones. monetary services.

Comments are closed.