The sixth annual Mobile Gender Gap Report assesses mobile device ownership and mobile Internet usage in low- and middle-income countries.

LONDON, May 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — More than 800 million women will need to adopt mobile Internet to close the digital gender gap by 2030 in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC), according to latest Mobile Gender Gap Report released today by the GSMA.



The latest figures indicate that the gap between the number of men and women using mobile internet will not be closed without increased efforts from a wide range of stakeholders. Progress in narrowing the gender gap in mobile internet remains stalled, with women in LMICs being 19% less likely than men to use it, equivalent to around 310 million fewer women than men .

If the gap remains unchanged, current forecasts suggest that just 360 million more women (less than half of the 800 m target) are expected to start using mobile broadband by the end of the decade.

The report on the gender gap in mobile devices analyzes mobile device ownership and mobile Internet usage in low- and middle-income countries[1] (LMIC) into Africa, Asia AND Latin America. The report provides figures revealing the extent of the mobile gender gap in each region, a review of barriers to mobile ownership and internet adoption, and recommended actions for stakeholders, including policy makers, regulators, carriers mobile and NGO. It is funded by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Swedish Agency for International Development Cooperation (Sida) through the GSMA Mobile for Development Foundation.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • Although nearly two-thirds (61%) of women in LMICs are now using mobile internet, their rate of adoption has slowed for the second year in a row with only 60 million women adopting mobile internet in 2022, up from 75 million in 2022. 2021.

  • 900 million women in LMICs are not yet connected to mobile broadband, two-thirds of whom live South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

  • Once women own a smartphone, their awareness and use of the mobile Internet is nearly equal to that of men. Despite this, women are 17% less likely than men to own a smartphone in LMICs, which translates into around 250 million fewer women than men.

  • There are still 440 million women in LMICs who do not own a mobile phone and are hard to reach.

  • For mobile device users who are already familiar with the mobile Internet, the main barriers to adoption are still affordability (mainly of phones), digital literacy and skills, and safety and security issues.

  • The majority of men and women who use mobile internet find it has an overall positive impact on their lives and use it every day, with little difference between women and men.

  • Mobile device ownership and mobile internet use offer significant benefits to women and their families, the economy and businesses.

“Mobile phones are the main, and often only, source of internet access in LMICs, particularly in rural communities, so it is alarming to see the digital inclusion of women slow for the second year in a row,” She said Mats GranrydDirector General of the GSMA. Greater collaboration is needed between all stakeholders in the digital community, from governments to operators, NGOs to internet companies, to enable more women to access and use the mobile internet and ultimately ensure that women are not left behind in an increasingly digital world”.

In 2016, the GSMA launched the GSMA Connected Women Commitment initiative, to help mobile operators reduce the gender gap in the customer base of their mobile internet or mobile money services. Since its inception, more than 40 mobile operators in the LMICs have formally committed to narrowing the gender gap, collectively reaching more than 65 million more women, delivering significant socio-economic benefits to underprivileged women, their communities and the economy.

Mobile network operators (MNOs) have been able to narrow the mobile gender gap by taking informed and targeted action to address the needs of women and the barriers they face to adopting and using the mobile internet. But to fully address the problem and achieve significant progress, increased attention and targeted action will be needed from all stakeholders, including MNOs, internet companies, policy makers and regulators, and the development community.

To learn more about the mobile gender gap in LMICs, download the GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report 2023.

Notes for editors

The GSMA Connected Women Commitment Initiative has thus far collectively reached over 65 million more women with mobile internet and mobile money services. Efforts to date include offering more affordable internet-enabled phones to address women’s price sensitivity; provide digital skills training targeting women, including rural women; recruiting female agents and traders; development and commercialization of use cases that attract women; creating mobile financial products for traditional women’s savings groups; redesign apps to make them easier to use for the less digitally literate; improve the data reloading process to make it safer and more attractive to women; and providing free emergency minutes and alerts to help women feel safer when using their cell phones, among a wide variety of other efforts that seek to address the barriers women face.

GSMA Press Office, pressoffice@gsma.com

Logo: https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1882833/4060215/GSMA_Logo.jpg

[1] The report is based on an analysis of face-to-face surveys conducted by the GSMA in Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Guatemala AND Mexico



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