Connected Women 2015 report analyzes mobile gender gap in low and middle-income countries

By Biswarup Ganguly (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Biswarup Ganguly – CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikipedia Commons

The Connected Women 2015 report recently published by GSMA examines women’s access to mobile phones in low and middle income countries. It identifies barriers to phone adoption/use compared to men and provides a series of recommendations for different stakeholders.

Some of the main key findings recognize that over 1.7 billion females in low and middle income countries do not own mobile phones and that this trend is mostly relevant in South Asia where women are 38% less likely than men to have a mobile device. The report states that the women from these regions tend to use their mobile devices less intensively than men and that fewer women report using additional data services beyond traditional voice communication.

The report identifies five main barriers to equal mobile phone ownership and use, which are cost, network quality and coverage, security and harassment, operator trust and technical literacy. The most common causes of these impediments are constraining social norms and disparities in terms of education and income. In addition, there is a lack of data related to equal mobile access and operators do not produce devices that target the context and needs of the female population.

Finally, the study suggests that addressing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage could generate relevant social and economic benefits for the concerned countries. However, it also mentions that in order to lower this gap, intervention from governments, mobile operators and other stakeholders is of utmost importance.

Access the full Connected Women 2015 Report