Internet and women empowerment in developing countries

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“Governments need to make digital skills the right of every girl and boy as part of a wider commitment to quality education for all, move faster to bring costs down and develop strategies that explicitly aim to increase women’s civic, political and economic power through technology.” Anne Jellema, Web Foundation CEO (Web Foundation)

A recently published report by the World Wide Web Foundation shows that, despite the closing gender gap with regards to access to ICTs, there is still a long way to go to achieve real equality among men and women. One needs to pay close attention to how we are using the internet as opposed to only concentrating on whether or not we have access to it (via the widespread adoption of smart devices such as mobiles for instance). The report shows results from an analysis based on ten1 developing countries from different areas of the world, and some of the key findings are:

  • Women are 50% less likely to be connected than men (other things such as levels of education and household income held constant)
  • Women are less likely than men to use internet as a tool to increase their income
  • Women are 25% less likely to use the internet for job hunting
  • Education is a game changer: females with secondary education or higher have a probability four times higher to use the internet for self-empowerment (through economic advancement and information seeking)

There is plenty more information in the report (you can find the link for it at the end of this post) and the econometric regression results were also published albeit in a different document.

You can find the Women’s Rights Online full report here.

The infographic can be found here.

1 Cameroon, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Philippines, Uganda and Egypt

Additional Sources: All Africa, Web Foundation