1.7 bn Women do not Own Mobile Says GSMA

1.7-bn-Women-do-not-Own-MobileThe research showed that over 1.7 billion women in low and middle income countries do not own mobile says GSMA.

Women on an average are 14 percent less likely to own a mobile than men, creating a gender gap of 200 million fewer women than men owning mobile.

“The ubiquity and affordability of mobile presents us with the unprecedented opportunity to improve and enhance social and economic development; however, as our study shows, women in particular tend to be left behind as owners of mobile and as consumers of mobile services,” said Anne Bouverot, director general, GSMA.

“By addressing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and use, we will deliver substantial benefits for women, the mobile industry and the broader economy,” added Bouverot.

This new large-scale study looks at how, in the five years since the benchmark study was launched, access to mobile has increased substantially and mobile penetration rates are accelerating rapidly in the developing world. However, the study also finds that despite the progress that has been made, women continue to be left behind and challenges remain in ensuring that women are included in an increasingly connected and internet-enabled world.

In particular, women in South Asia are 38 percent less likely to own a phone than men, highlighting that the gender gap in mobile ownership is wider in certain parts of the world.

Interestingly, even when women own mobile phones, there is a significant disparity in mobile usage, with women using phones less frequently than men, especially for more sophisticated services such as mobile internet. In most countries surveyed, fewer women than men who own phones report using messaging and data services beyond voice.

The top five barriers to women owning and using mobile phones from a customer perspective are cost; network quality and coverage; security and harassment via mobile; operator or agent trust; and technical literacy and confidence issues.

Social norms and disparities between men and women in terms of education and income influence women’s access to and use of mobile technology, and often contribute to women experiencing barriers to mobile phone ownership and use more acutely than men.

The report found that achieving parity in ownership and use between men and women in low and middle income countries could bring socio-economic benefits, such as the availability of new education and employment opportunities, to an additional 200 million women; unlock an estimated $170 billion market opportunity for the mobile industry by 2020.

In Mobile World Congress 2015, GSMA released ‘Bridging the Gender Gap: Mobile Access and Usage in Low- and Middle-income Countries’, a report that examines mobile ownership by women, as well as the barriers to mobile adoption and usage and identifies actionable opportunities for stakeholders across the mobile ecosystem to accelerate the uptake of mobile technology by women.

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