80% women in low and middle-income countries are now mobile owners: GSMA

    The GSMA found that closing the gender gaps in mobile ownership and usage represents a substantial commercial opportunity for the mobile industry.

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    According to a new report by GSM Association (GSMA), women are 28 percent less likely than men to own a mobile device and 58 percent less likely to use the mobile internet.

    80% women in low and middle-income countries are now mobile owners: GS

     

    The report reveals that 80 percent of women in low- and middle-income countries are now mobile owners.

    However, despite the growth in connectivity, the gender gap in mobile ownership is not closing, it said. Women remain 10 percent less likely than men to own a mobile phone in low- and middle-income countries, and 23 percent less likely than men to use mobile internet. The mobile gender gap varies by region and country but is widest in South Asia.

    We are seeing significantly increased mobile access for women, however in an increasingly connected world, women are still being left behind," said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA.

    "While mobile connectivity is spreading quickly, it is not spreading equally. Unequal access to mobile technology threatens to exacerbate the inequalities women already experience," Mats said.

    The study further found that by closing the gender gaps in mobile ownership by 2023, low- and middle-income countries could gain an estimated additional $140 billion in mobile industry revenue over the next five years.

    The GSMA found that closing the gender gaps in mobile ownership and usage represents a substantial commercial opportunity for the mobile industry.

    The GSMA also found that closing the mobile gender gap could be an important driver of economic growth. These markets could also add an additional $700 billion in GDP growth by 2023.

    Ensuring digital and financial inclusion for women is critically important, as we know that when women thrive, societies, businesses, and economies thrive," added Granryd.

    "Reaching the 432 million women in these countries who are still unconnected will require concerted effort and coordination from the mobile industry, as well as policymakers and the international community," Granryd further said.

     

    Women highlighted affordability, literacy and digital skills, a perceived lack of relevance, and safety and security concerns as the top barriers needing to be addressed in order to further decrease the mobile gender gap.

    As part of the GSMA Connected Women Programme's Commitment Initiative, nearly 37 mobile operators from 27 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America have committed to reducing the gender gap in their mobile money or mobile internet customer base by 2020.

    These operators have provided over 16 million additional women with access to digital and financial services since 2016.

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