Mobile devices widen gender gap in emerging economies

Recent estimates show that 1.7 billion women in these countries do not own cell phones.

According to the data that was released in a recent report, there are more than 1.7 billion women in countries with low- and middle-incomes, who do not own mobile devices, representing a massive gender gap within those nations.

The average woman in those economies is 14 percent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man.

This, according to the same report, by the GSM Association (GSMA), and that was entitled “Bridging the Gender Gap: Mobile Access and Usage in Low- and Middle-income Countries”. The estimate of a 14 percent lower likelihood of women having mobile devices than men would mean that there is a gender gap of 200 million people. This represents a powerful disadvantage for female residents of those countries, and a weaker opportunity for communication, information, and other resources that are vital components to equal prospects for achievement.

This gender gap in the ownership of mobile devices is considerably higher in certain specific regions.

Report - Mobile devices and emerging economiesFor example, the report stated that “In particular, women in South Asia are 38 percent less likely to own a phone than men, highlighting that the gender gap in mobile phone ownership is wider in certain parts of the world.”

The GSMA director general, Anne Bouverot, said explained that the widespread availability and affordability of mobile phones offers the people of the world an “unprecedented opportunity to improve and enhance social and economic development,” but at the same time, as women are now owners of these gadgets to the same degree as men, they have a tendency for being “left behind” not only as device owners, but also as mobile consumers.

She went on to say that there will be a considerable benefit to women if the gender gap in the ownership of mobile devices is addressed. That said, the report identified the leading five barriers to the ownership of mobile phones by women, which include cost, security and harassment over this channel, network coverage and quality, technical literacy, operator or agent trust, and issues that have to do with confidence.

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