A new study from industry group GSMA has shown that despite progress, the gender gap in mobile Internet usage remains substantial, with over 300 million fewer women than men accessing the Internet from a mobile device in low- and middle-income countries.
Affordability remains the critical barrier to mobile ownership, while lower awareness, as well as a lack of literacy and digital skills, are vital factors preventing women’s mobile Internet use.
The study found that the mobile Internet gender gap has narrowed and 54% of women in low- and middle-income countries now use mobile Internet, up from 44% in 2017.
However, the underlying gender gap in mobile ownership remains largely unchanged and 165 million fewer women than men own a mobile.
The research found that mobile offers essential benefits to users. The majority of male and female mobile owners reported that mobile ownership makes them feel safer, better informed, and supports them in their day-to-day lives.
“We are seeing important progress in driving equal Internet access for women, but the pace of progress still remains slow. We urge business and government communities to continue prioritizing efforts to drive more equal access to mobile technology,” said Mats Granryd, director-general of GSMA.
“Ensuring digital and financial inclusion for women is critically important, as we know that when women thrive, societies, businesses, and economies thrive.”