Despite the rapid growth in mobile telephony in low and middle-income countries in recent years, women are 21% less likely than men to own a mobile phone. This has given rise to a mobile phone ‘gender gap’, where there are 300 million fewer female mobile subscribers than male subscribers in low to middle income countries. As a result, women are less likely to reap the benefits of using mobile phones, such as gain economic opportunities and to empower themselves at the household level, community level and beyond.
The following outlines the key barriers that underserved women in developing countries face in owning and effectively using mobile phones which have contributed to the mobile phone gender gap:
The following outlines the key challenges faced by the mobile industry in providing services to the underserved women’s segment:
By overcoming the barriers to effective use and ownership of phones by underserved women, women obtain distinct benefits in terms of access to education, health services and financial services, among others, thus empowering women. Women’s empowerment, as facilitated by mobile phones, is also related to a host of positive outcomes on families and communities, reinforcing the idea that access and effective use of mobile phones provides a conduit through which positive social outcomes can be realised.
Furthermore, the market opportunities associated with closing the mobile phone gender gap are substantial: additional revenues for MNOs are estimated to be $13 billion.
Have more research, reports, or other forms of evidence to contribute to this Impact Pathway? Send it to us at MDI@gsma.com