If the mobile telecom companies were to bridge the gap in both the mobile ownership and internet usage in low and middle-income countries, an additional $15 billion revenue (approximately) in 12 months could be generated.
By: Prachi Gupta
Source: Financial Express
Indian women are less likely to own a mobile phone than their male counterparts, revealed a recent survey by GSMA. While 80% of the Indian male population possess a phone, only 59% of the female population own it. The same echoes in the internet usage gap as a meagre 16% of the female population is likely to have access to mobile internet as opposed to 36% of males.
For those with the view that the talks about gender gap are far-fetched, the survey could be an eye-opener. In low and middle-income countries, the divide translates to 184 million fewer women who own a mobile phone. Topping that, over 1.2 billion women do not have access to mobile internet.
According to the findings of the survey, if the mobile telecom companies were to bridge the gap in both the mobile ownership and internet usage in low and middle-income countries, an additional $15 billion revenue (approximately) in 12 months could be generated.
Among southern Asian countries, China has set an example as it has zero mobile ownership gender gap. While India has a considerable 26% ownership divide, Pakistan and Bangladesh have performed worse than India with 37% and 33% gap respectively. However, it is intriguing to note that Mozambique and Myanmar performed better in this survey.
The survey also shed some light on the mobile internet user gender gap. While China has only 1% rift between male users and female users, in India, the rift is wide at 56%. Pakistan, Mozambique, Bangladesh performed worse than India, however, countries such as Cote d’Ivoire ranked better.
The challenges faced by women do not confine to merely lack of digital literacy and literacy in general but also the lack of perceived relevance, and safety, security-related issues, the survey noted. Women were found less aware of mobile internet, predominantly. Also, mobile phone affordability remains a hurdle for both men and women.