Digital Inclusion through mobile connectivity
Can mobile money transform women's lives?
The digital revolution has spread in many developing countries and mobile telephony is readily available and has penetrated areas not yet reached by other prior inventions. In Africa for example, the mobile adaption has grown in recent years and in 2017 overall subscriber penetration was recorded at 44% . However, women still face a challenge or ‘triple divide’ –that is digital, rural and gender divide (FAO, 2018:5).
The Mobile Gender Gap Report of 2018 established that mobile connectivity is not spreading its gains equally across gender. Some glaring findings were.
Women in low- and middle-income countries are, on average, 10% less likely to own a mobile phone than men,
Even when women own mobile phones, there is a significant gender gap in usage, particularly for more transformational services, such as mobile internet.
Over 1.2 billion women in low- and middle-income countries do not use mobile internet. Women are, on average, 26% less likely to use mobile internet than men.
These and other facts challenge all to leverage these figures through inclusive developmental projects. Recently, seven critical factors for success when making ICTs available and accessible to rural communities have been proposed.
These include, adapting content so that it is meaningful for them; creating a safe environment for them to share and learn; being gender sensitive; providing women with access and tools for sharing; building partnerships; providing the right blend of technologies and ensuring sustainability. These success factors were explained in-depth here.
UN Initiatives to address the gender issues
In the recent months, women issues were high on the agenda at the UN. For example during the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 73) a number of issues were discusses, and these included ending violence against women and girls, equal pay and gender-responsive migration policies, climate action and inclusive cities.
Additionally, on the 25th of October, the UN Security Council convened its annual Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security and prioritized a number of issues related to women. See these here.
Transforming Women’s Lives with Mobile: UNGA Panel
After going through the presentation, we found a chat that looked at gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services, which was organized by GSMA at the UNGA 2018.
In the video above, review the conservation by Yasmina McCarty, GSMA; Elisabeth Biering, Telenor; Sanda Ojiambo, Safaricom; and Anna Faith, UN Women, highlighting the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services, and providing examples in access to energy, water and digital identity.