Women and mobile: a global opportunity - a study on the mobile phone gender gap in low and middle-income countries

Mobile phones Mobile technology Sex differences Women Digital inclusion Access to information Africa Central America Europe Middle East South America South Asia

Executive summary

Mobile phone ownership in low and middle-income countries has skyrocketed in the past several years. But a woman is still 21% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. This figure increases to 23% if she lives in in Africa, 24% if she lives in the Middle East, and 37% if she lives in South Asia. Closing this gender gap would bring the benefits of mobile phones to an additional 300 million women. By extending the benefits of mobile phone ownership to more women, a host of social and economic goals can be advanced.

Mobile phone ownership provides distinct benefits to women, including improved access to educational, health, business and employment opportunities. Women surveyed across low and middle-income countries on three continents believe that a mobile phone helps them lead a more secure, connected and productive life.

This survey has also found that:

  • From India to Senegal to Kosovo, women are using the power of mobile phones to unlock economic opportunities
  • Women business owners in particular perceive the phone as an essential productivity tool, with more than half saying they have used a mobile phone to earn additional income
  • 85% of women report feeling more independent because of their mobile phone.
Publication Details