Gender Gap in Mobile, Net Access a Huge Concern: Melinda Gates

Melinda Gates

The gender divide in terms of access to mobile and internet services is not a new issue, but remains a pressing one… and the who’s who of the tech world have taken note.

The latest to highlight the less than optimal statistics is the co-chair of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Melinda Gates, who has shown her concern over the statistics, estimates from GSMA, that say more that a billion women do not have access to cellphones still in developing countries.

At a conference in San Francisco, California, Melinda Gates highlighted this lack of access to mobile phones and financial services.

Also Read: Keep Out: Internet is ‘Indecent’, Indian Women Told

According to the data, close to 1.7 billion women do not own cell phones in low and middle income countries. This gender gap is mostly seen in India where women are limited by the men in their family to use technology to their benefit. A leap that stops them being informed, and therefore empowered.

The Internet and Mobile Association of India released stats that states only 30 percent of the internet users are females. If you’re a woman reading this right now, you come under that bracket, of course. (Feel privileged yet?) That’s right. When we talk of internet and emails, only 9 percent of the females use that facility as compared to more than 16 percent of the males. Another number revealed by We Are Social suggests that to every one female on Facebook there are three males, as compared to the one on one ratio in most parts of the world.

Also Read: The Gender Divide in India is present even on Facebook!

With banking coming to mobile phones, it is important that women get access to smartphones that will make them financially inclusive. Women tend to pull the money back into their families which will help them against any emergencies or calamities in the future.

In the GSMA Mobile Money Programme, The Gates Foundation is working with mobile operators and others to bridge the gender gap in enabling technological and financial freedom.

Feature Image Courtesy: Pacific Friends of the Global Fund