LIRNEAsia, an information and communications technology (ICT) policy think tank revealed in a study that India has the highest gender gap in mobile phone ownership. According to an Indian Express report, the study also shows that India ranks among the lowest in women’s access to the Internet. The report was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

LIRNEAsia released the findings in the presence of N Sivasailam, Special Secretary of the Department of Telecommunications, and representatives from Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI).  The survey took into account 18 comparable countries to draw the conclusions. The survey collected information in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Rwanda and India.

It highlights that merely 43 per cent of women in India own mobile phones as compared to almost 80 per cent of Indian males. Essentially, lack of awareness was cited as the reason behind this huge gap.

The gender divide in terms of the use of mobile phones exceeds all the other countries in the survey. Additionally, the study points out that gender gap is more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas.

CEO of LIRNEAsia Helani Galpaya said to the Indian Express, “India should be doing better than this because it is performing like the poorest countries in the sample.”

The DoT Special Secretary N Sivasailam remarked that the research points were very actionable. He mentioned, “It is possible to act on this data and develop policies. I am pleased that we have a baseline for the first time ever.”

The study reveals that 64 per cent said they did not know about the Internet. Surprisingly, 68 per cent of this group was female.

The Indian Express reports that a higher percentage of women use social media for marketing and educational content. While men chat significantly more on social media than women do.

Furthermore, women shared information less than men in almost all categories except for political and sexual orientation. The study reveals that 64 per cent said they did not know about the Internet. Surprisingly, 68 per cent of this group was female.

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Megha Thadani is an Intern with SheThePeople.TV 

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