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Mobile Phones Empower Women But A Wide Gender Gap Persists for Internet And Mobile Usage

Women with the access to mobile phone feel safer than those who don’t have mobile phones, according to a survey from GSMA. They also report that mobile phones help them access business and better employment and better manage their money.

68% of respondents in every country reported that they feel safer (or would feel safer) with a mobile phone, while 64% working women said mobile increases their chance of business and better employment. 58% of women reported that mobile phones make them feel autonomous and independent.

Similarly, female students with mobile phone access said that mobile phones help them to access better educational material and study well.

Despite the apparent advantages of mobile phone access, women use mobile at a lower rate than men. In South Asia, the gap is even wider. Female users are 38% less likely to use mobile phones than males. They also use phones less frequently than males.

Mobile is a huge industry globally. In 2013 it contributed over US$ 2.4 trillion, 3.6% of the global GDP. Having women to take part in mobile will surely generate new opportunities for both users and the industry. Research shows that there is an estimated $170 billion market opportunity for the mobile industry in the next five years if we can ensure that women in low-and-middle-income countries own and increase usage of their phones.

Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at [email protected]

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