In developing world, 25% fewer women than men have access to the Net; gap is nearly 45% in sub-Saharan Africa
One in five women in India and Egypt believes the Internet is not appropriate for them
A GROUNDBREAKING report on “Women and the Web” has unveiled concrete data on the enormous Internet gender gap in the developing world, as well as the social and economic benefits of securing Internet access for women.
To better understand the gender gap, chipmaker Intel commissioned the study and consulted with the US State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, UN Women and World Pulse, a global network for women.
The report issues a call to action to double the number of women and girls online in developing countries from 600 million today to 1.2 billion in three years.
Across the developing world, on average, nearly 25% fewer women than men have access to the Internet, and the gender gap soars to nearly 45% in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, according to the report.
Further, the study found that one in five women in India and Egypt believes the Internet is not appropriate for them.
Seeing another 600 million women online would mean that 40% of women and girls in developing countries – nearly double the share today — would have access to the transformative power of the Internet, Intel said.
This goal, if realized, could potentially contribute an estimated US$13 billion to US$18 billion to the annual GDP (gross domestic product) across 144 developing countries.
“There is wide acknowledgement around the globe that women’s empowerment is a basic issue of social and economic justice and also essential to wider social progress and sustainable development,” said Michelle Bachelet, under-secretary-general and executive director, UN Women.
“This report demonstrates that expanding access to the Internet and technology for women and girls is critical to their improved education, increased opportunity and ability to foster entrepreneurship in countries around the world.”
The report’s findings are based on interviews and surveys of 2,200 women and girls living in urban and peri-urban areas of four focus countries: Egypt, India, Mexico and Uganda, as well as analyses of global databases.
The findings were unveiled during a panel discussion in Washington, DC as part of the two-day international working forum on women, ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) and development hosted by the State Department and UN Women.
Key highlights from the report:
Gender barriers are real. One in five women in India and Egypt believes the Internet is not “appropriate” for them. On average across the developing world, nearly 25% fewer women than men have access to the Internet, and the gender gap soars to nearly 45% in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.
Bridging the Internet gender gap:
Boosts women’s income and income potential. Across the surveyed countries, nearly half of respondents used the Web to search for and apply for a job, and 30% had used the Internet to earn additional income.
Increases women’s sense of empowerment. More than 70% of Internet users considered the Internet “liberating” and 85% said it “provides more freedom.”
Enabling Internet access for more women and girls in developing countries promises immediate, and immense, benefits. Seeing another 600 million women online would mean that 40% of women and girls in developing countries, nearly double the share today, would have access to the transformative power of the Internet. And, it could potentially contribute an estimated US$13 billion to US$18 billion to annual GDP across 144 developing countries. – Newsbytes.ph
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