Ooredoo, GSMA to work on connecting women in underserved communities
By Digital News Asia October 6, 2014
- To enable women in Myanmar access mobile, launching new services in Indonesia
- Connected Women initiatives announced at Clinton Global Initiative meet
DOHA-headquartered Ooredoo, the GSM Association (GSMA) and their partners announced a number of new initiatives for the GSMA Connected Women Programme at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York recently.
The Connected Women Programme will undertake studies that will offer critical insights into the socio-economic benefits of greater inclusion of women in the telecommunications sector, Ooredoo said in a statement.
The findings will be used by partners – including Ooredoo – to develop initiatives and services for female consumers and employees.
Ooredoo said it will draw on the data to provide tailored services for women in Myanmar, aiming to connect millions of women to mobile and Internet services. Many of these women have never had access to the Internet before.
In addition, Ooredoo’s Indosat will draw on the data to launch new services designed for women in Indonesia. Indosat will launch a new startup called Wobe, targeting lower- to middle-income women with voice, data and Internet services.
“Ooredoo companies have already taken the lead in providing award-winning services for women in markets ranging from Iraq to Indonesia,” said Ooredoo Group chairman Abdullah Mohammed Saud Al Thani.
“By deploying the findings of the Connected Women Programme, we will be able to further refine and develop these initiatives in support of expanding the female digital economy in all our markets.
“We are undertaking specific commitments in our newest market of Myanmar to connect millions of women who have never had access to the Internet before with the incredible life-changing opportunities of online services.
“This initiative will not only change the lives of our customers, it will also deliver significant change in the communities where they live,” he added.
The GSMA Connected Women Programme builds upon the achievements of both the mWomen Programme, which was launched by former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in October 2010 to increase women’s access to and use of mobile phones and life-enhancing mobile services in developing markets, and GSMA Connected Women, launched in Brussels in 2012 to close the ICT skills gender gap, attract and retain female talent and encourage female leadership in technology on a global basis.
The Connected Women programme builds on the momentum of these two programmes through the delivery of research, technical assistance, meetings, advocacy case studies, best practices and toolkits to further address the digital skills and connectivity gender gaps to enable women to meet their full potential as consumers and employees.
“Ensuring that women can fully participate in this growing mobile economy by joining the mobile workforce and lending their creative talent to what these devices can do is important, but also essential is increasing connectivity for women so that they can experience the economic benefits and growth that can make measureable differences in their lives and for all of us,” said Chelsea Clinton (pic), vice chair of the Clinton Foundation.
Established in 2005 by her father former US President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation, convenes global leaders to create and implement solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
“The ubiquity and affordability of mobile presents us with the unprecedented opportunity to improve and enhance social and economic development,” said GSMA Director General Anne Bouverot.
“However, women in particular tend to be left behind, not only as consumers of mobile services, but also as employees and leaders in the mobile industry.
“To address this, the GSMA has partnered with key industry stakeholders with the vision of accelerating the potential of the female digital economy,” she added.
Connected Women study
The aforementioned research project will aim to increase understanding of the current mobile phone gender gap, the drivers for and barriers to mobile phone access and usage, and implications for industry policymakers and other stakeholders.
The study will be amongst the most comprehensive taken to date, including 12,000 interviews and 84 focus group sessions across China, Columbia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria and Turkey, Ooredoo said.
In partnership with AT Kearney, the GSMA will also undertake and publish research examining the state of gender diversity across the industry, highlighting best practices and offering strategic advice on areas of potential change.
Upon completion of the research reports in early 2015, the GSMA Connected Women Programme partners, which currently include Ooredoo, Qualcomm, Roshan and Smart Communications, commit to using the insights and recommendations generated to create programmes and services for their female customers and employees.
As part of its commitment, Ooredoo has plans in place to launch products and services designed for women in Myanmar at the start of 2015, supported by a programme to raise awareness about the benefits of mobile technology.
Most recently, Ooredoo has launched a maternal health application, ‘Maymay,’ which offers maternal health advice notifications, personalised health alerts and tips for expectant mothers, in a first-of-its-kind service for Myanmar.
In Indonesia, the new Wobe service will enable women to get online easily and at low cost, and will provide education and financial literacy through mobile content. It will also enable women to become distributors of mobile airtime credits to their family, friends and neighbours – creating new economic opportunities for women, Ooredoo said.
GSMA operator partners will use the findings to deliver the appropriate services including enhanced access to the mobile Internet for women; and the recruitment of women to become distributors of mobile airtime credits within their communities, which will allow them to expand digital access while generating household income.
Other possible services include the provision of information and services that women need with regards to health, education and entrepreneurship skills; provision of mobile technology to women factory workers to enable access to health information; and services designed to protect women in vulnerable situations by enabling them to block unwanted callers, preventing harassment and verbal abuse.
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