Cellphone Gender Gap: Less Wealthy Women Less Likely to Own a Mobile

Cherie Blair’s group proves women’s economic disadvantage of reduced ownership — and potential profits to firms in fixing…

the cellphone gender gap

  • A woman is one-fifth less likely than a man to own a mobile phone in a middle-income or poor country, a gender gap that reduces women’s safety and income possibilities as well as national wealth and companies’ revenues.
  • If men and women had similar cellphone ownership rates in these countries, there would be 300 million more cellphones in use, offering greater connectivity and productivity, according to the 2010 study “Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity.”
  • The study, by the Cherie Blair Foundation, the GSMADevelopment Fund and Vital Wave Consulting, found that the poorer the region and the less empowered women are, the greater the gender disparity in cellphone ownership. The gap was smallest in Eastern Europe/Central Asia, at 16%; it was greatest in South Asia, at 37%. By comparison, in Western Europe more women than men have cellphones.
  • The study cites links between increased cellphone use and national income, job creation and profits.
  • For the phone industry, equal cellphone usage by gender in middle-income and poor countries would increase sales by $13 billion. Five years out, the annual gain would be $29 billion. Two-thirds of market growth is expected to be women in the next five years.
  • Just like in developed countries, women in less wealthy countries report that a cellphone improves their sense of security. In addition 85% of women in those countries say a cellphone increases their independence.
  • But the greatest opportunity is in potential productivity. 55% of female business owners in the countries say a cellphone brought them more income, vs 28% of all women with a phone, and 4 of 10 women with a phone say it increased their professional or economic opportunities.
  • Ways in which women raised income through phones include getting pricing information, executing money transfers and making employment contacts.
  • To reduce the gap, the report urges companies to market directly to women; position phones as income-producing tools; find ways to reduce costs for women; and foster incentives for developing mobile services that benefit women.
  • In her introduction, Cherie Blair writes, “What shines out of this study is that Women and Mobile represent an untapped market and great development potential that we need to embrace.”

Source: Womenomics

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