In a move to understand 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 GSMA and partners are set to conduct studies that will help see more women join the growing digital economy.
“The ubiquity and affordability of mobile presents us with the unprecedented opportunity to improve and enhance social and economic development” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “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.”
The GSMA will conduct studies in China, Columbia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria and Turkey and will include 12,000 interviews and 84 focus group sessions.
The GSMA will also look into the state of gender diversity across the industry, highlighting best practices and offering strategic advice on areas of potential change. This aim to raise awareness of the opportunities for and the role of women in the global telecoms ecosystem and to drive change across the industry by demonstrating how women can support the aspirations of the industry. The report will provide metrics for monitoring progress and activity.
Upon completion, the insights and recommendations generated will be used to create programmes and services for their female customers and employees.
The findings will see how the partners can enhance access to the mobile Internet for women; recruit women to become distributors of mobile airtime credits within their communities to allow them to expand digital access while generating household income; provide information and services that women need with regards to health, education and entrepreneurship skills; provide mobile technology to women factory workers to enable access to health information; and launch services designed to protect women in vulnerable situations by enabling them to block unwanted callers, preventing harassment and verbal abuse.
With over 10 million women through existing initiatives, the Connected Women Programme aims to offer critical insights into the socio-economic benefits of greater inclusion of women at all points in the industry and will be used by partners to develop initiatives and services for female consumers and employees.