Report calls for doubling number of women and girls online in developing countries

12 Jan 2013

Doubling the number of women and girls online in developing countries from 600m today to 1.2bn in three years could potentially pump an estimated US$13bn-US$18bn in annual GDP across 144 developing countries, a new report suggests.

The report, Women and the Web, has not only issued a call to action to increase the number of women and girls online in developing countries but it has also revealed a gender gap in internet usage in these countries.

On average, nearly 25pc fewer women than men have access to the internet across the developing world, and this gender gap widens by almost 45pc in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, Women and the Web reported. In addition, one in five women in India and Egypt said they believe the internet is not appropriate for them.

Tech giant Intel commissioned the report and consulted with the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, UN Women and World Pulse, a global network for women.

“This study demonstrates the enormity of the global internet gender gap and more importantly, identifies specific ways the public, private and civil society sectors can work together to dramatically increase internet access for women and girls,” said Shelly Esque, vice-president of Intel’s Corporate Affairs Group and president of the Intel Foundation.

“If we can empower women and girls with the tools, resources and opportunities they need to succeed, we will transform their lives and the lives of everyone they touch.”

Michelle Bachelet, under-secretary-general and executive director, UN Women, said there is worldwide acknowledgement that women’s empowerment is a basic issue of social and economic justice and also essential to wider social progress and sustainable development.

“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,” Bachelet said.

The report’s findings are based on interviews and surveys of 2,200 women and girls living in urban and peri-urban areas of Egypt, India, Mexico and Uganda, as well as analyses of global databases, Intel said.

Girl and woman online image via Shutterstock

Women and the Web graphic

Source: Women and the Web

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic