Accelerating digital and financial inclusion

Mobile has the power to transform lives. But while access is spreading quickly, it is not spreading equally. There remains a significant gender gap in mobile phone ownership and use. It is critical that we work together to address this issue to advance women’s digital and financial inclusion for women and unlock significant commercial and socio-economic opportunities. When women thrive, societies, businesses and economies thrive.

Opportunity

Gender Equality and Empowrment icon

We have an opportunity to contribute to the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls through mobile.

Supports UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #5 (Gender Equality)

Gender Gap in Mobile Phone Ownership and Use

Mobile can make women more connected, safer, and able to access services such as health and financial services.

In a GSMA study across 11 low- and middle-income countries, including both mobile phone owners and non-owners:

• 74% - 98% of women in every country said mobile phones save them time (or would save them time)

• 89% - 100% of women in every country said mobile phones help them (or would help them) stay in touch with friends and family

• 68% - 94% of women in every country reported they feel safer (or would feel safer) with a mobile phone

More Connected Safer

But there is a significant gender gap in mobile phone ownership and use, particularly for more transformational services like mobile internet and mobile money.

Women in low- and middle-income countries are, on average, 10% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, 26% less likely to use mobile internet and 33% less likely to use mobile money The gender gap is wider in certain parts of the world – e.g. women in South Asia are 26% less likely to own a mobile than men and 70% less likely to use mobile internet.

Significant Market Opportunity

Closing the gender gap also represents a significant market opportunity for the mobile industry and can spur economic growth.

We estimated that if mobile operators in low- and middle-income countries could close the gender gap in mobile ownership and mobile internet use today, this would generate an estimated incremental revenue of $15 billion over the next 12 months.

What we need

To close the mobile gender gap we need to address issues of gender equality and social norms and focus on:

Accessibility

Accessibility

including to quality network coverage, handsets, electricity, agents and formal IDs

Usability and Skills

Usability and Skills

including of handsets and services and addressing a lack of awareness and understanding

Affordability

Affordability

including handsets, tariffs, data and transaction fees

Safety

Safety and security

including addressing harassment, theft, fraud and data protection

Revelant

Revelant

of policies, content, products and services

How to get there

Our top 3 recommendations:

The Mobile Industry

The Mobile Industry

Understand your gender gap and the women in your market by conducting consumer insights research and collecting and analysing gender disaggregated data

Make women part of your business strategy including setting KPIs to target women

Ensure your products, services, marketing and distribution consider women’s needs and the barriers they face to mobile access and use

Development Community

Development Community

Embed activities that drive women’s mobile access and use in your initiatives

Invest in research to better understand women’s mobile access and use and how to reduce the gender gap

Raise awareness of the barriers to women’s mobile access and use

Policy Makers and Regulators

Policy Makers and Regulators

Ensure appropriate policy and regulation to lower access barriers for women

Promote gender equality in education and invest in programmes that improve digital literacy for women and girls

Improve women’s safety on mobile through effective policies and strategies including legal frameworks and awareness campaigns

Hear from leading advocates on why digital and financial inclusion of women is important

The Group CEO of Dialog Axiata explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is important for his organisation

Supun Weerasinghe, Group CEO of Dialog Axiata, explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is an important issues for his organisation. Dialog Axiata is a member of GSMA’s Connected Women initiative and has committed to increase the percentage of women using mobile internet and mobile money services within its customer base.

The CCO of Robi Axiata explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is important for his organisation

Pradeep Shrivastava, Chief Commercial Officer of Robi Axiata, explains why digital inclusion is important for his organisation. As a signatory to GSMA Connected Women Commitment Initiative, Robi committed to increase the percentage of women in their mobile internet customer base from 20% to more than 30% by 2020.

The Chairman of Econet Wireless explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is important for his organisation

Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless, shares his thoughts on why digital and financial inclusion of women is an important issue for his organisation. Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is a signatory of GSMA’s Connected Women initiative and has committed to increase the percentage of women in their mobile internet and mobile money customer base.

The Executive Director of A4AI explains the importance of addressing the mobile gender gap

Sonia Jorge, Executive Director for A4AI shares her views on the Mobile Gender Gap in low-and-middle - income countries.

The Executive VP of Millicom Tigo explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is important for her organization

Rachel Samren, Executive VP and Chief External Affairs Officer of Millicom Tigo, shares her views on why digital and financial inclusion is an important issue for her organisation. Millicom has committed all its Tigo mobile operations in Latin America and Africa to the GSMA's Connected Women Commitment Initiative.

The Executive Director for UN Women explains why digital inclusion is an important issue for women in low- and middle-income countries

Phumzille Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women talks about why digital and financial inclusion is an important issue for women in low- and middle-income countries.

GSMA's CEO explains why financial and digital inclusion of women is an important issue

Mats Granryd, CEO of GSMA shares his thoughts on why digital and financial inclusion is an important issue for women in low- and middle-income countries.

The CEO of Women's World Banking shares her thoughts on the importance of financial inclusion of women

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women's World Banking, shares her thoughts on why financial inclusion is an important issue for women in low- and middle-income countries.

The former Direct General of UNESCO explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is an important issue

Irina Bokova, former Direct General of UNESCO shares her thoughts why financial and digital inclusion of women in low- and middle-income countries is an important issue. The UN Broadband Working Group on the Digital Gender Divide is chaired by GSMA, and co-chaired by UNESCO.

The ITU's Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership shares her views on the importance of addressing the mobile gender gap

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership at the ITU shares her thoughts on the importance of addressing the mobile gender gap in low- and middle-income countries. The ITU, GSMA, UN Women, ITC and UNU are co-founders of EQUALS, the global partnership to bridge the digital gender divide.

The CEO of Zanzibar Telecom explains why digital and financial inclusion for women is an important issue for his organisation

Benoit Janin, CEO of Zanzibar Telecom, explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is important for his organization.

Read more about practical actions you can take to address the mobile gender gap

Accelerating digital and Women financial inclusion for women

The gender gap is not going to close on its own. Its root causes are driven by a complex set of social, economic and cultural barriers. These obstacles can only be overcome with targeted intervention by all stakeholders.The GSMA Connected Women Programme aims to reduce the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services and unlock significant commercial and socio-economic opportunities.

Download the two-pager to read more about accelerating digital and Women financial inclusion for women

Recommendations for action: bridging the gender gap in Internet and broadband access and use

In March 2017, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s Working Group on the Digital Gender Divide, co-chaired by the GSMA and UNESCO, launched a report that outlines a set of practical actions that stakeholders can take to address the gender gap in internet access and use

Download the report to read more about this issue and what practical action you can take

W20 Digital Inclusion Background paper

As Topic Chair of the Digital Inclusion workstream within the W20, the GSMA commissioned this background paper which summarises the present situation of the digital divide, describes the challenges involved, and reviews existing recommendations for coordinated action to support women’s empowerment and equality.

Download the paper to get an overview of the importance of digital inclusion of women