The UK mobile operator is aiming to connect 50 million women to mobile technology amid new research from Huawei highlighting the importance of ICT to development. Terry Slavin reports
Mobile phone technology will be a critical contributor towards meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, according to new research by telecoms giant Huawei, which found in a study of 49 countries a nearly perfect correlation between faster progress on the SDGs and penetration of ICT technologies.
The findings provide added impetus for concerted action to address what another recent study described as a gender gap in access to mobile technologies. GSM, which represents mobile phone operators, found that women in low- and middle-income countries are 10% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, translating into a mobile gender gap of 184 million women. Even if they do own a phone, women are 18% less likely to use mobile internet, preventing them from accessing potentially transformational services such as mobile banking and digital health platforms.
Earlier this month the W20, which advises the G20 on women’s empowerment issues, called on the world’s richest economies to make concrete commitments to equalize access to digital technologies when they meet in Argentina later this year.
Owning a mobile phone in emerging markets can significantly enhance women’s physical and economic security