Over 800 million women globally must begin using mobile internet for the digital gender gap to close by 2030 across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), warns a report by the GSMA.
The data reveals that there is no expected progress in reducing the gap. For LMICs, women are 19% less likely than men to use mobile internet, representing 310 million fewer women than men.
The Mobile Gender Gap Report analyses mobile ownership and mobile internet usage, showing the size of the gap, barriers to adoption, and recommended actions for policymakers, regulators, NGOs, and mobile operators.
Despite almost two-thirds of women in LMICs using mobile internet, the rate of adoption has slowed for the second year in a row.
The report highlights that if the gap continues to remain unchanged, only 360 million more women are expected to start using mobile broadband by the end of the decade, which is less than half of the 800 million target.
The report also shows that once women own a smartphone, their awareness and use of mobile internet is almost on par with men. However, women are 17% less likely than men to own a smartphone in LMICs, translating into around 250 million fewer women than men.
The top-reported barriers to adoption are still affordability, literacy and digital skills, and safety and security concerns.
The report concludes that greater collaboration across all stakeholders in the digital community is needed to enable more women to access and use mobile internet and ultimately ensure women are not being left behind in an increasingly digital world.