On an average, across the developing world nearly 25 percent fewer women than men have access to the Internet, and the gender gap soars to nearly 45 percent in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa and 27 % in India. One in five women in India and Egypt believe that Internet is not “appropriate” for them, according to a new report.
The study, titled “Women and the web,” was commissioned by Intel and carried out with the US State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, UN Women and World Pulse, a global network for women to understand the gender gap on the Internet.
India has the lowest penetration for women across the report’s focus countries. Only 8.4 % of the female population is online and it represents a weighted gender gap of more than 27 %. i.e. a woman in India is 27 % less likely to have Internet access than a man.
“There are nearly 600 million women online from developing countries today. The report is a call to action to double this number,” the report said. This goal, if realized, could potentially contribute an estimated US $13 billion to $18 billion to annual GDP across 144 developing countries.
The report’s findings are based on interviews and surveys of 2,200 women and girls living in urban and peri-urban areas of four focus countries: Egypt, India, Mexico and Uganda, as well as analyses of global databases.
Key highlights from the report
* Gender barriers are real. One in five women in India and Egypt believes the Internet is not “appropriate” for them. On average across the developing world, nearly 25 percent fewer women than men have access to the Internet, and the gender gap soars to nearly 45 percent in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa.
* Across the surveyed countries, nearly half of respondents used the Web to search for and apply for a job, and 30 percent had used the Internet to earn additional income.
* Increases women’s sense of empowerment. More than 70 percent of Internet users considered the Internet “liberating” and 85 percent said it “provides more freedom.”
* Enabling Internet access for more women and girls in developing countries promises immediate, and immense, benefits. Seeing another 600 million women online would mean that 40 percent of women and girls in developing countries.
Full report here.