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The Gender Gap Exists Online, Too

Posted: 10/14/2013 12:35 am

A report released by the UN Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender revealed that there are 200-million fewer women online than men.

Called Doubling Digital Opportunities: Enhancing the Inclusion of Women & Girls in the Information Society, the report revealed that of the 2.8-billion Internet users worldwide, only 1.3 billion are women while 1.5 billion are men. The report further warns that if no steps are taken to address the issue, the gap could widen to as much as 350 million in the next three years.

The online gap in OECD nations is quite small, the report says, but this widens in developing countries primarily because the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) are reserved for men.

This technology gap does not end on the Internet. It is found in mobile communication devices as well. On the average, women around the world are 21 per cent less likely to have their own mobile phones. It means that there are 300 million less women who are owners of mobile phones compared to men.

The question now is: Why does the online gender gap matter, anyway? According to the report, access to ICTs allows users to exercise their freedom of expression. Doing so allows stakeholders to have a say in policy-making. Equally important is the fact that closing this online gender gap makes for good economics.

Citing research from various sources, the report says: "The World Bank (2009) estimates that every 10 per cent increase in access to broadband results in 1.38 per cent growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for developing countries. Bringing women online can boost GDP -- Intel (2013) estimates that bringing 600 million additional women and girls online could boost global GDP by up to US$13-18 billion."

Bridging the tech gap also provides opportunities to businesses to widen their customer base. The mobile phone gap, for example, represented potential missed revenues amounting to US$13 million for the mobile industry. Indeed, giving more women online access results to more robust economies.

Given the direct relationship between ICT access and economic growth, what must nations do in order to give more women better online access? The Broadband Commission strongly urges policymakers to incorporate gender perspectives into ICT policies so that gender equality is attained. They should also look at how to make ICT equipment and Internet access affordable to those whose low incomes do not permit them to afford a useful broadband connection.

The report also suggests the development of relevant and local online content to those in marginalized areas and providing digital literacy training for women and girls, among others. The Broadband Commission also encourages governments to study their recommendations so that they can create an action plan that would provide for gender equality in online access by the year 2020.

By Nicel Jane Avellana, contributor at r/ally, the mobile collaboration platform that lets you socialize your goals.

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  • 1. Iceland

    2012 score: 0.8640 In 2011, Iceland ranked #1 with a score of 0.8530.

  • 2. Finland

    2012 score: 0.8451 In 2011, Finland ranked #3 with a score of 0.8383

  • 3. Norway

    2012 score: 0.8403 In 2011, Norway ranked #2 with a score of 0.8404.

  • 4. Sweden

    2012 score: 0.8159 In 2011, Sweden ranked #4 with a score of 0.8044.

  • 5. Ireland

    2012 score: 0.7839 In 2011, Ireland ranked #5 with a score of 0.7830.

  • 6. New Zealand

    2012 score: 0.7805 In 2011, New Zealand ranked #6 with a score of 0.7810.

  • 7. Denmark

    2012 score: 0.7777 In 2011, Denmark ranked #7 with a score of 0.7778.

  • 8. Philippines

    2012 score: 0.7757 In 2011, the Philippines ranked #8 with a score of 0.7685.

  • 9. Nicaragua

    2012 score: 0.7697 In 2011, Nicaragua ranked #27 with a score of 0.7245.

  • 10. Switzerland

    2012 score: 0.7672 In 2011, Switzerland ranked #10 with a score of 0.7627.

  • 11. Netherlands

    2012 score: 0.7659 In 2012, the Netherlands ranked #15 with a score of 0.7470.

  • 12. Belgium

    2012 score: 0.7652 In 2011, Belgium ranked #13 with a score of 0.7531.

  • 13. Germany

    2012 score: 0.7629 In 2011, Germany ranked #11 with a score of 0.7590.

  • 14. Lesotho

    2012 score: 0.7608 In 2011, Lesotho ranked #9 with a score of 0.7666.

  • 15. Latvia

    2012 score: 0.7572 In 2011, Latvia ranked #19 with a score of 0.7399.

  • 16. South Africa

    2012 score: 0.7496 In 2011, South Africa ranked #14 with a score of 0.7478.

  • 17. Luxembourg

    2012 score: 0.7439 In 2011, Luxembourg was ranked #30 with a score of 0.7216.

  • 18. United Kingdom

    2012 score: 0.7433 In 2011, the United Kingdom ranked #16 with a score of 0.7462.

  • 19. Cuba

    2012 score: 0.7417 In 2011, Cuba was ranked #20 with a score of 0.7394.

  • 20. Austria

    2012 score: 0.7391 In 2011, Austria ranked #34 with a score of 0.7165.

  • 21. Canada

    2012 score: 0.7381 In 2011, Canada ranked #18 with a score of 0.7407.

  • 22. United States

    2012 score: 0.7373 In 2011, the United States ranked #17 with a score of 0.7412.

  • 23. Mozambique

    2012 score: 0.7350 In 2011, Mozambique ranked #26 with a score of 0.7251.

  • 24. Burundi

    2012 score: 0.7338 In 2011, Burundi ranked #24 with a score of 0.7270.

  • 25. Australia

    2012 score: 0.7294 In 2011, Australia ranked #23 with a score of 0.7291.

  • 111. Bahrain

    2012 score: 0.6298 In 2011, Bahrain ranked #110 with a score of 0.6232.

  • 112. Cameroon

    2012 score: 0.6291 In 2011, Cameroon ranked #119 with a score of 0.6073.

  • 113. Fiji

    2012 score: 0.6285 In 2011, Fiji ranked #109 with a score of 0.6255.

  • 114. Zambia

    2012 score: 0.6279 In 2011, Zambia ranked #106 with a score of 0.6300.

  • 115. Qatar

    2012 score: 0.6264 In 2011, Qatar ranked #111 with a score of 0.6230.

  • 116. Guatemala

    2012 score: 0.6260 In 2011, Guatemala ranked #112 with a score of 0.6229.

  • 117. Benin

    2012 score: 0.6258 In 2012, Benin ranked #128 with a score of 0.5832.

  • 118. Ethiopia

    2012 score: 0.6200 In 2011, Ethiopia ranked #116 with a score of 0.6136.

  • 119. Mauritania

    2012 score: 0.6129 In 2011, Mauritania ranked #114 with a score of 0.6164.

  • 120. Algeria

    2012 score: 0.6112 In 2011, Algeria ranked #121 with a score of 0.5991.

  • 121. Jordan

    2012 score: 0.6103 In 2011, Jordan ranked #117 with a score of 0.6117.

  • 122. Lebanon

    2012 score: 0.6030 In 2011, Lebanon ranked #118 with a score of 0.6083.

  • 123. Nepal

    2012 score: 0.6026 In 2011, Nepal ranked #126 with a score of 0.5888.

  • 124. Turkey

    2012 score: 0.6015 In 2011, Turkey ranked #122 with a score of 0.5954.

  • 125. Oman

    2012 score: 0.5986 In 2011, Oman ranked #127 with a score of 0.5873.

  • 126. Egypt

    2012 score: 0.5975 In 2011, Egypt ranked #123 with a score of 0.5933.

  • 127. Iran

    2012 score: 0.5927 In 2011, Iran ranked #125 with a score of 0.5894.

  • 128. Mali

    2012 score: 0.5842 In 2011, Mali ranked #132 with a score of 0.5752.

  • 129. Morocco

    2012 score: 0.5833 In 2011, Morocco ranked #129 with a score of 0.5804.

  • 130. Côte d'Ivoire

    2012 score: 0.5785 In 2011, Côte d'Ivoire ranked #130 with a score of 0.5773.

  • 131. Saudi Arabia

    2012 score: 0.5731 In 2011, Saudi Arabia ranked #131 with a score of 0.5753.

  • 132. Syria

    2012 score: 0.5626 In 2011, Syria ranked #124 with a score of 0.5896.

  • 133. Chad

    2012 score: 0.5594 In 2011, Chad ranked #134 with a score of 0.5334.

  • 134. Pakistan

    2012 score: 0.5478 In 2011, Pakistan ranked #133 with a score of 0.5583.

  • 135. Yemen

    2012 score: 0.5054 In 2011, Yemen ranked #135 with a score of 0.4873.

 

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