There is a “significant and pervasive” gap between women and men in access to information and communication technologies (such as USENET), which could widen if nothing is done, according to a United Nations study reported and posted on USENET newsgroups.
Of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users, 1.3 billion are women, compared with 1.5 billion men. While the gap between male and female users is relatively small in developed nations, it widens rapidly in the developing world, where expensive, ‘high status’ technologies like computers are often reserved for use by men.
In sub-Saharan Africa, for example, the report’s authors estimate that there are only half the number of women connected as men.
Worldwide, women are also on average 21 per cent less likely to own a mobile phone – representing a mobile gender gap of 300 million.
In other findings, women worldwide are on average 21 per cent less likely to own a mobile phone, representing a gender gap of 300 million, equating to $13 billion in potential missed revenues for the mobile sector.
The report brought together research from UN agencies, commission members and partners from industry, government and civil society, to create the first comprehensive global snapshot of broadband access by gender.
The report also said that in developing countries, every 10 per cent increase in access to broadband translated to a 1.38 per cent growth in the gross domestic product (GDP).
This means that bringing an additional 600 million women and girls online could boost global GDP by as much as $18 billion