Africa’s Mobile Gender Gap: Why Millions Of African Women Are Still Offline
African women aren’t online. Although Aissata Fall has a smartphone, the young Senegalese woman
There are many women like Aissata across Africa. Some 200 million Africans are still offline — either voluntarily or involuntarily. Only two out of three women own a cell phone and barely one in three
Story from DW.com.
Even Nigerian lawyer Yalwati Shuaibu only uses her smartphone to read work emails. “Because of the tedious nature of my job, I close late and the moment I get back home it is my priority to attend to my family,” she told DW. “In the community where I come from, women do not normally use their phones for internet access. Men are using their phones to access internet services more than women for many reasons. The men have more engagements and they are always on the go and pursuing more goals.”
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So where does this gap come from? A report from the GSM Association (GSMA), which represents the interests of mobile network companies worldwide, cites four main causes: illiteracy and a lack of internet knowledge, unaffordable mobile data, irrelevant content, and a lack of security.
“Being able to use a mobile phone and being able to access the internet requires certain skills, including literacy, as well as digital skills,” Agnes Odhiambo from Human Rights Watch told DW. “And if you look at education on the continent, many women fall behind men in terms of literacy levels. The other thing is that cell phones are not particularly cheap. A woman in my village was given the option of buying a mobile phone or buying a goat to invest for her family. Some providers charge as much as seven shillings ($0.07, €0.06) [for mobile data] which is way less than a dollar, but for families who are struggling to raise a dollar a day to survive it can be very difficult.”
Read more at DW.com.