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Women’s mobile internet adoption in India reaches 37%, says GSMA

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In Short:

In India, more women are using the internet on mobile phones, narrowing the gender gap from 40% to 30%. Globally, 120 million more women connected to the internet via mobile in 2023. However, 785 million women remain unconnected, with 60% in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Closing the gender gap in mobile ownership could boost the industry’s revenue by $230 billion.

Women’s Mobile Internet Adoption in India Reaches 37%, Gender Gap Narrows

According to a global report released on Wednesday, women’s internet adoption on mobile phones has reached 37 per cent in India, while adoption among men remains stable, narrowing the gender gap from 40 per cent to 30 per cent.

Global Trends

It was reported that in 2023, an additional 120 million women connected to the internet via mobile globally, with more women in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) using mobile internet than ever before, totaling 1.5 billion (66 per cent).

An alarming 785 million women, however, remain unconnected, with approximately 60 per cent in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, as per the annual ‘Mobile Gender Gap Report 2024’ by the GSMA.

Efforts to Close the Gap

Claire Sibthorpe, Head of Digital Inclusion at the GSMA, mentioned that the reduction in the mobile internet gender gap is promising but “sustaining momentum is fragile.” The organization is collaborating with industry, policymakers, and other partners to address key barriers including affordability, awareness, and digital skills.

The GSMA estimates that closing the gender gap in mobile ownership and usage across LMICs could deliver an additional $230 billion in revenue to the mobile industry over an eight-year period.

Key Statistics

The gender gap in mobile internet adoption across LMICs has narrowed for the first time since 2020, driven by women adopting it at a faster rate than men, particularly in South Asia. Women are now 15 per cent less likely than men to use mobile internet across LMICs.

Across LMICs, there are now 1.4 billion women who own a smartphone, meaning that 60 per cent of women now own a smartphone device. However, 40 per cent of women in these countries, totaling 940 million, do not own a smartphone.

“Mobile remains the primary — and often only — way people in LMICs access the internet, accounting for 84 per cent of broadband connections in 2023,” the report noted.

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