According to a new report from GSMA, Sub-Saharan Africa is the second worst global region when it comes to the mobile gender gap. The report revealed that women in Sub-Saharan Africa are 15% less likely to own a mobile device than men, they are also 41% less likely to use the mobile Internet.
Although this number has increased since 2014 (80% of women across these markets now own a mobile phone), it’s quite alarming to note that 86 million women in Sub-Saharan Africa don’t have access to mobile phones. As a matter of fact, only 29% of women in Sub-Saharan African countries use the mobile Internet which equates to over 200 million African women.
To put things in perspective, only South Africa, Nigeria, and Algeria have the smallest mobile gender gap in terms of mobile ownership —In Nigeria, 89% of men own mobile phones as opposed to 84% of women in the country. It’s far worse in other countries like Mozambique and Tanzania.
However, when it comes to Internet usage, women in Nigeria are 29% less likely to use mobile internet than men, which is quite bad, especially when compared to Algeria (7%) and South Africa (15%).
For a bit of comparison, China has no mobile gender gap,
The report also listed a couple of barriers to mobile ownership and mobile Internet use for women. For example, in Nigeria, the major barriers are affordability and literacy/digital skills.
For those wondering why we need to bridge the mobile gender gap, asides from the impact it could have on the lives of these women, closing the mobile gender gap could also deliver “significant commercial and economic returns, and help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” GSMA estimates that closing the gender gap in mobile internet use across low and middle-income countries could add $700 billion in additional GDP in these countries over the next five years.
So, our role is to first acknowledge that these issues exist and address it accordingly and by that, I mean, we need to ensure that the females in our family have equal access.