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The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019

The growth of the mobile industry has driven an unprecedented increase in digital inclusion in low- and middle-income countries. Since 2014, mobile operators have connected 700 million new subscribers and another billion have gained access to the internet through a mobile phone, many for the first time.

Despite this growth, mobile ownership still remains far from universal, particularly for women. Women in low- and middle-income countries are 10 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile, and 23 per cent less likely to use mobile internet. As mobile subscriber growth slows, the gender gap in mobile ownership is not closing. Women’s lower levels of mobile ownership and use not only reflect existing gender inequalities, but also threaten to compound them. If the mobile gender gap is not addressed, women risk being left behind as societies and economies digitise.

This report reveals how the mobile gender gap is changing in low- and middle-income countries, as well as ranking the factors preventing equal mobile ownership and mobile internet use for men and women, and outlining the commercial and economic opportunity that closing the mobile gender gap represents. Findings from this report are based on the results of the GSMA Intelligence Consumer Survey, which includes over 20,000 face-to-face surveys across 18 low- and middle-income countries, and subsequent modelling and analysis of this survey data.

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