Gender equality in the tech space has been a major topic in most technology summit and gathering around the world. While such narrative helps create the environment for encouraging more women to become interested and pursue education or career within the tech space, more still needs to be done.
It is now emerging that more men are using the internet than the women. Statistics also forecasts that within the next three years, the number of women online will be less than the number of men online by 350 million.
This forecast was brought out by the report Doubling Digital Opportunities: Enhancing the Inclusion of Women and Girls in the Information Society. A report tabled by the Broadband Commission Working Group on Gender of the International Telecommunications Union, (ITU).
According to the Commission, currently there are about 200 million few women online compared to men. Their projection shows that in three years’ time, this gap will widen to 350 million fewer women if remedial steps are not taken.
According to the report, globally, women are using the Internet much later and slowly compared to their male counterparts. The report revealed that out of the 2.8 billion Internet users around the Globe, 1.3 billion are women while 1.5 billion are men. The report further goes to says that the gap in gender Internet usage is much wider in the developing world compared to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
The report also says, globally women are 21% less likely to own a mobile phone. A mobile gender disparity of 300 million fewer women and a $13 billion potential revenue missed by the mobile industry.
ITU’s Gary Fowlie speaking at the 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development held last month in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He said that 50% of the world’s population still does not have Internet access. Fowlie also said that if everyone could be connected to the Internet at the same level those in developed countries are connected, 140 million jobs will be created, and 160 million people will be uplifted from poverty.
While speaking on the privileges ICT accords in terms of sustainable financial development, Fowlie said that the developed world takes ICT for granted:
“It’s like breathing, we only think about it when we can’t – the network is down, you aren’t able to access your bank account or your own personal data, maybe your energy source isn’t working because the smart grid upon which it operates has malfunctioned.”
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