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Women in Africa are using internet more for self-empowerment than the men

by Milicent Atieno

Software company Opera and non-profit Worldreader joined hands in a study to observe internet consumption pattern in Africa between men and women aged between 14 and 44 years old. The findings of the survey, conducted in May 2017 across Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa with some 1,500 participants (both men and women) are as follows:

Compared to men, women in Africa use the internet more to empower themselves and get some entertainment. The study also established that women are just as much tech savvy as their male counterpart. That is as far as browsing the internet on a mobile device goes.

The women surveyed in Kenya and Nigeria said they access the internet via mobile browsers at an average of eight times per day. The study also established that women purchase a bigger data bundle than their male counterpart.

In Kenya, almost half of the female correspondents that took part in the survey say the spent more than Ksh. 1,000 ($9.62) to purchase mobile data plan. Only a third of the male correspondent stated that they do buy mobile data plan of that amount. In Nigeria, 70% of the female correspondent stated that they spend over NGN 1,000 ($2.74) on mobile data package, compared to 60% of the men buying the same amount.self-empowerment

In Kenya, more women are purchasing bigger mobile data plans of 10GB and over than the men. The browsing habits registered by Opera browser were later added to the mobile reading habits of 50,000 Worldreader app users in the three countries for a wide angle view of internet use pattern between men and women in Africa.

Women look for self-development and entertainment while online

According to observations made by both Opera and Worldreader, women in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa had engaged with online content on a wider and deeper scale than the men. Female correspondents in the Opera survey showed more profound interest in more topics than men; generally they were interested in 9 out of the 15 topics under the survey.

Worldreader observed that generally, women were accessing more e-book on their e-book readers than the men. Worldreader further notices that women were reading three times the number of pages the average man is reading.

Opera also established that women generally browse the internet as a way of relaxing and get some entertainment online. The women are mostly browsing content on lifestyle, music, and entertainment. On the Worldreader app, the women are mainly reading materials on romance, thrillers, and fiction; in some instances, a woman reads ten times the content a man reads.self-empowerment

Women are far more engaged with online content than men

The biggest drive factor for most women to go online is for empowerment, and while at it, they tend to engage more with content compared to men. Women tend to focus more on content on education, economy, public health, property rights, and public services.

In the three countries, women ranked highly the option of having access to news outlets on their mobile browser. Worldreader found out that, women aged 26 to 44 were particularly more interested in e-books touching on Career Development, Inspiration, and Children’s sections.

View the infographics by Opera and Worldreader on the online behavior of women and men in Africa at this link.

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