GSMA and Mobile Operators Launch Initiative to Extend Mobile Money and Mobile Internet to Women Globally
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
The GSMA today announced the launch of the Connected Women Commitment Initiative, aimed at reducing the mobile gender gap. Initial commitments by GSMA operator members, with over 75 million mobile internet and mobile money customers, will aim to connect millions more women in low- and middle-income countries by 20201. These operators will seek to increase the proportion of their female customers to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. This builds on the 15 million women already benefiting from female-focused services offered by the GSMA’s Connected Women operator partners.
“In an increasingly connected world, women are currently being left behind,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “GSMA research2 estimates there are 200 million fewer women than men who own a mobile phone in low- and middle-income countries. But even when women do own a mobile device, they are far less likely to use it for more sophisticated services, such as mobile internet and mobile money, and therefore miss out on key socio-economic opportunities. Ensuring digital and financial inclusion for women is critically important, as when women thrive, societies, businesses and economies thrive.”
The first GSMA operator members to have made Connected Women Commitments in their markets include Dialog Axiata PLC in Sri Lanka, Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd (Digi) in Malaysia, Indosat Ooredoo in Indonesia, Ooreeoo Maldives, Ooredoo Myanmar, Robi Axiata Limited in Bangladesh, Tigo Rwanda and Turkcell in Turkey. Existing and potential commitments amongst the mobile operators include, for example: increasing the number of female agents; improving the data top-up process to be safer and more appealing to women; and improving digital literacy among women through educational programmes and interactive content. Closing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage in the developing world could unlock an estimated US$170 billion market opportunity for the mobile industry in the period 2015-2020.