In 2015, Half of MENA Women do not own a mobile phone

By Maria Gonzalez, CommsMEA  on 8 March 2015.

Mobile access, improving on the gender gap when using budget phones and smartphones is one of the key topics that were discussed during the GSMA Connected Woman Awards, celebrated in Barcelona during the Mobile World Congress.

In the Middle East and North Africa, 48% of women (84 million) that means that half of MENA women do not own a mobile phone according to the GSMA.

Yasmina McCarty, head of Development and operations of GSMA M4D, moderated the debate and asked to the panellists how operators should unlock the market opportunity and provide a sustainable business model to promote women inclusion in less developed countries.

Ann Mei Chang, executive director, Global Development Lab at USAID, said that companies should focus on market segmentation and analyse that data in order to find what women need.

Rajiv Bawa, chief representative officer at Telenor Group in India, agreed that the cost is “clearly” a general issue that operators need to address, as operators claim the need of a sustainable business model to support this change.

Bridging MENA’s Gender Gap in mobile access

The GSMA released ‘Bridging the Gender Gap: Mobile Access and Usage in Low- and Middle-income Countries’, a report that examines mobile phone ownership by women, as well as the barriers to mobile phone adoption and usage and identifies actionable opportunities for stakeholders across the mobile ecosystem to accelerate the uptake of mobile technology by women.

The research showed that over 1.7 billion females in low- and middle-income countries do not own mobile phones and women on average are 14% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, creating a gender gap of 200 million fewer women than men owning mobile phones.

According to the research, the top five barriers to women owning and using mobile phones from a customer perspective are cost; network quality and coverage; security and harassment via mobile; operator or agent trust; and technical literacy and confidence issues. Social norms and disparities between men and women in terms of education and income influence women’s access to and use of mobile technology, and often contribute to women experiencing barriers to mobile phone ownership and use more acutely than men.

Please read more at http://www.commsmea.com/14842-in-mena-48-of-women-do-not-own-a-mobile-phone/