The GSMA on Wednesday announced the second signatory of the Connected Women Commitment Initiative in Latin America. Tigo El Salvador has committed to having an equal number of women as men in its mobile internet customer base by 2020.
Connected Women aims to facilitate the digital and financial inclusion of women in emerging markets by working with mobile operators to close the gender gap in their mobile internet and mobile money customer bases. Connected Women announced its first Latin American commitment – from Tigo Paraguay – in September 2016.
The GSMA found in its 2015 report “Bridging the gender gap: Mobile access and usage in low and middle-income countries” that an estimated 149 million females across Latin America and the Caribbean do not own mobile phones, and that women are on average 5% less likely than men to own mobile phones. This represents nine million fewer women connected than men in the region, with an even larger gap emerging in rural areas.
Mobile phones help women feel safer, more connected, save time and money and can increase education and employment opportunities. Ensuring digital and financial inclusion for women is essential, because when women thrive, societies and economies thrive. The GSMA estimates that closing the global gender gap in ownership and usage also represents a $170bn opportunity for the mobile industry out to 2020.
The GSMA therefore encourages other operators in Latin America to make a similar commitment to address the gender gap in their customer bases, and help encourage the digital and financial inclusion of women in the region.