Accelerating Digital and Financial Inclusion

Accelerating Digital and
Financial Inclusion for Women

<p>Accelerating Digital and<br />
Financial Inclusion for Women</p>

Mobile has the power to transform lives. But while access is spreading quickly, it is not spreading equally. There remains a significant gender gap in mobile phone ownership and use. It is critical that we work together to address this issue to advance women’s digital and financial inclusion for women and unlock significant commercial and socio-economic opportunities. When women thrive, societies, businesses and economies thrive.


Opportunity

 

We have an opportunity to contribute to the achievement of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls through mobile. This supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG #5 (Gender Equality).

 

Mobile can make women more connected, safer and able to access services such as health and financial services. A GSMA study showed that in each of the 15 low- and middle-income countries surveyed:

58% – 90% of female mobile owners agreed that having a mobile phone helps them in their day-to-day work, studies or household chores

54% – 91% of female mobile owners agreed that having a mobile phone makes them feel safer

53% – 94% of female mobile owners agreed that having a mobile phone provides access to useful information that is otherwise hard to get

But there is a significant gender gap in mobile phone ownership and use, particularly for more transformational services like mobile internet and mobile money. Women in low- and middle-income countries are, on average, 8% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, 20% less likely to use mobile internet and 33% less likely to use mobile money. The gender gap is wider in certain parts of the world – e.g. women in South Asia are 23% less likely to own a mobile than men and 51% less likely to use mobile internet.

Closing the gender gap also represents a significant market opportunity for the mobile industry and can spur economic growth. We estimated that closing the gender gap in low- and middle-income countries between 2019 and 2023 represented a $140bn revenue opportunity for the mobile industry over those five years.

 

Recommendations

The barriers preventing women from accessing mobile technology are complex and cannot be addressed by mobile operators alone. Bridging the mobile gender gap requires action and collaboration between the international community, policymakers and regulators, and the mobile industry.

Click on the tiles below to read the GSMA’s top recommendations for each key stakeholder to close the mobile gender gap:

The Mobile Industry

The Mobile Industry

  • Understand your gender gap and the women in your market by conducting consumer insights research and collecting and analysing gender disaggregated data. (Learn more in this blog.)
  • Make women part of your business strategy including setting KPIs to target women.
  • Ensure your products, services, marketing and distribution consider women’s needs and the barriers they face to mobile access and use.

The Development Community

The Development Community

  • Embed activities that drive women’s mobile access and use in your initiatives.
  • Invest in research to better understand women’s mobile access and use and how to reduce the gender gap.
  • Raise awareness of the barriers to women’s mobile access and use.

Policymakers and Regulators

Policymakers and Regulators

  • Ensure appropriate policy and regulation to lower access barriers for women.
  • Promote gender equality in education and invest in programmes that improve digital literacy for women and girls.
  • Improve women’s safety on mobile through effective policies and strategies including legal frameworks and awareness campaigns.

Resources

Click on the tabs below to access all our Connected Women interviews and related documents setting out key recommendations for action:

Testimonials from Connected Women Key Partners

Hear from leading advocates on why digital and financial inclusion of women is so important and why closing the mobile gender gap is something we must address.

Harriet Lwakatare, Customer Services Director, Vodacom Tanzania

Harriet Lwakatare, Customer Services Director, Vodacom Tanzania

Harriet Lwakatare, Customer Services Director, Vodacom Tanzania

The GSMA Connected Women team met with Harriet Lwakatare, Customer Services Director of Vodacom Tanzania, who spoke about the importance of financial inclusion for women. In this short interview, Harriet also addresses the primary challenge for closing the gender gap in mobile financial services and shares what Vodacom is doing to address these barriers. Vodacom Tanzania is a GSMA Connected Women Commitment Partner. Find out more about the Commitment Initiative here.
Godwin Mashiri, General Manager, Econet EcoSure

Godwin Mashiri, General Manager, Econet EcoSure

Godwin Mashiri, General Manager, Econet EcoSure

In 2017, Econet signed the GSMA Connected Women Commitment to increase the proportion of women customers in their mobile money customer base by 2020. In this interview, Godwin Mashiri, General Manager of Econet EcoSure, shares the importance of financial inclusion for women in Zimbabwe and the influential role they play. You can also read his full interview here.
Irfan Khan, CEO, Telenor Pakistan

Irfan Khan, CEO, Telenor Pakistan

Irfan Khan, CEO, Telenor Pakistan

Irfan Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan, spoke to the GSMA’s Connected Women team at MWC Barcelona 2019 about why digital and financial inclusion for women is an important issue for him and his organisation. He discusses what he views to be the primary challenges to closing the mobile gender gap and highlights how Telenor is addressing these challenge in Pakistan.
Selorm Adadevoh, CEO, MTN Ghana

Selorm Adadevoh, CEO, MTN Ghana

Selorm Adadevoh, CEO, MTN Ghana

Selorm Adadevoh, CEO of MTN Ghana, spoke to the GSMA’s Connected Women team at MWC Barcelona 2019 about why financial inclusion for women is an important issue for him and his organisation. He discusses what he views to be the primary challenge to closing the gender gap in Mobile Money and financial inclusion and highlights how MTN’s MoMo Pay is addressing this challenge in Ghana.
Brad Jones, CEO, Wave Money

Brad Jones, CEO, Wave Money

Brad Jones, CEO, Wave Money

Brad Jones, CEO of Wave Money, spoke to the GSMA’s Connected Women team about why financial inclusion for women is an important issue for him and his organisation. He discusses what he views to be the primary challenge to closing the gender gap in mobile money and financial inclusion and highlights how Wave Money is addressing this challenge in Myanmar.
Bilal Kazmi, CMO, Telenor Pakistan

Bilal Kazmi, CMO, Telenor Pakistan

Bilal Kazmi, CMO, Telenor Pakistan

Bilal Kazmi, Chief Marketing Officer of Telenor Pakistan, explains why driving digital inclusion for women is so important, the challenges we face in closing the mobile gender gap, and the steps that must be taken to address this issue.
Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO, Bharti Airtel

Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO, Bharti Airtel

Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO, Bharti Airtel

Harmeen Mehta, Global CIO and Head of Digital for Bharti Airtel explains why connecting the world is so important and why she values being part of the GSMA’s Connected Women initiative.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women explains the importance of connecting women.
Benoit Janin, CEO, Zanzibar Telecom

Benoit Janin, CEO, Zanzibar Telecom

Benoit Janin, CEO, Zanzibar Telecom

Benoit Janin, CEO of Zanzibar Telecom, talks to Connected Women about why digital and financial inclusion of women is such an important issue and explains how Zanzibar Telecom is working to reduce the digital gender gap.
Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership, ITU

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership, ITU

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership, ITU

Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Chief of Strategic Planning and Membership of the ITU, shares her view of the mobile gender gap in low- and middle-income countries and explains the impact this gap has on women.
Irina Bokova, Former Director General, UNESCO

Irina Bokova, Former Director General, UNESCO

Irina Bokova, Former Director General, UNESCO

Irina Bokova, Former Director General of UNESCO, explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is so important.
Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO, Women’s World Banking

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO, Women’s World Banking

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO, Women’s World Banking

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO of Women's World Banking, shares her views on the importance of financial inclusion of women in low- and middle-income countries and explains what is preventing women from accessing mobile services.
Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA

Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA

Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA

Mats Granryd, Director General of the GSMA, explains why digital and financial inclusion is such an important issue for women in low- and middle-income countries.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, explains why digital and financial inclusion is such an important issue for women in low- and middle-income countries and shares her views on the primary challenges for addressing the mobile gender gap.
Rachel Samren, Executive VP, Millicom

Rachel Samren, Executive VP, Millicom

Rachel Samren, Executive VP, Millicom

Rachel Samren, Executive VP of Millicom, explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is such an important issue and shares her views on the main challenges involved in closing the mobile gender gap.
Sonia Jorge, Executive Director, A4AI

Sonia Jorge, Executive Director, A4AI

Sonia Jorge, Executive Director, A4AI

Sonia Jorge, Executive Director of A4AI, explains why it is so important to address the mobile gender gap.
Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman, Econet Wireless

Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman, Econet Wireless

Strive Masiyiwa, Chairman, Econet Wireless

Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless, explains why digital and financial inclusion of women is an important issue.
Pradeep Shrivastava, CCO, Robi Axiata

Pradeep Shrivastava, CCO, Robi Axiata

Pradeep Shrivastava, CCO, Robi Axiata

Pradeep Shrivastava, CCO of Robi Axiata, talks to Connected Women about why digital and financial inclusion of women is such an important issue and shares what he sees as the primary challenges and solutions for closing the gender gap in mobile internet.
Supun Weerasinghe, Group CEO, Dialog Axiata

Supun Weerasinghe, Group CEO, Dialog Axiata

Supun Weerasinghe, Group CEO, Dialog Axiata

Supun Weerasinghe, Group CEO of Dialog Axiata, talks to Connected Women about why digital and financial inclusion of women is such an important issue and shares what he sees as key for successfully reaching women.

Related Documents

QR Code Merchant Payments. A growth opportunity for mobile money providers

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Thursday 6 Aug 2020 | Accelerating Digital and Financial Inclusion | Interoperability | Middle East and North Africa | Mobile access and use | Mobile for Development | Mobile Money | Programme | Report | Resource Type | Sub-Saharan Africa | Type |

QR code payments are enjoying significant but fragmented global growth, often competing with long-established payment methods, such as card payments. This report looks at some of the most successful schemes around the world and why they are successful.

Reaching 50 Million Women with Mobile: A Practical Guide

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Monday 6 Apr 2020 | Accelerating Digital and Financial Inclusion | Case studies | Connected Women | Digital Inclusion for Women | English | Gender | Latin America & the Caribbean | Middle East and North Africa | Mobile Internet for Women | Mobile Money for Women | Report | South Asia | Sub-Saharan Africa |

This report is a practical guide for mobile operators seeking to reach women with mobile across low- and middle-income countries. For the last 10 years, our GSMA Connected Women programme has been dedicated to this challenge.

10 Lessons Learnt: Closing the Gender Gap in Internet Access and Use

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Monday 23 Sep 2019 | Accelerating Digital and Financial Inclusion | Connected Women | Digital Inclusion | Digital Inclusion for Women | English | Gender | Mobile access and use | Mobile for Development | Mobile internet | Mobile Internet for Women | Report | Resource |

In this report, you will find 10 key lessons to consider when implementing projects that aim to increase women’s access to and use of the internet.

Digital Equity Policy Brief W20 Japan 2019

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Thursday 14 Feb 2019 | Accelerating Digital and Financial Inclusion | Connected Women |

The W20, under the Japanese Presidency, presents this policy brief to outline some of the challenges for women’s access and meaningful use of digital technologies, and to provide guidance for coordinated and effective action by the G20.

Recommendations for action: bridging the gender gap in Internet and broadband access and use

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In March 2017, the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development’s Working Group on the Digital Gender Divide, co-chaired by the GSMA and UNESCO, launched a report that outlines a set of practical actions that stakeholders can take ...

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