Monday March 7, 2022

Mobile Internet, Well-being and Gender: Understanding the Links

Person looking at mobile phone smiling, light is reflecting on face in dark room

Findings from Bangladesh and Ghana

With over half the world’s population now using mobile internet, stakeholders have a growing interest in understanding the extent to which it affects the well-being of men and women in low- and middle-income countries. Although studies exist on the household and country-wide impact of mobile broadband coverage, there is very little research on how using mobile internet affects the well-being of individuals, and how this may differ by gender.

The GSMA Connected Women team partnered with the University of Pennsylvania to develop a multidimensional well-being index to examine the link between mobile internet use and well-being among men and women. This report is based on the application of this multidimensional index in Bangladesh and Ghana, using quantitative and supporting qualitative data. It explores the relationship between mobile internet use and well-being, as well as the nuances by the different aspects (dimensions) of wellbeing, and how this differs by gender.

Overall, the research finds that mobile internet use is positively correlated with well-being for many users. However, the degree of correlation differs substantially by country and demographic, highlighting that local context matters. In both Ghana and Bangladesh, important factors included gender, location, family size and level of income and education. These findings are important for stakeholders who are seeking to understand the how mobile internet use can impact the well-being of men and women.

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