Women are a promising "emerging" broadband market, says UN study
With 200 million fewer women online than men today, a new study released by the Broadband Commission Working Group on Broadband and Gender says that there is a "significant and pervasive" technology gap in accessing information and communications technologies.
This gap could expand to 350 million on a global basis by 2016 if no action is taken to reverse the trend.
Led by Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the new report called Doubling Digital Opportunities: Enhancing the Inclusion of Women & Girls in the Information Society provides a look at broadband access usage by gender.
One of the key revelations of the study is that women worldwide are getting online later and more slowly than men.
Out of the world's 2.8 billion Internet users, 1.3 billion are women, compared with 1.5 billion men. This gap is the widest in the developing countries where access to computers is reserved for male users. The report's authors estimate that in sub-Saharan Africa there are only half the number of women connected as men, for example.
The report says that female users could become a new market opportunity for device makers, network operators, and software and app developers to target.
One of the potential benefits of getting more women online is that in developing countries every 10 percent increase in broadband access translates to a 1.38 percent growth in GDP. The authors forecast that bringing an additional 600 million women and girls online could boost global GDP by as much as $18 billion.
- see the release