More Kenyan women use mobile Internet

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A mobile subscriber uses her phone. FILE PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

Kenyan women are narrowing the gap between them and men in terms of mobile internet use, a new study shows.

The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2023 published by the international association for mobile network operators GSMA indicates that 59 percent of Kenyan men have adopted mobile internet, a stagnation from last year while the figure for women has risen to 39 percent from 36 percent.

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A user must have been on the internet on a mobile device at least once in the last three months, the GSMA says. The user does not necessarily have to own the mobile device.

The report, which was generated after a sample survey that engaged more than 13,800 face-to-face respondents from 12 low and middle-income countries (LMICs) identified Ethiopia as having the widest gender gap at 57 percent while Mexico had the slimmest at four percent.

Among the countries involved in the study are Kenya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal drawn from Africa while Asia had Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. Others are Mexico and Guatemala from Latin America.

“Between 2018 and 2020, the gender gap had been narrowing due to changing market dynamics, more affordable handsets and a notable increase in women’s adoption during the onset of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns,” the report notes.

On the mobile device ownership parameter, Kenya posted an impressive gap of six percent, only rivalled by Egypt and Mexico with a two percent gap each as Nigeria posted five percent.

In Kenya, 93 percent of all adult males own a mobile device, which is a decline from last year’s 94 percent while women have maintained their number at 88 percent for both years.

The report found that an additional 60 million women adopted mobile internet in 2022 across all LMICs, but that 310 million fewer women than men are making use of and benefiting from it.

GSMA says closing the gender gap by 2030 in the LMICs, an average of 100 million women per year will need to adopt mobile internet.

The association said enabling more women to access and use mobile phones can help them to cope better with economic and social disruptions brought about by the pandemic, and climate change among other global crises.

“GSMA research has found that closing the gender gap in mobile internet use in LMICs could deliver an additional $700 billion in GDP growth over five years,” says the report.

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“The association further estimates that closing the gender gap in mobile ownership and use in LMICs by 2030 would generate $230 billion in additional revenue for the mobile industry.”

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