Women are coming online later and more slowly than men around the world, according to a new report released today by the Broadband Commission Working Group on broadband and gender.
Of the world’s 2.8 billion Internet users, 1.3 billion are women, compared with 1.5 billion men, and this gap between male and female users widens rapidly in the developing world.
This gap is relatively small in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations. However, globally this gap will grow over the next three years if governments of nations don’t take the right steps to correct this issue.
Using computers is associated with status in developing nations, and thus men are more often “allowed” to use these products as compared to women in these regions.
The report also notes a worldwide mobile gender gap of 300 million, which totals to US$13 billion in potential missed revenues for those in the mobile industry.
“This report shows ways in which we can further advance the sustainable development agenda by promoting the use of new technologies in support of gender equality and women’s empowerment,” said Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The top 10 countries
Qatar is ranked 10 as the top 10 countries for Internet in the 2013 edition of the State of Broadband Report. New Zealand is ranked eight and all other nations in the top ten are located in Europe.
While Switzerland is the top most nation in fixed broadband subscriptions, the Republic of Korea continues to have the world’s highest household broadband penetration.
The US ranks 20 for fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Finland and ahead of Japan.
Although there is progress in broadband availability, more than 90 percent of people in the world’s 49 Least Developed Countries are completely unconnected.
“Technology combined with relevant content and services can help us bridge urgent development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment,” said International Telecommunication Union (ITU) secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I. Touré.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.