Women, globally, have lower rates of mobile ownership, internet access and financial inclusion. This gap is wider still in emerging and least developed countries, particularly the Middle East and North Africa, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
The recently published OECD report, Bridging the Digital Gender Divide addresses leapfrogging opportunities to empower women and reduce the digital gender gap. Women are 10% less likely to own a basic feature phone and 26% less likely than men to own a smartphone. The gap is far more pronounced in certain regions. Women in South Asia, for example, are 70% less likely to own a smartphone.
Digital transformation is helping close this gender gap, lowering barriers to entry for formal financial services, meaningful and flexible work in the gig economy, and internet services. Mobile money offers significant leapfrog opportunities to the unbanked and poorest segments of society, the vast majority of which are women. Mobile money service providers are able to operate in areas that were previously considered unprofitable by formal banking institutions, presenting an opportunity for women to increase their financial security and resilience.
Read the full report from the OECD here.