Gender and the Internet Study
Across the developing world, nearly 25 percent fewer women than men have access to the internet – this gap soars to nearly 45 percent in regions like sub-Saharan Africa. Without the internet, women lack access to its tools, resources, and opportunities. And because women are critical collaborators in the effort to achieve development goals, such as reduced child mortality and increased economic growth, this gap disadvantages not just women, but also their families, communities, and countries. Dalberg partnered with Intel to conduct an extensive study to better understand whether, how, and for what purposes women and girls are accessing and using the internet in low and middle income countries in an effort to empower women through innovation and education.
First, we identified the main enablers that can close the gender digital divide, including affordability, infrastructure, and policies. These enablers then guided our research: we collected and analyzed findings from Egypt, Uganda, India, and Mexico. Accurate data was in short supply, so we combined surveys, literature reviews, and extensive interviews with experts and key stakeholders to triangulate relevant and accurate insights about women’s internet access. Interviews and surveys of over 2200 women across four countries drew out rich experiences showing how and why women access and use the internet, and what challenges they face. Based on our findings, we developed a model for women’s internet access across developing countries as a foundation for our “Call to Action” recommendations.
The study was widely disseminated and used to inform policymakers, the development community, and industry about the market size, usage patterns, needs, and preferences of women and girls. The findings illuminated both the constraints and opportunities in meeting the underserved demand for technology among women in the developing world. The study has now become the basis of the “Women and the Web Alliance”, which will bring over 600,000 young women online in Nigeria and Kenya in the next 3 years, as well as Intel’s “She Will Connect” program.