Botswana Speaks blog

45% fewer women in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to the Internet than men

It comes as no surprise that a recent report released by Intel Corporation finds a huge Internet gender gap in Sub-Saharan Africa. According to the report, 45% fewer women in Sub-Saharan Africa have access to the Internet than men. Moreover, one in five women in Egypt believes the Internet is ‘not appropriate’ for them. Such sentiment seems counter-intuitve considering the Internet is regarded as a tool of empowerment. However, internalized gender norms and traditional family expectations limit Internet adoption in many regions and households.

If double the current number of women in developing countries go online, they not only will contribute around $15 billion to annual GDP across 144 countries, but they will find new opportunities to better their lives. Specifically, the Internet enables gains in self-esteem, participation, access to role models from other communities, and information about gender-specific issues. Beyond those first steps, the Internet is powerful in delivering health and agricultural information, along with government services and global news and perspectives.

The hope is this report, and future studies like it, build collaboration among governments, public institutions, corporations, and civil society to prevent a so-called ‘second digital divide’ from leaving women and girls even further behind.

Read more details from Intel’s ‘Women and the Web’ report that pertain to Africa – mostly Egypt and Uganda

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