Basic Internet access is improving for women but a hidden digital gender divide persists according to new WWWF report
The World Wide Web Foundation (WWWF) published a new report titled ‘Women’s Rights Online: closing the digital gender gap for a more equal world’, which provides a global snapshot of the state of digital gender inequality. The report was developed through focus groups, interviews, and a survey of almost 10 000 women and men across 4 countries: Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Uganda. The report finds that men are 21% more likely to be online globally, rising to 52% in least developed countries. Yet, there is a hidden digital gender divide linked to a more comprehensive measure of the quality of access (i.e. speeds, data allowance, device type, and regular access). In Colombia, which has a 1% gender gap in basic access, the meaningful connectivity gap is 17%. To close the digital gender divide, this report highlights key areas, with specific steps, that governments and companies must focus on to enable a truly gender-inclusive digital world: a) collect and publish gender data in the technology sector; b) adopt meaningful connectivity as the target for Internet use and tackle the gender gap; (c) promote digital skills and ICT education for women and girls; (d) support women’s participation in technology development, local content creation, and ICT innovation; and (e) safeguard the online privacy of women and girls.