Basic Internet access is improving for women but a hidden gender digital divide persists, World Wide Web Foundation’s new report

The World Wide Web Foundation published a new report under the title 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 four countries: Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia, and Uganda. The report finds globally men remain 21% more likely to online, 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.