#M360Africa: Nine mobile operators join GSMA to reduce mobile gender gap by 2020

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Nine new signatories have joined GSMA's Connected Women Commitment Initiative, which focuses on reducing the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services.

The nine signatories, Orange Mali, Smart Burundi, Smart Tanzania, Smart Uganda, Tigo Chad, Tigo Ghana, Tigo Senegal, Tigo Tanzania and Zantel join with other GSMA operator members in committing to connect more women in low- and middle-income countries by 2020. Collectively, these operators represent more than 85 million mobile internet and mobile money customers.

Currently about 15 million women are already benefiting from female-focused services offered by GSMA Connected Women operator partners. Through the Connected Women Commitment Initiative, operators are working to increase the proportion of their female customers, supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

“Tackling the gender gap in mobile phone ownership is a critical topic that business leaders and governments should be encouraged to address said Mats Granryd, Director General, GSMA. “GSMA research1 estimates there are 200 million fewer women than men who own a mobile phone in low- and middle-income countries, therefore missing out on key socio-economic opportunities. Ensuring digital and financial inclusion for women is essential, because when women thrive, societies and economies thrive.”

Existing and potential commitments amongst the mobile operators include, for example: increasing the number of female agents; improving the data top-up process to be safer and more appealing to women; and improving digital literacy among women through educational programmes and interactive content. Closing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage in the developing world could unlock an estimated US$170 billion market opportunity for the mobile industry in the period 2015-2020.

The Connected Women Commitment Initiative was launched in February 2016.

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