A new study reveals that most of the women in Pakistan are less educated and belong to poor families who can not afford a mobile phone. The study “Information Communication Technology access and use in Asia and the Global South” revealed that 37 percent of women between 15-65 years are less likely to own a mobile phone when compared to men. This report is based on a survey of 2,000 households in Pakistan.
Gender Gap: Pakistani women less likely to own a mobile phone than men
Out of women between the age 15-65 years, 43 per cent of women are less likely to use internet due to which male counterparts are more tech savvy.
Due to these results, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh have the highest gender gap in Asia when the internet and mobile phone accessibility is considered.
LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya said:
“This marginalisation and lack of access is exacerbated in rural and social contexts limiting their access to technology. Also, mere access is not enough if they cannot utilise due to structural and social constraints,”
Galpaya further said that:
The 152 million active cellular subscribers mentioned on Pakistan Telecommunication Authority [PTA] website, despite a good SIM registration system, tell nothing about the subscribers, whether they are men or women, rich or poor and does not really help one understand access and usage gaps,”
Around half the population of the world comprises of women. In Pakistan also, out of total 207 million people, 101 million are females. Women are an integral part of any society who plays an important role in the development of a country. Therefore, they should be provided with platforms to utilize their talents and bring revolutionary changes in the country. The advent of technology has opened many such venues but unfortunately, large portion of female population lags behind in internet use and access.
Pakistan is one of the countries where the unconnected population and the gender gap in mobile ownership is very high. There are a number of reasons that have contributed to this huge gender gap including:
- High cost of mobile handsets
- Limited network coverage
- Security concerns & harassment over mobile phones
- Cultural barriers
- Low technical literacy & confidence
- Dependence on male family members
- Expensive mobile broadband
- Lack of awareness
To support this argument it is necessary to mention that if telecommunications providers close the gender-gap in mobile phone penetration, worldwide telecommunications revenue would increase by US $ 13 billion. Pakistan has to give its due share by empowering women through cellular phones!