This research brief highlights the potential of digital technologies to empower women in various aspects of their lives, and also underscores the need to address the gender gaps to ensure inclusivity and equal opportunities in the digital economy.
The paper discusses the gender gaps in technology access and usage that prevent women in India from fully benefiting from digital advancements. It presents data showing significant gender disparities in mobile phone ownership and internet usage in India. For instance, only one-third of internet users are women, and they are 15% less likely to own a mobile phone compared to men. The report also identifies various causes for these gender gaps, including socio-cultural and economic factors.
The paper also highlights the gender gaps in the number of use cases of mobile phones and discovers that women’s usage of digital applications for finance, networking and safety is very limited.
To address these challenges and empower women digitally, the paper recommends a three-pronged approach:
- Reduce the gender gap in smartphone ownership and internet usage by providing women with economic incentives and digital literacy as well as customising their marketing campaigns to target women
- Promote greater use cases of smartphones among women, by developing apps targeted at women’s unique needs, encouraging women in tech, and customizing user experiences and marketing campaigns to resonate with women users.
- Build a safe and secure online environment, by incorporating safety apps, facilitating reporting mechanisms for online abuse, and educating women about online safety.
In the end, the paper also explores the idea of devising mobile phones exclusively designed for women