Is the African digital landscape inclusive for all? Whilst millions of African women are becoming connected through mobile technology and reaping the life changing benefits that it can bring, many more are still left behind. Compared to men, women in Sub-Saharan Africa are, for instance, 14% less likely to own a mobile phone, 34% less likely to use mobile internet and 20% less likely to use mobile money, according to Findex data and our Mobile Gender Gap Report 2018.
Mobile operators across the continent are working hard to address this, realising that reaching more women can not only bring socio-economic benefits to women and their families, but is also commercially attractive; women are half of the potential market. To date, 19 operators across Africa have together made 26 formal commitments through the GSMA Connected Women’s Commitment initiative to increase the proportion of women in their mobile internet and/or mobile money customer base by 2020.
They are reaching women customers through micro loans and savings products, helping women’s agricultural groups see the benefits of mobile money for payments, developing healthcare apps and solutions, recruiting female agents and merchants, mobile financial products for traditional women’s savings groups, handset credit schemes and other innovative initiatives.
What have these operators learned about reaching women, and what would their advice be to others seeking to replicate their approach? We are delighted to have some of our operator Commitment Partners speak about their initiatives during our Connected Women panel during Mobile 360 – Africa 2018 in Kigali, Rwanda, on Tuesday, 17 July. We welcome you to come and hear their successes and challenges as they seek to address the African mobile gender gap.
By Adrine Muhura, Connected Women Market Engagement Manager for Africa, GSMA