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Women key to $170 billion market opportunity in mobile phone industry: GSMA

If women can be connected to mobile Internet and mobile financial services that will open up $170 billion market opportunity in the mobile phone industry by 2020, according to GSM Association or GSMA.

GSMA recently initiated the ‘Connected Women’ program to bring together women who were lagging behind in Internet and financial inclusion.

In Bangladesh empowering women through use of technology has been given a lot of importance in the recent years. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina took the necessary step as she realized its importance. She gave instructions to enhance the cyber security of women. We are working along those lines,” the Post and Telecom Minister Mustafa Jabbar said.

In July 2016, the government’s ICT Division launched the Digital Training Bus Project. State Minister for the ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak told The Independent that the Digital Training Bus Project will be executed over a three-year period. Six buses, fully equipped with modern ICT training facilities, will be deployed to offer ICT training specifically designed to reach out to the women who find it inconvenient to venture out of their homes/localities due to various social restrictions. The six buses will be used to provide basic ICT training to 240,000 young women across 64 districts of the country under the three-year long project. The project is expected to generate great interest among the women especially in the rural area to venture into entrepreneurship through ICT.

If the gender gap in mobile Internet and mobile money services in low and middle-income countries can be reduced, significant commercial and socio-economic opportunities will be unlocked, says GSMA. Because of lack of inclusion women are missing out. The disparity can be attributed in large part to the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage in the low and middle-income countries. Consequently this is is hindering growth for the mobile industry.

Successfully targeting women not only advances women’s digital and financial inclusion, but also unlocks significant growth potential for the mobile industry. As GSMA projects, closing the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage could unlock an estimated $170 billion market opportunity for the mobile phone industry in the period from 2015 to 2020.

GSMA’s ‘Connected Women’ works with mobile operators and their partners to address the barriers to women accessing and using mobile Internet and mobile financial services. Only the united effort of all the stakeholders can unlock this substantial opportunity for the mobile industry to deliver significant socio-economic benefits and transform women’s lives.

Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA said that mobile technology is a powerful tool. It transcends geographies, cultures and socio-economic status and offers wide-ranging benefits to women and society. In a research paper titled “Bridging the gender gap: Mobile access and usage in low and middle-income countries,” GSMA said that mobile phones help women feel safer and more connected, save time and enable access to key services such as mobile financial services and health information.

According to the GSMS research report, women in South Asia are 38 percent less likely to own a phone than men, highlighting that the gender gap in mobile phone ownership is wider in certain parts of the world.

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