The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has published Connecting Humanity – Assessing investment needs of connecting humanity to the Internet by 2030, a comprehensive new study that estimates the investment needed to achieve universal, affordable broadband connectivity for all humanity by the end of this decade.
In response to internet censorship by governments across the continent, Africans have turned to technologies of freedom to access blocked content online.
Women, ICT and Emergency Telecommunications: Opportunities and Constraints, a new report from ITU and the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC), highlights that equal access to information and communication technology (ICT) can save lives in emergencies, including during pandemics. Conversely, the digital gender divide is blocking women from becoming equal stakeholders in society, putting entire communities at greater risk during emergencies.
Continue reading New UN report shows closing the gender divide can save lives in emergencies, including pandemics
Richard Devitt, an 86-year-old retired restauranteur living in Massachusetts, doesn’t have an email account and still uses a flip phone. “I honestly don’t need or want them,” he said about smartphones and social media. The fact that attending church services, birthday parties, and even medical appointments now requires logging in online hasn’t changed his mind.
World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee said Thursday the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates “the gross inequality” of a world where almost half the population is unable to connect to the internet.
The internet eased lockdown life for millions. But millions more still can’t get online, and that’s fundamentally unfair
Alex, 28, rides his bike all over a neighborhood in Havana delivering el paquete. It doesn’t matter that there’s a “stay home” order in place—he goes out wearing a mask and carrying a chloride solution. His delivery is now more precious than ever precisely because of the quarantine: Alex provides his customers with information and entertainment. He delivers the Cuban “offline internet.”
Today is International Women’s Day, an occasion to celebrate progress toward gender equity and assess the road still ahead. According to the United Nations, equal access to the Internet and other information and communications technologies is a key gender equality goal. That’s because it offers women an avenue through which they can claim rights and act on social, economic and political opportunities — whether starting businesses, getting education, finding jobs, obtaining health care, finding banking and other financial services, or joining in a wide variety of activities.
Digital gender divide
But in Africa, there’s an online gender gap — and it may actually be widening. On the basis of more than 45,800 face-to-face interviews in 34 African countries between late 2016 and late 2018, Afrobarometer reports that women are less likely than men to own mobile phones, to use them every day, to have phones with access to the Internet, to own computers, to access the Internet regularly, or to get news from the Internet or by social media, as can be seen in the figure below. Gaps range from 11 percentage points in mobile phone ownership and daily use to four points in phone access to the Internet among those who own mobile phones.
Women still lag behind in their ability to access, use and afford digital tools. Cultural barriers and stereotypes can affect their expectations as well, and may lead them toward less rewarding career paths in an increasingly digitalised and interconnected world.
Recognising that gender equality is essential to ensure that men and women can develop their full potential in the digital world, Chile defined “women, SMEs and inclusive growth” and “digital society” as two of its key priorities for its 2019 APEC host year. We contributed to the discussions with a report on the role of education and skills in bridging the digital gender divide, which identifies barriers that prevent women in APEC economies from playing an active role in the digital revolution, as well as key areas for policy action.
Some still do not have mobile phones, and even phone owners struggle with connectivity and costs; they also face security issues
In some emerging economies, many do not own – or even share – mobile phones
As ownership of mobile phones, especially smartphones, spreads rapidly across the globe, there are still notable numbers of people in emerging economies who do not own a mobile phone, or who share one with others. A Pew Research Center survey in 11 emerging economies finds that a median of 6% of adults do not use phones at all, and a median of 7% do not own phones but instead borrow them from others. The mobile divides are most pronounced in Venezuela (32%), India (30%) and the Philippines (27%), countries where about three-in-ten adults do not own a mobile phone.