Telenor Pakistan, in partnership with the GSMA, organised a capacity-building workshop at its headquarters in Islamabad as part of GSMA’s ‘Connected Women’ initiative. The event was significant in the Connected Women strategy, with a focus on exploring ways to bridge the mobile gender gap and promote digital inclusion.
The workshop revealed key findings from GSMA’s recently released ‘Mobile Gender Gap Report’ followed by a discussion on how different stakeholders can be engaged to bridge this digital divide in the country. Considering various socioeconomic factors, concerns surrounding the narrowing gender gap in mobile ownership and usage of mobile internet have become increasingly apparent, especially across lower and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). The discussion highlighted the importance of including women in the digital economy. According to the report, closing the gender gap in mobile ownership and usage between 2023 and 2030 could represent a remarkable four billion USD opportunity for Pakistan’s mobile industry. The study also revealed that women are 7% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, and, specifically in Pakistan, women are 38% less likely to use mobile internet. These statistics underscore the need to address the barriers to digital inclusion and technological adoption for women.
The event began by presenting crucial insights from GSMA’s recently released ‘Mobile Gender Gap Report,’ stimulating a constructive dialogue about engaging various stakeholders to address the digital divide in our country. The discussion highlighted socioeconomic factors impacting the narrowing gender gap in mobile ownership and mobile internet usage, particularly in lower and lower-middle-income countries (LMICs). It underscored the urgency of including women in the digital economy.
During the event, Irfan Wahab Khan, CEO of Telenor Pakistan, reaffirmed the company’s social contract and commitment to empowering women and said, “By enabling women’s active participation in economic activities through essential tools like mobile phones and internet connectivity, we are not only fostering an inclusive and sustainable financial ecosystem but also unlocking significant economic growth for Pakistan. The GSMA’s report findings are a stark reminder of the pressing need to tackle gender inequalities – 31% of women in Pakistan who use mobile internet do not own a mobile phone or possess only a basic device compared to a mere 7% of men, underscores the urgent need to address gender inequalities in affordability, literacy, digital skills, social perceptions, and safety concerns. Through such initiatives and discussions, we aim to drive meaningful change and create a future where every woman can thrive in the digital economy.”
The findings from GSMA’s Mobile Gender Gap 2023 study make it evident that without substantial collective efforts, the gender gap would persist and potentially widen, perpetuating existing inequalities. The workshop highlighted the importance of collaboration between multiple stakeholders, including mobile network operators (MNOs), internet companies, policymakers, regulators, and the development community, to join hands in addressing this challenge.
The workshop served as a powerful platform for motivation, driving the cause of empowering women by bridging the mobile gender gap and promoting digital inclusion. It also reinforced Telenor Pakistan’s commitment to creating a more equitable and connected society where women are at the forefront of digital transformation. -END-