GSMA call to action on International Women’s Day - Women Deserve the Freedom to Connect

On International Women’s Day, the GSMA urges all members of the mobile industry, the international development community and the public to support women’s freedom to connect by signing the GSMA mWomen Charter at

A woman in the developing world is 21 per cent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man, representing a mobile phone gender gap of 300 million women, despite the well-documented* benefits of mobile phone ownership, which include increased opportunities for income generation, access to education and health information; greater feelings of security and connection to family and friends. The GSMA mWomen Charter reminds us that today  connectivity is fundamental, especially for accessing vital information and services, and there must be more action to close the mobile phone gender gap.

The GSMA mWomen Programme is also giving those already taking action a chance tell others about their work via the mWomen Deployment Tracker, an interactive, online tool designed as a hub for gender and mobile projects around the world, encouraging collaboration and shared learning.  Learn more about the projects already underway and add those of your own organisation today:

The GSMA mWomen Programme

The GSMA mWomen Programme is an unprecedented global public-private partnership between the worldwide mobile industry and the international development community to address the barriers to women’s mobile phone ownership in low-to-middle income countries and to deliver life-changing services at scale via mobile.

To date 23 mobile network operators have committed to the GSMA mWomen Programme, representing over 115 developing countries, as well as other key mobile companies such as Ericsson, Google and Nokia. International development community partners include the BBC World Service Trust, the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and the U.S. Department of State.  GSMA mWomen Global Champions include Cherie Blair, Helen Clark, Judith Rodin and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

More info:

* Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity report

The Women & Mobile: A Global Opportunity report, produced by the GSMA Development Fund and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, is the first detailed study on women’s mobile phone ownership and usage in low-to-middle income countries.

The report shows that the benefits of women’s access to mobile phones include:

  • 93 per cent of women feel safer because of their mobile phone
  • 93 per cent  feel more connected to family and friends
  • 85 per cent  feel more independent
  • 41 per cent report increased income-generating opportunities.

The barriers to women’s mobile phone ownership in the developing world identified in the report include:

  • Total cost of ownership, including the price of handsets, services and charging
  • Cultural barriers, including traditional attitudes towards women’s ownership of productive assets
  • Women’s fear of being able to master mobile technology
  • Perceived lack of need for mobile phones

To download the full report, please visit:

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