GSMA launches new initiative in Connected Women Programme

The GSMA has announced a new initiative promoting the role of women in the mobile industry – particularly within emerging markets - as part of the Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action.

Connected Women: Accelerating the Female Mobile Economy was announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York City, and forms part of a GSMA partner project aimed at accelerating growth of the female digital economy. The project has already reached 10 million women through existing initiatives.

The Connected Women Programme will undertake studies that will offer critical insights into the socio-economic benefits of greater inclusion of women at all points in the industry and will be used by partners to develop initiatives and services for female consumers and employees.

“The ubiquity and affordability of mobile presents us with the unprecedented opportunity to improve and enhance social and economic development” said Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA. “However, women in particular tend to be left behind, not only as consumers of mobile services, but also as employees and leaders in the mobile industry. To address this, the GSMA has partnered with key industry stakeholders with the vision of accelerating the potential of the female digital economy.”

In partnership with the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the GSMA will undertake a research project to increase understanding of the current mobile phone gender gap, the drivers for and barriers to mobile phone access and usage, and implications for industry policymakers and other stakeholders. The study will be amongst the most comprehensive taken to date by the international community on women’s technology wants and needs at the base of the pyramid. The research project will include 12,000 interviews and 84 focus group sessions across China, Columbia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Nigeria and Turkey.

In partnership with A.T. Kearney, the GSMA will also undertake and publish a landmark piece of research examining the state of gender diversity across the industry, highlighting best practices and offering strategic advice on areas of potential change. The objective of the research is to raise awareness of the opportunities for and the role of women in the global telecoms ecosystem and to drive change across the industry by demonstrating how women can support the aspirations of the industry. The report will provide metrics for monitoring progress and activity.

Upon completion of the research reports in early 2015, the GSMA Connected Women Programme partners, which currently include Ooredoo, Qualcomm, Roshan and Smart Communications, commit to using the insights and recommendations generated, to create programmes and services for their female customers and employees. GSMA operator partners will use the findings to deliver the appropriate services including: enhanced access to the mobile Internet for women; recruitment of women to become distributors of mobile airtime credits within their communities, which will allow them to expand digital access while generating household income; provision of information and services that women need with regards to health, education and entrepreneurship skills; provision of mobile technology to women factory workers to enable access to health information; and launch services designed to protect women in vulnerable situations by enabling them to block unwanted callers, preventing harassment and verbal abuse.

Bouverot continued, “The GSMA Connected Women Programme is spearheading the growth of the female digital economy and we look forward to welcoming new partners to help to bring critical socio-economic benefits to women consumers and employees across the globe.”



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