Ooredoo has announced a number of major new initiatives for the GSMA Connected Women Programme.
The Connected Women Programme will undertake studies that will offer critical insights into the socio-economic benefits of greater inclusion of women in the telecommunications sector. The findings will be used by partners – including Ooredoo – to develop initiatives and services for female consumers and employees.
Ooredoo will draw on the data to provide tailored services for women in Myanmar, aiming to connect millions of women to mobile and internet services– many of whom have never had access to the Internet before.
In addition, Ooredoo’s Indosat will draw on the data to launch new services designed for women in Indonesia. Indosat will launch a new start-up called Wobe, targeting lower to middle income Indonesian women with voice, data and internet services.
Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation, said: “‘Ensuring that women can fully participate in this growing mobile economy by joining the mobile workforce and lending their creative talent to what these devices can do is important, but also essential is increasing connectivity for women so that they can experience the economic benefits and growth that can make measureable differences in their lives and for all of us.”
H.E. Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Thani, Chairman, Ooredoo Group, added: “By deploying the findings of the Connected Women Programme, we will be able to further refine and develop these initiatives in support of expanding the female digital economy in all our markets.”
“We are undertaking specific commitments in our newest market of Myanmar to connect millions of women who have never had access to the Internet before with the incredible life-changing opportunities of online services. This initiative will not only change the lives of our customers, it will also deliver significant change in the communities where they live,” he explained.
“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.”
The research project will aim 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, including 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.
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.
As part of its commitment, Ooredoo has plans in place to launch products and services designed for women in Myanmar at the start of 2015, supported by a programme to raise awareness about the benefits of mobile technology. Most recently, Ooredoo has launched a maternal health application, “maymay”, which offers maternal health advice notifications, personalised health alerts and tips for expectant mothers, in a first-of-its-kind service for Myanmar.
In Indonesia, the new Wobe service will enable women to get online easily and at low cost, and will provide education and financial literacy through mobile content. It will also enable women to become distributors of mobile airtime credits to their family, friends and neighbours – creating new economic opportunities for women.
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.