Bridging the Gender Digital Divide: Four Approaches to Bringing Women Online From the USAID/Microsoft Airband Initiative

Date published: April 7, 2023

Thematic Area



Globally, women are 18 percent less likely than men to own a smartphone. This statistic illustrates— particularly in low-income, rural households— the ‘gender digital divide’ where women are less likely to be connected to the Internet and have access to important tools that could improve their lives.  

When women and girls lack access to the Internet and other information communication technologies (ICT), it limits their opportunities on all fronts— from gaining an education, to accessing their finances online, to participating in politics and society— further highlighting the need for efforts to ensure equal access to digital technologies and all the benefits that come with it.

Recognizing how digital inclusion empowers women and boosts the economies of rural communities, the USAID/Microsoft Airband Initiative has partnered with six private-sector companies in five countries to provide women and girls with meaningful connectivity, Internet access, and the digital skills necessary to navigate the digital world.

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