Gender Digital Divide

While Internet adoption and mobile phone ownership are on the rise, figures show staggering gaps in access for women in many regions of the world. The GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report 2020 highlights that more than 300 million more men than women access the mobile Internet in low- and middle-income countries, and smartphone ownership, a principal way of accessing the Internet, is 20 percent lower for women than men. As the world continues to move online, the cost of digital exclusion is increasing. Without a concerted effort, the social and economic consequences of the gender digital divide will continue to grow. Women will not be able to take advantage of the benefits of connectivity and online content, including digital development programming.

USAID recognizes that the gender digital divide significantly hampers the ability of digital technology to help women improve their lives. Through DAI’s Digital Frontiers project, we have supported USAID to identify and support solutions that empower women and girls to access and use digital technology in order to drive positive health, education, and livelihoods outcomes for themselves and their families.


WomenConnect Challenge

The USAID WomenConnect Challenge, implemented by DAI, is a global call for solutions to improve women’s participation in everyday life by meaningfully changing the ways women access and use technology. To date, USAID has awarded over $4.9 million to 16 grantees working to address barriers limiting women’s access to technology and to connect nearly 6 million women in 16 countries.

Learn more here.

USAID Microsoft Airband Initiative

The USAID Microsoft Airband Initiative aims to address the gender digital divide through bringing meaningful connectivity and Internet access to more women in remote areas of the world. This public-private partnership between Microsoft Corporation's Airband Initiative and USAID works to create sustainable and gender-equitable connectivity offerings by collaborating with Airband partners in Guatemala, Ghana, India, Colombia, and Kenya.

Learn more here.

Start Path Empodera

Start Path Empodera, a collaboration between Mastercard and USAID, seeks to advance womenʼs economic opportunities and foster a more inclusive digital economy. The program is designed to support early-stage, female-founded ventures and inspire a new generation of female entrepreneurs in Latin America.

Learn more here.

Project Kirana

Around the world, gender inequality limits the ability of women-owned businesses to launch, grow, and thrive. To address these gaps, USAID and Mastercard launched Project Kirana, which works to increase revenue streams, expand financial inclusion, and promote digital payments adoption by kirana shops that are owned or operated by women in India.

Learn more here.

South Asia Regional Digital Initiative (SARDI)

Implemented through the Digital Connectivity and Cybersecurity Partnership (DCCP), SARDI is working to improve digital connectivity in the South Asia region, strengthen the private sector and civil society’s digital capacity, and improve their ability to engage on ICT policy issues. A particular focus of SARDI is working to strengthen and build the resilience of women entrepreneurs and women-led community development organizations through digital upskilling activities, policy engagement, and digital connectivity.

Learn more here.

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