A study released by Intel Corporation on women and the Internet has found some interesting trends. Researchers, who consulted with the U.S. State Department and UN Women, found that one-fifth of women in some countries feel that it would be inappropriate for them to use the Internet. The report issues a call to double the number of women and girls online in developing countries from 600 million today to 1.2 billion in 3 years.
Around 2,200 women and girls from four countries--India, Egypt, Mexico, and Uganda--took part in the research, which found that 25% of women in developing nations lacked Internet access. In some sub-Saharan countries that figure rises to 45%.
With women aged 18-34 the most active of social networkers, imagine the difference it might make to Mark Zuckerberg's one billion Facebook users if more women had access to the Internet. With previous research consistently showing that Internet access boosts earnings, empowerment, and a sense of freedom, the campaign to connect women to the web is saying nothing new. However, it does bring up the question of how to bring the Internet to women in the developing world.
How do you think change will come about? Is it a question of mobile access and the arrival of the smartphone to up-and-coming nations will bring the women of these countries to the power of the URL? Or is the problem going to be a tougher nut to crack, with the emphasis on each country's existing social and cultural norms? After all, last month's gruesome attack on a student in Delhi last month, which resulted in her death, has served to highlight the hardships many women face in a country which is constantly being held up as a beacon for the emerging world.
The full report is available to download here as a PDF file.
[Image via Flickr user mckaysavage]