One-Fifth Of Women In Developing World Countries Think Internet Use Is Inappropriate For Them

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]

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3 Comments

  • Jincy

    Im Indian and me too thought like that- internet using is only for xxx, 8 years ago in my school life, because not much idea about Internet and its usages, only heard about some xxx related news and some cheating reports only. so if you have intrnet connection that means you have some close relationship with XXX or extramarital things(lol) at that time Indian internet users were around 30million. also lack of PC, mobile were another factor.. now I have been using it for more than 5 year, and Indian internet population touched 137 million and increasing rapidly, expecting 300million by 2015. hoping everybody will understand its amazing uses

  • Jonathan Jacobs

    Does the study provide any insight as to why they feel that? I find it hard to assume why without any further knowledge. These are four moderately-to-extremely different countries/cultures it would be hard to make universal assumptions about. Hard to think of the solution without understanding the problem. Not using the internet is really more a symptom of a larger condition or mindset, not a standalone problem.