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Closing the mobile phone gender gap

We’ve seen lots of stories about how the use of mobile phones, or cell phones, is rapidly expanding in developing countries and how this is transformative in so many ways.

What I didn’t know, and maybe you didn’t either, is that in many of these countries women are often excluded from the mobile phone revolution. Efforts to fix this inequity are described in an article “Mobile Phones for Women” by Robin Lloyd for Scientific American, in which she notes:

Mobile phones are nothing new in the developing world. Nonprofit agencies and NGOs have known for years how to partner effectively with telecommunications companies to deliver social goods such as cash payments to locals via mobile phones. The new challenge is getting the technology directly and specifically into the hands of women, rather than focusing on families. In the latter case the devices typically become male property, and women never touch the phones.

Lloyd’s article provides an interesting look at a new initiative, known as the mWoman Program, launched a few months ago by Cherie Blair, wife of former British PM Tony Blair, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.


About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at] or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.