Bridging the gender digital divide in Africa
Recently, we had a blog post celebrating South African women in technology. While these women are role models for many, there are millions of women in Africa who have never accessed the internet, unlike their male counterparts. Bridging this gender digital divide can spur knowledge and stimulate social participation among many African women.
In some markets, such as South Africa, the digital gender divide is less pronounced. In others, it can be striking. For example, we’ve seen that about 90% of Opera Mini users in Tanzania are male. This online gender divide may in part be due to the high population of rural areas not having access to the internet, but there appear to be other factors at play.
Recently, M.B.A. students from the University of Denver partnered with Opera to conduct a survey comparing the digital gender divide in rural and urban areas in Tanzania. Recently, Opera partnered with some M.B.A students from the University of Denver to conduct a survey comparing mobile usage in rural and urban areas in Tanzania, broken down by gender. Women in rural areas cited factors like literacy and data and device cost as barriers to getting online. Many reported using mobile phones that belong to their husbands to carry out basic tasks like calling family members. In contrast, the women in urban areas found it easier to obtain and use devices, and they tended to value general social connectivity over mere practical usage. Regardless of the setting, however, more men than women were found to be online in Tanzania
Bridging the gap
With mobile phones the primary means of getting online in Africa, Opera believes that access to the mobile internet can be possible for more women, opening up a world of information, communication and entertainment. Opera strives to make this possible in a number of ways. For example, the data-saving technology in Opera Mini reduces the cost barrier, so women of all walks of life can do more on the web. And, usability shortcuts in Opera Mini like Speed Dial provide one-click access to noteworthy information, such as our recent partnership with Worldreader providing over 20,000 books to Opera Mini users. With women being the primary family caregiver in many African societies, making it easier for them to get online makes it more likely they will be able to share the internet with their children.
Managing children’s data consumption
When it comes to cost, Opera products can help by allowing you to get the most out of your data.
Rattle & Mum, a South African blog about everything and anything that mothers need to know, recently featured Opera Max, a data-management app that can save you – and your kids – up to 50% of your mobile data usage. This means you can read more articles or watch more videos online without needing to purchase extra data. Opera Max is currently available on Android, worldwide.
For basic phone users, Opera Mini is your ticket to mobile-data savings . It’s currently the mobile browser of choice in Africa, particularly among millennials.
Opera’s ongoing vision of bridging the gender digital divide and connecting the unconnected is one that we continue to strive for, regardless of gender. We help you do more on the web.