A 2020 report by the GSM Association, a trade body that represents the interests of mobile network operators globally, says women in India are 28 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile phone and 56 per cent less likely than men to use mobile Internet. Across all low and middle-income countries, 80 per cent of women are mobile owners, while in India, only 59 per cent use mobile phones, representing some of the largest mobile gender gaps in the world. "Women remain 10 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile phone in low-and middle-income countries, and 23 per cent less likely than men to use mobile Internet," said the report.
But the findings of India’s Family Health Survey, which came out in 2020, do not corroborate this conclusion. Not only is the number of women owning mobile phones increasing steadily, but also more women than before are using the device themselves, rather than relying on members of the family for mobile connectivity.
Goa is the state where the highest number of women use mobile phones themselves. While granular data on whether these women use mobiles to access the internet is not available in the survey, the fact that almost all over India, the number of women use mobile phones on their own, could yield valuable information about how their lives are changing, socially and financially.
Source: National Family Health Survey, media reports