Mobile phone use in the developing world is exploding, yet women are at risk of being left behind. On average, GSMA research shows women to be 21 per cent less likely than men to own a mobile phone in low- to middle-income countries. The resulting mobile phone gender gap represents as many as 300 million women in the developing world who do not have access to this potentially life-enhancing tool.
Barriers to mobile phone ownership among resource-poor women include limited technical literacy and limited understanding of the full potential of mobile devices and services. The GSMA mWomen Program, as part of USAID’s mWomen Global Development Alliance, set out to address this by launching the GSMA mWomen Design Challenge: Redefining the User Experience at the third annual Social Good Summit in New York on Sunday. Through submissions from the global design and developer community, the design challenge seeks to increase access to life enhancing mobile services so that regardless of someone’s skill level, they can pick up a phone and maximize its potential.