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Rise of the next digital divide: Women and the web

New global report sheds light on lack of internet access, use by women

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Experts believe 600 million new female internet users can be added within the next 3 years.

A first-of-its-kind report gathered data from thousands of women in developing countries to shed light on the lack of women on the web. On average, 25 percent fewer women than men are online today; yet, if action is taken now, 600 million women could have access to the internet in the next three years.

Women and the Web: Bridging the internet gap and creating new global opportunities in low and middle-income countries,” commissioned by Intel Corp. in consultation with the U.S. State Department’s Office of Global Women’s issues, UN Women, and World Pulse, aims to answer questions such as “What is the size of the internet gender gap?” and “What prevents women from accessing the internet?”

“200 million fewer women than men are online today,” said Shelly Esque, president of Intel Foundation and vice president of corporate affairs for Intel. “In many regions, the internet gender gap reflects and amplifies existing inequalities between the sexes.”

According to Michelle Bachelet, undersecretary general and executive director for UN Women, internet access enhances women’s economic empowerment, political participation, and social inclusion through initiatives that support increased productivity and income generation, mobilization, and accountability, as well as improved livelihoods and expansion of services.

(Next page: What the report recommends)

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