Gender Equity and mHealth
Since joining Twitter a couple of months ago, I count myself among millions of people around the world who follow the self-reported news from a select number of individuals and organizations that I respect and admire. A great function on Twitter is Who to Follow, which is similar to the Recommended Pages on Facebook and the People You May Know on LinkedIn. It’s through Who to Follow that I learned about mWomen, ‘an online community for everyone who is interested in mWomen and increasing mobile access to women in the developing world for their socio-economic advancement.’
mWomen brings together two topics I am interested in: gender equity and mHealth. Leaders in mHealth at the recent International AIDS Conference, which I’ve referred to in previous blog posts, talked about the gender gap when it comes to access of ICTs (information and communication technology). They reported that since men own more mobile phones than women, it’s difficult to get messages to women about health issues that directly affect them such as ante-natal health and family planning. The Telecommunications Union, in a report from 2011 titled Measuring the Information Society, notes that broader societal gender disparities are at play.
Empirical evidence has shown that, under equal conditions of education or employment, there are relatively minor differences between men and women in terms of the use of technologies. It is, thus, differences between men and women in areas such as income and education that play a major role in explaining different levels of access to ICTs and their usage.
Gender disparities in access to ICTs are one more reason to scale-up programs to increase education to girls and women. A few organizations that are dedicated to empowering girls that I follow on Twitter are Girl Up, She’s the First, and Girls Inc. Connect to these incredible organizations on Twitter, connect with me, share your tweet, and/or retweet a post of mine.
Also, before you go, join the growing number of signatories to the mWomen Charter. Over 3,450 people have identified with the statement below:
I support mWomen and the goal to reduce the mobile phone gender gap by 150 million. I believe women in the developing world should have equal access to connectivity and the life-changing tools mobile phones can provide, such as access to health, education, entrepreneurship and finance services. Women deserve the freedom to connect.