How can mobile technology offer life-enhancing solutions to women?

AusAID and USAID have jointly funded research conducted by GSMA mWomen which looks at the wants and needs of women in developing countries, and how mobile technology might improve their day to day lives.

The research report, ‘PORTRAITS—A Glimpse into the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid‘ is the result of discussions with over 2,500 women living on less than $2 per day.

Researchers surveyed women in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, with secondary research contributions from many other parts of the world.

The research found 73 per cent of women surveyed expressed interest in entrepreneurship to help support their families, indicating mobile solutions that help entrepreneurs manage businesses or set up mobile retail enterprises could have a powerful impact.

Tabitha Palau, who lives near Port Moresby with her three children, said that her mobile phone was one of the most important things she owned, not only because it allowed her to quickly call for help in emergencies but because it allowed her to pay her electricity bill over the phone, saving her a trip into town that usually took a whole day.

The research also found that 28 per cent of those surveyed visited women’s groups regularly, with 39 per cent saying 'female friends' were a trusted information source. Engaging with these groups via mobile technology could help reach those in need on a large scale.

The GSMA mWomen Programme is a global partnership between the worldwide mobile phone industry and the international development community. It uses the power of the private sector to provide services to women living in the developing world via the mobile platform.

AusAID has pledged an additional $5.6 million over the next three years to the GSMA mWomen Programme to support their work in reducing the mobile phone gender gap.

More information GSMA mWomen Programme [external website]