ideas, innovations and apps for social work in the age of smartphones and social media
Women and mobiles in rural areas: an impact pathway
Submitted by Andrea_Jimenez on Thu, 11/07/2013 – 10:03
“Despite the rapid growth in mobile telephony in low and middle-income countries in recent years, women are 21% less likely than men to own a mobile phone. This has given rise to a mobile phone ‘gender gap’, where there are 300 million fewer female mobile subscribers than male subscribers in low- to middle income countries. As a result, women are less likely to reap the benefits of using mobile phones, such as gain economic opportunities and to empower themselves at the household level, community level and beyond.” (GSMA)
There are many barriers that women in developing countries face in owning and effectively using mobile phones, which not only affects them in their daily lives but also affect the market. GSMA’s estimates say that market opportunities associated with closing the mobile phone gender gap are substantial: Additional revenues for MNOs are estimated to be $13 billion.
Seeing that there is an opportunity of growth, why is there not sufficient in-depth research on underserved women, especially women working in agriculture?
In February 2012, GSMA presented an impact pathway for exploring the role of mobile technology on women’s empowerment. This theoretical tool was used to explore how women in developing countries can be empowered through ownership and effective usage of mobile phones, which in the long run can lead to economic advancement and better power and decision making skills.
The review covered a series of sources like reports, articles, and sites from NGOs, development organizations, MNOs and others.
What is an impact pathway?
As a logical framework, an impact pathway is a tool used to help conceptualize a project and analyze the assumptions behind it. (For more about logical frameworks see http://www.fao.org/WAIRdocs/x5405e/x5405e0p.htm.)
The framework consists of a logical matrix that begins with the analysis of the context; followed by the enabling activities (inputs); and the results of these (outputs); which finally results in three levels of development outcomes, depending on the impact caused in the field. In this sense, outcomes could be short-term, medium-term and long-term (see below).
I think that a tool like the Impact Pathway could be useful for this kind of research, because it is a simple way of visualizing the possible solutions and outcomes. But there needs to be more research that can proof the direct impact that mobile phone usage has on women’s livelihoods in developing countries.
Take a look at GSMA’s detailed Impact Pathway for Mobile and Women
For more information on GSMA’s varied range of activities in the area of Mobile for Development have a look at this video or visit their website.