How Are Women Who Are Making Less Than $2 a Day Using Mobile Tech?

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Mar 09, 2012

March 8th is International Women's Day and to mark the occasion, the GSMA mWomen Programme has released a study called "Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid." Drawn from 2,500 interviews with women (aged 16-64 in both rural and urban areas) living on less that $2 a day in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda, the report looks at how mobile technology influences the way women approach health, economic development, and family relationships, and what mobile operators can do to reach more low-income women.

The report is divided into three parts; part one looks at the social, cultural, and economic factors that women at the base of the economic pyramid face in their daily lives, part two looks at the role of mobile technology in their lives, and part three looks at how technology can be used to further reach low-income women.

Some of the statistics pulled from the report show that when asked what the key benefits of mobile would be: [quoted from report]

How Are Women Who Are Making Less Than $2 a Day Using Mobile Tech? data sheet 3297 Views
Countries: Egypt India Papua New Guinea Uganda

Striving and Surviving: Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Mar 08, 2012
Striving and Surviving: Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid data sheet 802 Views
GSMA mWomen Programme
Publication Date: 
Mar 2012
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Striving and Surviving reveals that for most BoP [base of the pyramid] women, the main priority in life is simple survival. Better housing, family healthcare and a more stable income were also among the greatest priorities. If the mobile industry provides practical and affordable solutions to address these priorities, they are likely to find a receptive audience who stand to gain much from mobile ownership.

This report also identifies unique social, cultural and economic factors within each country which shape women’s needs and their attitude towards mobile ownership; the mobile industry will need to understand these factors if they are to develop services that will reach most BoP women. For example, in Uganda four out of five non-mobile users would be interested in owning a mobile, but in Southern India, this figure is less than 6%, due to factors such as cost or the disapproval of husbands. Only by understanding specific social attitudes and market factors will the mobile industry successfully realise the market potential of BoP women.

Such information will be revealed in greater depth in a series of reports that GSMA mWomen will release throughout 2012, examining each country in further detail, as well as focusing on specific needs such as health and education.

For now, Striving and Surviving aims to provide an overview which shines a light on BoP women’s lives, exploring the serious challenges they face, as well as their hopes and aspirations for the future. The report looks into the social and economic context in which they live, their priorities in life, their current mobile technology use, and how mobile operators and the international development community may help them to benefit from mobile in the future.


Portraits: A Glimpse into the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Mar 08, 2012
Portraits: A Glimpse into the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid data sheet 621 Views
GSMA mWomen
Publication Date: 
Feb 2012
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

“I will ensure that my kids get proper education. They will be able to get jobs, have better money. They will not suffer.” Woman, rural North India

“Before I had a mobile phone it was very difficult to know what was happening with my relatives in the village… my husband could only give me permission twice a year to visit them… now I feel closer to them since I can talk to them…” Woman, Uganda

Above are the voices of just two of the more than 2,500 women who took part in Striving and Surviving – Exploring the Lives of Women at the Base of the Pyramid, GSMA mWomen’s new research report exploring the lives of women at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP), those living on less than two US dollars a day. Portraits is a brief version of that report, designed to be as accessible and information-rich as possible.

The mobile industry – and indeed much of the world – knows little about the lives, struggles and aspirations of women at the BoP. Yet these women represent one of the largest opportunities for new users for the mobile industry, while also being the most likely to see real and substantial
improvements in their lives through mobile services which could, for example, provide crucial healthcare information or give them the tools to set up businesses to move out of poverty.


Mobiles for Women. Part 1: The Good.

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on May 11, 2011

A village in India last year banned unmarried women from using mobile phones for fear they would arrange forbidden marriages. The village council suspected young men and women were secretly calling one another to arrange to elope. Meanwhile, unmarried men could use mobile phones under parental supervision.

As mobile penetration increases across the developing world, the entry of mobile phones in the hands of women causes reactions. In many cases, mobile phone ownership empowers women in myriad ways: economic gains, increased access to information, greater autonomy and social empowerment, and a greater sense of security and safety.

But, there is a darker side. Targeting women with mobile phones can cause changes in gender dynamics and family expenditures and may relate to increases in domestic violence, invasion of privacy, or control by a male partner.

Towards a Design Model for Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 28, 2011
Towards a Design Model for Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World data sheet 2032 Views
Shroff, Geeta and Matthew Ka
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof argues that “in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world.” In this paper, we present a design model for empowering low income women in the developing world, in ways that cut across individual application areas. Specifically, this model characterizes a possible trajectory for NGOs and women to engage with each other and among themselves – potentially augmented by technology – to help women escape from poverty.

The fieldwork components in this study took place over 15 weeks in three phases, with a total of 47 NGO staff members and 35 socio-economically challenged women in rural and urban India. Interviews and co-design sessions with seven proof-of-concept prototypes showed that women appeared to belong to five distinct stages of “growth” in striving towards independence. We report the technology design lessons from our co-design sessions to illustrate how user readiness, relationship building at the community and family levels, and integration with state, national and international level programs, should be taken into account in the broader context of intervention design.

Women and Mobiles: Voices from our Tech Salon

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 28, 2010

Last week's tech salon, "Mobiles for Women and Women in Mobiles," brought together practitioners, researchers, and mobile developers. The event highlighted both the amazing women working in the field of mobiles, and also showcased the promise that mobiles offer to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

Designed to encourage discussion, the tech salon featured both presentations and an open marketplace, where attendees mingled and shared their work and experiences. 

Women and Mobiles: Voices from our Tech Salon data sheet 3978 Views
Countries: United States

September Mobile Tech Salon: About Women. For Everyone.

Posted by anoushrima on Sep 08, 2010


This month, NYC will be abuzz (and grid-locked in traffic) with leaders and practitioners in town for two high-profile gatherings focused on international development: The UN Summit on the Millennium Development Goals and the Clinton Global Initiative’s Annual Meeting.

With that opportunity and energy in mind, this month’s Tech Salon (on Thursday Sept. 23rd) is themed “Mobiles for Women & Women in Mobile” - calling attention to the growing role of mobile technology in development, and particularly the role and needs of women in this field. 

Through a mix of short presentations on projects & research, we will take a closer look at: