Digital gender gap persists as 830m youths go online
• Incidence higher in Nigeria, others
Despite the increasing pervasiveness of the Internet infrastructure across the globe, the gap between men and women online has continued to get wider.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) claimed that the proportion of men using the Internet is higher than the proportion of women using the Internet in two-thirds of countries worldwide.
ITU posited that there is a strong link between gender parity in the enrolment ratio in tertiary education and gender parity in Internet use.
It revealed that the only region where a higher percentage of women than men are using the Internet is the Americas, where countries also score highly on gender parity in tertiary education. According to the United Nations body, the proportion of women using the Internet increased by 12 per cent to usage by men globally.
While the gender gap has narrowed in most regions since 2013, it has widened in Africa. In Africa, ITU claimed that the proportion of women using the Internet is 25 per cent lower than the men’s.
To bridge the online gender gap, ITU has appealed to countries and organisations to encourage more girls and young women to consider careers in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry, especially in Africa, stressing females are critical to the sustainability of ICT.
Furthermore, the ITU has disclosed that in 104 countries, more than 80 per cent of the youth population are online. It stressed that in developed countries, 94 per cent of young people aged 15-24 use the Internet compared with 67 per cent in developing countries, and only 30 per cent in LDCs.
The United Nations’ body said out of the 830 million young people who are online, 320 million (39 per cent) are in China and India. Nearly nine out of 10 young individuals not using the Internet live in Africa, or Asia and the Pacific.
ITU said the proportion of young people aged 15-24 using the Internet (71 per cent) is significantly higher than that of the total population using the Internet (48 per cent).
“Young people represent almost one-fourth of the total number of individuals using the Internet worldwide. In LDCs, 35 per cent of the individuals using the Internet are young people aged 15-24, compared with 13 per cent in developed countries and 23 per cent globally,” it stated.
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