The partnership will take place through the GSMA mWomen Programme Global Development Alliance and will enable women to effectively use mobile phones to access life-enhancing information, networks and services – such as banking, education and healthcare.
Studies have shown that a 10 percent increase in mobile phone use has led to a 1.2 percent increase in gross domestic product (GDP) in low- and middle-income countries. However, research
shows that women in the developing world are 21 percent less likely than men to own a mobile phone.
Secretary Clinton noted at the launch of the GSMA mWomen Programme in October 2010 that, “investing in women’s progress is the most direct and effective way to invest in progress economically and socially globally.”
“For 300 million women in low- and middle- income countries, mobile technology is still out of reach. “It’s not simply because it’s too expensive . . . but it’s because of an array of economic and social barriers, from a lack of literacy to a lack of income to the all-too-common belief that cell phones afford more freedom to women than they deserve,” said Secretary Clinton.
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said that a wide range of social and economic benefits can be delivered by extending mobile phone ownership to women. “Mobile phones can provide women living in remote and rural areas with access to bank accounts and formal credit”, said Mr. Rudd.
“In Pakistan, text messaging has been used to deliver basic literacy and numeracy classes. In India, texts have been used to provide agricultural commodity prices at markets, helping women to get the best prices for their produce”.
Today four out of five mobile phone connections are in the developing world. Through mobile technology, the public and private sectors are able to engage with individuals in new and innovative ways to achieve development objectives and drive economic growth.
The Global Development Alliance is a USAID mechanism bringing together the core competencies of the private and public sector. The GSMA mWomen Programme Global Development Alliance is being implemented by the GSMA, leveraging the expertise, distribution and resources of its global mobile industry membership, including the 31 GSMA mWomen Working Group
members who have each committed their company to help reduce the mobile phone gender gap.