Wide gender gap in mobile phone ownership often coupled with a wide gender gap in Internet use

Percentage of individuals owning a mobile phone, latest year in 2015-2018

Source: ITU and AfterAccess.

Based on the countries for which data are available, it appears that mobile phone ownership is correlated with income levels.


The lowest mobile phone ownership rates are found in Africa and South Asia, the highest rates are in Europe, with Latin America in between.

Gender gap in mobile phone ownership, latest year in 2015-2018

Note: * ITU estimate. The gender gap represents the difference between the mobile phone ownership rates for males and females relative to the mobile phone ownership rate for males, expressed as a percentage.
Source: ITU and AfterAccess.

In 24 of the 85 countries for which data are available, a higher proportion of women than men own a mobile phone, although the gap is usually quite small. In only three cases is the gap wider than 5 per cent, with the widest gap of 12 per cent in Chile.


However, for 23 of the 58 countries where more men than women own a mobile phone, the gender gap is over 10 per cent, and in 14 of those countries over 20 per cent.


Most countries with a large gender gap in mobile phone ownership also have a large gender gap among Internet users.


Given that mobile phones are the most frequently used means of accessing the Internet, addressing this gender gap could help to reduce the Internet usage gender gap.