At a glance
- Our work supports a digital future that reduces burdens on women and girls, fosters their aspirations, and supports their health and resilience and the well-being of their families and communities.
- Meaningful digital connectivity gives women more control over their health, home, and livelihood, but multiple barriers stand in the way, including lack of access, low digital literacy, and online safety issues.
- We work to better understand what works to close the gender digital divide and to create opportunities for more women and girls to take advantage of the internet and digital technologies and the opportunities they provide.
- In seeking to understand the gender-specific barriers, disadvantages, and vulnerabilities related to digital adoption and connectivity, we ask two questions: What needs to change to make this technology or tool as or more useful for women as for men? And how could this technology be deployed to overcome a barrier to women’s equality and empowerment?
We collaborate closely with teams across the foundation on digital interventions that can accelerate the closure of the gender digital divide. We do this by supporting action-oriented research and innovation and the development and testing of tools and platforms, as well as through advocacy and by connecting researchers.
Why focus on digital connectivity?
Digital connectivity is increasingly vital for managing one’s health, generating income, and participating in the economy. Many mobile-based interventions have emerged to benefit low-income people, including digital financial services, digital agricultural advisory tools, and mobile health tools. But despite growing investments in digital solutions for health and development, women continue to be left behind across geographies and income segments.
For example, while the expansion of affordable, high-speed broadband in South Asia has narrowed the gender gap in mobile phone ownership and internet use, the same is not true in sub-Saharan Africa. This means African women are limited in their ability to take advantage of many opportunities to improve their lives.