The regional gender findings from AfterAccess were recently featured in the United Nations University-Equals’ Global Partnership’s inaugural report, Taking Stock: Data and Evidence on Gender Digital Equality in Digital Access, Skills and Leadership. The report has been combined in an effort to provide a resource for decision makers who are interested in reducing gender disparities in ICT access and use. LIRNEasia contributed to a chapter, Towards understanding the digital gender gap in the Global South, based largely on the nationally representative AfterAccess survey data from 17 (of the 23 surveyed) countries. The chapter relates some of the challenges in collecting rigorous gender-disaggregated data, and then illustrates the magnitudes of the gaps in access to mobile phones, internet and social media in the three regions. The chapter also examines gender digital inequality in the three regions through different lenses and methods.
GSMA recently published its 2019 Gender Gap study . In addition to measuring the gender gap in 18 countries based on its own country-level surveys, GSMA goes on further to extrapolate the gender gap to 10 more countries using ‘third-party and publicly available survey data we considered robust,’ including AfterAccess data for four countries: Cambodia,Paraguay,Peru,Rwanda . These gender gaps are further used to quantify how much of a business opportunity exists if as many women (as men) are connected, but also if all women were to spend as much on mobile and internet services as men. The estimated opportunity in total is as high as USD840b over five years. Huge.
It is the same ‘internet’ that we all hope for and are working toward: one which is accessible to all, safe, secure and open, and provides equal opportunities for all groups, minorities, etc. Perhaps with some degree of nuance added.
There has been a lot of hype and buzz surrounding the gig economy over recent years. Researchers and policymakers alike have been grappling with many questions around the future of work debate, with the rise of digital platforms: How will these work platforms impact the labor market? How can workers rights be protected? How can consumer rights be protected? What will the gig economy do for (or to harm) inclusion?
AfterAccess (nationally representative) survey data cannot be compared with The Internet World Stats or other supply-side numbers; to do so is simply inaccurate.
A recent report from the Myanmar Ministry of Post and Telecom states that mobile penetration has reached 90% (or 89.38% rather), and the number of Internet users has reached 39 million, according to supply-side data. But as the Myanmar Times reporter rightly points out, multiple-SIM usership has to be taken into account to get a real picture of usage. We know multiple SIM use is nothing unusual in many markets, especially among the low income segments (we’ve seen as many as 23% of the low income segment in Pakistan owning more than one SIM in our past research), and that’s why we make sure we capture it whenever we do demand-side research. Most recently in Myanmar our 2015 baseline survey showed 17% of urban mobile owners had more than one SIM, compared with 8% of rural (or 13% of all mobile owners).
This report is the result of research conducted by GSMA’s Connected Women programme and LIRNEasia in Myanmar in 2015. LIRNEasia’s nationally representative baseline survey of ICT needs and usage in Myanmar showed a gender gap in mobile ownership of 29% by March 2015. Together with GSM Association’s Connected Women program, LIRNEasia explored the reasons behind this gender gap through a series of in-depth interviews and focus group discussions held in Yangon (urban) and Pantanaw (rural) among 91 men and women in July 2015. Further questions on mobile internet awareness and use, as well as barriers to use were explored, yielding a rich set of findings and a large set of policy recommendations. Read full report: Mobile phones, internet, and gender in Myanmar
A short piece by Jan Chipchase on how mobile use is playing out in Myanmar. He highlights some interesting observations about mobile use in Myanmar, as well as the realities of conducting research in the outer parts of the country. Here he highlights the cost of power as a mediating factor in mobile use. In Bogale 2,500 Kyats ($2.5) will buy you a rechargeable battery that can power a home for two short nights.
Telenor has made a move to offer zero-rated services to its customers in Myanmar through Wikipedia Zero and Facebook Zero. This will enable Telenor’s mobile users to get access to lighter versions of Wikipedia and Facebook without running down their prepaid credit balances. We have seen this issue (the running down of prepaid balances ) being a barrier to Internet use by BOP mobile users before, in other parts of Asia through our Teleuse@BOP research, and have highlighted the need for “Innovations in pricing strategies (akin to “sachet pricing”) … to enable prepaid users to make use of the [Internet] services without their prepaid balance being depleted through a single transaction” (see full paper: Are the Poor Stuck in Voice? Conditions for Adoption of More-than-Voice Mobile Services) This is one of many key issues we hope to explore in our upcoming national survey of ICT needs and uses in Myanmar. It will be interesting to see if and how zero-rated services will allow BOP mobile owners in Myanmar to overcome some of the cost hurdles in Internet use.
LIRNEasia is pleased to issue a call for expressions of interest (EOIs) to conduct baseline research on information, knowledge and communications technology needs and uses in Myanmar. The detailed call for EOIs cn be read here. Interested parties should respond according to the guidelines no later than 0800 hours Sri Lanka time on 10 October 2014.
LIRNEasia‘s predecessor PIPU [the Public Interest Program Unit] was headed by Rohan Samarajiva (LIRNEasia’s Chair and CEO) and Luxman Siriwardena (one of our Board members), and consisted of many of LIRNEasia‘s current family and friends, including Harsha de Silva (MP, and our Consultant Lead Economist). Here are a few annotated memories of PIPU’s finale trip to Trincomalee in June 2004: PIPU trip to Trinco 2004. Captions and comments courtesy of Harsha. PIPU was in charge of executing Sri Lanka’s infrastructure reform program between 2002-04. In Prof’s words, “PIPU gave birth to LIRNEasia.
LIRNEasia’s book, ICT INFRASTRUCTURE IN EMERGING ASIA: Policy and Regulatory Roadblocks is now fully downloadable in PDF from IDRC’s website. This edited volume, based on LIRNEasia‘s 2004-2006 research program brings together scholars, practitioners, former regulators and policy makers to address the problem of expanding information and communication technology (ICT) connectivity in emerging Asia. It centrally engages the widespread claim that technology by itself—independent of policy and regulatory reform—can improve access to ICTs. In doing so, it shows that while complex workarounds are possible, they are significantly less effective than the appropriate policy and regulatory reforms. More information on the book here.
Evidence from LIRNEasia’s Teleuse@BOP3 survey of mobile use at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) suggests that by late 2008, 78 percent of BOP mobile owners in the study countries were using the functions of the Internet through their mobiles; nearly one third of them have never even heard of the Internet. For the last three years, LIRNEasia has been arguing the case that many people in developing markets will have (if they already haven’t had) their first “Internet experience” through a mobile. Most of our 2008-2010 research program was based on this premise. It seems that the general discourse in the mobile research field is converging on this point, as evidence of growing mobile Internet use in these markets emerges. In addition to this, LIRNEasia’s argument (which in fact CEO & Chair Rohan Samarajiva has been making from as early as 1999: written up in Samarajiva, R.
Research Fellow Tahani Iqbal represented LIRNEasia at an mWomen (GSMA) working group meeting in India in late 2010. Several global telcos were also invited to help develop a “business case” for tapping the female market, and to identify what operators were already doing in this regard. Tahani presented data from the Teleuse@BOP studies, which indicates that the “divide” in access at the bottom of the pyramid (BOP) in most countries studied is clearly narrowing, with men and women talking as much as each other on the phone. Though there are pockets where the access divide is severe (e.g.
A paper by Ailieen Aguero and Harsha de Silva on Bottom of the Pyramid expenditure patterns on mobile phone services in selected Emerging Asian countries has recently been featured on mWomen’s website. mWomen is a part of the GSMA that focuses on improving women’s access to mobile phones in developing markets.
The most recent addition to the Teleuse@BOP3 working paper series is now available for download. Author Sangamitra Ramachander (University of Oxford) explores the factors influencing the responsiveness of mobile use to small declines in per minute charges among bottom of the pyramid (BOP) users in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The full paper can be downloaded here. Abstract: The private sector in developing countries is increasingly interested in extending mobile telephony services to low income and rural markets that were previously considered unprofitable. Determining the right price is a central challenge in this context.