South Asia has some of the lowest female labor force participation (LFP) rates in the world, second only to the Middle East. Employment flexibility, also known as workplace flexibility, flexi-work, among other terms, has long been argued as an enabler of women’s increased and sustained participation in the labor market.
Senior research managers Gayani Hurulle and Ayesha Zainudeen recently shared insights on the experience of women in India and Sri Lanka working remotely and flexibly during the pandemic at a jointly organised by LIRNEasia, the Centre for Policy Research (New Delhi) and the JustJobs Network at the 2022 Internet Research Conference (organised by the Centre for Internet and Society, CIS). LIRNEasia has been working with CPR and JJN over the last two and a half years on research on if and how digital platforms are empowering women with regards to work opportunities in India and Sri Lanka. The panel was moderated by Sabina Dewan (President and Executive Director, JJN) with panellists bringing in different perspectives and data. Devesh Taneja (Co-Founder, Vyre) started the discussion off with an overview of the platform ecosystem, business models and incentives. Gayani presented data on the gendered incidence and perceptions of remote work during COVID from our nationally representative surveys of the impacts of COVID in the two countries.
LIRNEasia discussed policy challenges of ensuring access for all as well as the challenges of working from home during a pandemic for women at the the inaugural Sri Lanka Internet Day, organised by the Federation of Information Technology Industry Sri Lanka (FITIS) on 6-7 April 2021.
Presentation by Helani Galpaya at Ceylon Chamber of Commerce event on "Use of Digital Platforms for SMBs". November 2020.
This study explores the effect of the expansion of mobile phone signal on migration decisions in Myanmar.
Presented by Ayesha Zainudeen and Tharaka Amarasinghe at the 15th ITS Asia-Pacific Regional Conference Bangkok, Thailand, 29 October 2019 The full paper is available here.
Presented by Ayesha Zainudeen and Tharaka Amarasinghe at the 15th ITS Asia-Pacific Regional Conference Bangkok, Thailand, 29 October 2019 The slides presented are available here.
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.