Is the digital divide sexist? Spoiler alert – yes!

The Alliance for Affordable Internet takes a look at the economic consequences of the digital gender gap noting that…

Men are 21% more likely to be online than women globally, rising to 52% in Least Developed Countries.

Here are their high level findings:

  • There is a substantial digital gender gap — and it’s not getting better. In the 32 countries we studied, just over a third of women were connected to the internet compared to almost half of men. Since 2011, the gender gap has only dropped half a percentage point, from 30.9% to 30.4%.
  • Countries have missed out on $1 trillion USD in GDP as a result of women’s exclusion from the digital world. In 2020, the loss to GDP was $126 billion USD.
  • This economic hit means billions in lost taxes that could be invested to improve education, health, and housing. This lost productivity translates to a missing $24 billion in tax revenues annually for these governments, based on current tax-to-GDP ratios
  • Governments are not adopting the policies they need to bridge the digital gender gap. Of all the policy areas covered by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in its annual Affordability Drivers Index, gender consistently receives the lowest scores. In the 2020 Affordability Report, over 40% of countries studied had no meaningful policies or programs to expand women’s access to the internet.
  • Policymakers have a $500 billion+ economic opportunity. Closing the digital gender gap in these countries would deliver an estimated $524 billion increase in economic activity by 2025.

Here are some of the contributing factors:

  • Affordability
  • Device gaps
  • Wage gaps
  • Privacy/security
  • Cumulative effect
  • Literacy and skills

They offer a range of more inclusive policy recommendations (in image at right).

This entry was posted in Digital Divide, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

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