Quoted: on the gender gap in access to the Internet

“They will say that I have to do household work and look after children, so I don’t need [the] Internet.”

— a respondent from India to Intel‘s survey, Women and the Web, on why her family would oppose her getting on the Internet. The survey commissioned by Intel, which is being released today, interviewed 2,200 women in four developing countries — Egypt, India, Mexico and Uganda — and found that on average, 23 percent fewer women than men go online, although the gap is wider in some places. Among the findings: In India and Egypt, 1 in 5 women believe the Internet is not “appropriate” for them — some said their families thought they would be exposed to pornography. (And a respondent from Mexico said her husband opposed her Internet use “because he thinks I am online looking of men.”) In addition, lack of access and education are probably reasons why 40 percent of women who don’t use the Internet cite being uncomfortable with technology, according to the survey. “For women, the basic problems are the problems that are much larger than technology. They are the gender equality, the patriarchy, the violence against women who dare to use the technologies because men are suspicious. The forces that keep women and girls from going to school,”  said Nancy Hafkin, senior associate at Women in Global Science and Technology, who was interviewed as part of the survey. The report issues a collective call to action to increase the access of women and girls to the Internet in order to empower them  and increase their economic opportunities.

 

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