There are still vast disparities between the internet access rates of male and female online users in global regions worldwide. In 2019, 20.2 percent of Africa’s female population had online access, compared to 37.1 percent of men. In the Americas, the share of female online access was 77 percent.
Internet access and SDGs
As of 2019, Africa’s online access rate was the lowest worldwide, with estimates showing that just a quarter of the total population were using the internet. By comparison, the global average online usage rate was 51 percent. This technological gap between Africa and the rest of the world highlights the need for continued investment in information and communication technologies on the continent, as such processes can speed up progress towards the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.
The Sustainable Development Goals, also known as the Global Goals, are a worldwide agenda to protect the planet, end poverty and ensure global peace and prosperity. ICTs, especially mobile internet, contribute to the goals by enabling countries to participate in digital economies as well as empowering individuals to access crucial information and services.
However, half of the world are currently not using the internet. Particularly disenfranchised groups are frequently excluded from digital society, including women and girls, people with disabilities, elders, indigenous populations, people living in poverty and inhabitants of least developed or developing countries. The digital gender gap is another obstacle for women to overcome on a global level in order to achieve economic advancement which will ultimately also benefit their communities. As of now, the digital potential of women is largely underutilized.
Internet usage rate worldwide in 2019, by gender and region
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ITU. (November 30, 2020). Internet usage rate worldwide in 2019, by gender and region [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved March 06, 2021, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/491387/gender-distribution-of-internet-users-region/
ITU. "Internet usage rate worldwide in 2019, by gender and region." Chart. November 30, 2020. Statista. Accessed March 06, 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/491387/gender-distribution-of-internet-users-region/
ITU. (2020). Internet usage rate worldwide in 2019, by gender and region. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: March 06, 2021. https://www.statista.com/statistics/491387/gender-distribution-of-internet-users-region/
ITU. "Internet Usage Rate Worldwide in 2019, by Gender and Region." Statista, Statista Inc., 30 Nov 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/491387/gender-distribution-of-internet-users-region/
ITU, Internet usage rate worldwide in 2019, by gender and region Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/491387/gender-distribution-of-internet-users-region/ (last visited March 06, 2021)