Gender gap is widening online
Women are coming online later and at a slower rate than men around the world, according to a new report released today by the Broadband Commission Working Group on broadband and gender.
Of the world's 2.8 billion Internet users, 1.3 billion are women, compared with 1.5 billion men, and this gap between male and female users widens rapidly in the developing world.
This gap is relatively small in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nations. However, globally this gap will grow over the next three years if governments of nations don't take steps to correct this issue.
Using computers is associated with status in developing nations, and thus men are more often "allowed" to use these products as compared to women in these regions.
The report also notes a worldwide mobile gender gap of 300 million, which totals to US$13 billion in potential missed revenues for those in the mobile industry.
"This report shows ways in which we can further advance the sustainable development agenda by promoting the use of new technologies in support of gender equality and women's empowerment," said Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Most connected countries
Iceland is ranked first in the list of the top 10 countries for Internet usage as a percentage of their population in the 2013 edition of the State of Broadband Report; it's estimated that 96 percent of its population are online. Most of the list are located in Europe, dominated by Scandinavia (Norway is second, followed by Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands). Outside Europe, Qatar is tenth and New Zealand is ranked eight.
The United States is ranked 24 in the list; an estimated 81 percent of its population is online.
While Switzerland is the top most nation in fixed broadband subscriptions, the Republic of Korea continues to have the world's highest household broadband penetration.
The U.S. ranks 20 for fixed broadband subscriptions per capita, just behind Finland and ahead of Japan.
Although there is progress in broadband availability, more than 90 percent of people in the world's 49 Least Developed Countries are completely unconnected.
"Technology combined with relevant content and services can help us bridge urgent development gaps in areas like health, education, environmental management and gender empowerment," said International Telecommunication Union (ITU) secretary-general Dr Hamadoun I. Touré.