Updated Digital Gender Gaps website shows real-time gender inequalities in internet access

Updated Digital Gender Gaps website shows real-time gender inequalities in internet access

Professor Ridhi Kashyap has launched a new edition of Digital Gender Gaps, an interactive web dashboard which monitors global digital inequality in real-time.

Despite the rapid expansion of information and communication technologies globally, women lag behind men in access and use of the internet and mobile phones in many parts of the world, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.

The dashboard uses online trace data about monthly active Facebook users in combination with different development indicators from sources such as the World Bank and the United Nations (UN) to estimate global digital gender gaps in internet and mobile phone use.

Gender equality in internet and mobile phone access, and improving digital literacy, are important targets within the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Tracking progress on gender inequalities in internet and mobile access and use – digital gender gaps – is therefore very important to ensure that women benefit from the opportunities afforded by the digital revolution.

Professor Kashyap emphasised this need for accurate data, stating:

I realised that there was very little data on access to mobile phones and the internet by gender, especially in low- and middle-income countries, so I turned to new data streams from social media to fill this data gap. Digital technologies are rapidly transforming all aspects of our lives, but to understand their wider impacts, we need to know to who is using them, as well as how.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the dashboard is part of the project “Mapping global gender gaps in digital connectivity”, a collaboration between Oxford's Department of Sociology, the Leverhulme Centre for Demographic Science, and Saarland University's Societal Computing Department.

Read more in our Research Impact Case Study, or watch the video below: