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Males in India are 62% more likely than females to be internet users, according to a survey from GSMA. They’re also 25% more likely to own a SIM card, which means that India’s gender gap on the internet and with SIM ownership is the largest—by far—of any country surveyed by GSMA.
While males are only slightly more likely to be internet users in Vietnam, China and the Philippines—and in fact are less likely to be users in Thailand—the gender gap in India is gigantic. That same narrative plays out with SIM ownership—owners in the Philippines and Thailand are more likely to be female—and no other country comes close to India’s gender gap with SIM cards.
This wide gender gap in India may not be surprising—2015 research pointed out big differences between boys and girls in urban areas of the country—but there is reason to be cautiously optimistic about the gradual shrinking of the gap.
A report from Boston Constuling Group (BCG) and Retailers Association of India (RAI) forecasts that, while females made up just 29% of the urban internet user share in India in 2015, by 2020, that figure could reach 40%, which, while still uneven, goes a long way to close the gap.
And a May 2016 report by Google and A.T. Kearney claims that by 2020, purchases by females, which currently make up just 20% of B2C ecommerce transactions in India, will hit 42%. So while the current gender gap is fairly stark in India, there’s reason to hope for a more equal future.
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