Findings from ICT gender gap study spark Indian government response

October 04, 2018

A study conducted by IDRC grantee LIRNEasia about the gender gap in access to information and communications technology (ICT), such as the Internet and cell phones, has prompted the Indian government to instruct its officials to attend gender gap training.

In surveys conducted in October and November 2017, LIRNEasia — a pro-poor, pro-market think tank that conducts research across the Asia-Pacific region — found that some village courts in India have banned women from using mobile phones in public. Overall, the study found that women in India are 46% less likely to own a mobile phone than men — representing the widest gap among the 16 countries surveyed. The survey also found that women in India are 56% less likely to have access to the Internet than men. Known as “AfterAccess”, the research initiative was funded by IDRC and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Following a presentation by LIRNEasia CEO Helani Galpaya at an event organized in collaboration with the Cellular Operators of India in August 2018, the survey findings generated significant media coverage in India. India’s Special Secretary of the Department of Telecom, Shri N. Sivasailam, attended the presentation and praised the study for providing data where none previously existed. “It is possible to act on this data and develop policies,” he said, according to media reports. “I am pleased that we have a baseline for the first time ever.” Soon after, the Indian Express newspaper reported that government officials had been instructed to take training to help address the study’s gender gap findings.

In September 2018, AfterAccess was awarded the EQUALS in Tech 2018 Research Award in New York City for its efforts to close the ICT gender gap through research.

Learn more about AfterAccess’s work to uncover the gender gap.