FEATURE15 April 2019

The world in your hands

x Sponsored content on Research Live and in Impact magazine is editorially independent.
Find out more about advertising and sponsorship.

Asia Pacific Features Middle East and Africa Mobile Telecoms

Mobile phones can open up opportunities for girls in developing countries, but research from Girl Effect identified social norms that have to be addressed. By Katie McQuater

Your world in their hands

Conversations about our increasingly digital world tend to assume mobile phones are universal. For many young people around the globe, however, owning – or even having access to – a phone is a distant prospect, and little is known about the barriers to mobile technology.
Non-profit organisation Girl Effect wanted to address this by studying how girls use mobiles and their barriers to access. Using a mixed-methods approach – which included interviews by technology-enabled girl ambassadors (TEGA) and online surveys – the research explored the issues that girls aged 13-19, in 21 countries, face when it comes to mobile ownership, use and behaviours.

More than half ( 56%) of girls surveyed in the TEGA interviews – in Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria, India and Bangladesh – do not own a phone, compared with 33% of boys. However, 52% of girls (compared with 28% of boys) say they access a phone by borrowing one.
The findings reveal that mobile access for girls is more complex than ...