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GLOBAL – Today is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women past, present and future. In some countries, such as China, Vietnam and Russia, the day is a national holiday. Back in 1911, when the day was first founded, it was also a day of protest, to campaign for the right to work, for the vote, equal pay, education and to end discrimination. Mobile access is one of today’s big challenges when it comes to the advancement of women. Let’s look at some of the figures.

It’s not a big exaggeration to suggest that the 2011 equivalent of a campaign for women’s suffrage might be a campaign for universal access to a mobile phone. Recent research from the mWomen campaign, supported by Nokia, discovered that there are strong links between women’s wellbeing and access to a mobile phone:

  • 93 per cent of women reported feeling safer because of their mobile phone;
  • 85 per cent of women reported feeling more independent because of their mobile phone;
  • 41 per cent of women reported having increased income and professional opportunities once they owned a mobile phone;
  • Women in rural areas and lower income brackets stand to benefit the most from access to mobiles;
  • Across all countries, a woman is 21 per cent less likely to own a mobile phone than a man. This figure increases to 23 per cent if she lives in sub-Saharan Africa, 24 per cent if she lives in the Middle East and 37 per cent if she lives in South Asia;
  • Over the next five years women could account for two-thirds of all new subscribers.

The film below continues the same story through some concrete examples from Africa.

Find out more about the GSMA’s mWomen program here. And it’s not too late to attend one of the 1600+ events taking place worldwide: full listing on the IWD site.