How COVID-19 has widened the digital divide for women: A perspective from South Asia

Technology is increasingly perceived as a source of division, rather than as the great equalizer.[1] This is particularly relevant to the goal of achieving gender equality in the sector, a key priority for many leading technology companies today. According to UNESCO, globally, women and girls are 25% less likely than men to know how to leverage digital technology for basic purposes, 4 times less likely to know how to programme computers, and 13 times less likely to file for an ICT patent.[2]

This situation is especially grim in South Asia, where 51% of women are unable to access mobile internet. Women in the region are inhibited by a combination of barriers including financial resources, human capital, and other social, personal and cultural factors.[3] However, the inability to benefit from technology is not because of a lack of talent, since South Asian women are known for their contributions in the field globally.[4]

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