January 25, 2022

Report: “The Costs of Exclusion: Economic Consequences of the Digital Gender Gap”

From the World Wide Web Foundation:

The Costs of Exclusion: Governments are missing out on hundreds of billions of dollars because of the digital gender gap

Across the world, millions of people are still unable to access the internet and participate online — and women are disproportionately excluded. Men are 21% more likely to be online than women globally, rising to 52% in Least Developed Countries.

Various barriers prevent women and girls from accessing the internet and participating online, including unaffordable devices and data tariffs, inequalities in education and digital skills, social norms that discourage women and girls from being online, and fears around privacy, safety, and security.

Women already achieve incredible things in the digital economy. However, their experiences as content creators and entrepreneurs are more an exception than part of everyday life.

While digital exclusion limits the opportunities for women and girls unable to connect, it also has broader societal and economic impacts that affect everyone.

This report estimates the economic impact of women’s digital exclusion and underlines the economic opportunity governments have to include women in a fully inclusive digital economy.

Key Findings

  • There is a substantial digital gender gap — and it’s not getting better. In the 32 countries we studied, just over a third of women were connected to the internet compared to almost half of men.
  • Countries have missed out on $1 trillion USD in GDP as a result of women’s exclusion in the digital world. In 2020, the loss to GDP was $126 billion USD.
  • This economic hit means billions in lost taxes that could be invested to improve education, health, and housing. This lost productivity translates to a missing $24 billion in tax revenues annually for these governments, based on current tax-to-GDP ratios.
  • Governments are not adopting the policies they need to bridge the digital gender gap. Of all the policy areas covered by the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) in its annual Affordability Drivers Index, gender consistently receives the lowest scores.
  • Policymakers have a $500 billion+ economic opportunity. Closing the digital gender gap in these countries would deliver an estimated $524 billion increase in economic activity by 2025.

Direct to Publication Announcement

Report Resources

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.