Across the world girls are getting their hands on mobile phones, and even girls who say they don’t have a phone are often using them.
Ownership levels vary across the world - only 15% of girls in our sample in Malawi owned mobiles, compared to 99% in the USA and 61% in Tanzania. Young people aged 18 and 19 are significantly more likely to own a phone than 15-17 year olds. Girls who do own a phone are more likely to have a smartphone.
However in many countries surveyed boys are one and a half times more likely to own a phone than girls.
In some countries phone borrowing is very high, and some girls borrow phones even if they have one of their own. Most borrow from their parents, some from friends or siblings. Some also are given phones by boys or men.
Being able to contact their family is the main justification for having or borrowing a phone in countries where access is limited for girls.