A global study of girls’ access and usage of mobile, told through 3000 voices


Mobile phones have the potential to transform the lives of millions around the world, but girls are being left behind. So while mobile and internet access is growing rapidly, it is not growing equally. Across low and middle income countries 184m fewer women own a mobile than men. The gap is bigger when it comes to mobile internet, with women 26% less likely to use it than men.

Little is known however about mobile access and use for one crucial group, adolescent girls.

Girls are generally included in the broader category of ‘women’ but their challenges and realities are often very different. Many girls miss out on the opportunities of mobile.

Girl Effect and Vodafone Foundation carried out the first ever comprehensive global study of adolescent girls to better understand their use of mobile technology. The aim of the research was to give a voice to the girls accessing, or trying to access, mobile phones, and it used the experiences, challenges and realities of more than 3,000 girls and boys from 25 countries worldwide.

The methodology was designed by experts in gender and tech and with guidance from MIT’s D-Lab. It included a literature review, informant interviews with development, tech and gender experts, in-person detailed interviews by Girl Effect’s girl-led mobile research methodology TEGA, online surveys, and comment analysis.