Research for Global Development

Mobile Money Use & Gender: Less Disparity than Might be Expected


Gender often plays a key role in the uptake and use of new technologies in developing countries, with women lagging behind men.  InterMedia’s Tanzania Mobile Money Tracker study however has shown that, while this is true for mobile money in Tanzania to an extent, poverty and urban/rural status are much stronger determinants to uptake and use than is gender.

For example, those above the poverty line are 24 percentage points more likely to use mobile money than those below the poverty line and urban residents are 22 percentage points more likely to use than rural residents. The gender gap is less than a third of these; men are only 7 percentage points more likely to use mobile money than women.

Mobile Money Use by Demographics

Taking the demographic segmentation one step deeper, urban men above the poverty line and urban women above the poverty line are almost equally likely to use mobile money, at 69 and 65 percent respectively.

Mobile Money Use among Urban Men and Women above the Poverty Line

The gap between urban women above the poverty line and urban women below the poverty however is more than 20 percentage points (65 vs. 44 percent usage).  This indicates poverty is a much bigger barrier than gender.  Put another way, these findings show that mobile money use varies more within each gender than it does between the genders.

Mobile Money Use among Women in Urban Areas, by Poverty Status

Similar findings appear in rural areas.  There, men are 10 percentage points more likely to use mobile money than women, but across both genders those above the poverty line are 20 percentage points more likely to use than those below the poverty line.

These findings indicate a need to think carefully about the role that gender plays in the uptake of new technologies.  The impact of gender is sure to vary in different contexts and countries.  For stakeholders specifically aiming for gender equality in technology use, closing the gap between men and women’s mobile money use remains a valid endeavor in need of attention.  However, to even out mobile money use among different demographic groups, targeting individuals below the poverty line and rural residents is likely to be most effective.

 

InterMedia

Mobile Money Use & Gender: Less Disparity than Might be Expected


Gender often plays a key role in the uptake and use of new technologies in developing countries, with women lagging behind men.  InterMedia’s Tanzania Mobile Money Tracker study however has shown that, while this is true for mobile money in Tanzania to an extent, poverty and urban/rural status are much stronger determinants to uptake and use than is gender.

For example, those above the poverty line are 24 percentage points more likely to use mobile money than those below the poverty line and urban residents are 22 percentage points more likely to use than rural residents. The gender gap is less than a third of these; men are only 7 percentage points more likely to use mobile money than women.

Mobile Money Use by Demographics

Taking the demographic segmentation one step deeper, urban men above the poverty line and urban women above the poverty line are almost equally likely to use mobile money, at 69 and 65 percent respectively.

Mobile Money Use among Urban Men and Women above the Poverty Line

The gap between urban women above the poverty line and urban women below the poverty however is more than 20 percentage points (65 vs. 44 percent usage).  This indicates poverty is a much bigger barrier than gender.  Put another way, these findings show that mobile money use varies more within each gender than it does between the genders.

Mobile Money Use among Women in Urban Areas, by Poverty Status

Similar findings appear in rural areas.  There, men are 10 percentage points more likely to use mobile money than women, but across both genders those above the poverty line are 20 percentage points more likely to use than those below the poverty line.

These findings indicate a need to think carefully about the role that gender plays in the uptake of new technologies.  The impact of gender is sure to vary in different contexts and countries.  For stakeholders specifically aiming for gender equality in technology use, closing the gap between men and women’s mobile money use remains a valid endeavor in need of attention.  However, to even out mobile money use among different demographic groups, targeting individuals below the poverty line and rural residents is likely to be most effective.

 

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