UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has conducted an extensive study named Measuring the Information Society Report. The report unveiled that the percentage of male Mobile users are greater than the women in most countries including Pakistan.
The report generally depicts a worrisome trend, with many women not having access to cellphones. It points to the culture of male-dominance and oppression of women in the country.
Simply put, going by the numbers in the report prepared by a United Nations agency, it states that men in Pakistan are twice as likely to own a cell phone compared to women.
However, the difference is marginal (less than four percentage points). In Pakistan—alongside other Asian countries such as India and Bangladesh—the difference is rather striking.
Comparison of individuals who own a mobile-cellular telephone (left) and who are using a mobile-cellular telephone (right).
Age groups are divided into brackets and each bracket is surveyed separately. As the report states,”the percentages of female/male mobile-phone users/owners are calculated as a proportion of total female/male population in each age group.”
The data highlights that Pakistan, in 2015, had the highest gender gap when it comes to cellphone users with 17 percent. The total number of male percentage is 84 percent compared to 64 percent of female users.
In Bangladesh and India as well, men are twice as likely to own a cellphone compared to women with a percentage of 71 percent to 82 percent and 79 percent to 90 percent, respectively.
Why Do People Not Own Cellphones?
- Level of Education: People with weak background tend not to own a cellphone due to limited understanding of English language.
- Urban/Rural Areas: People living in rural areas tend to oppress women as it is and by not allowing them to own a cellphone is one form of it.
- Affordability: Pakistan is a third world country, where basic necessities are not being provided to the lower strata of the society. Owning a cellphone is not a perk many can afford.
- Lack of Perceived Benefits: Many people do not feel the need to own a cellphone, especially housewives who tend to stay at home for the most part of their days.
- Poor Network Quality: Although the quality of services have improved across Pakistan but there are still issues in rural areas which is why people do not own a phone.
- Theft: In main cities like Karachi, where theft and snatching of goods is a common norm, people avoid keeping expensive things on them – which includes smartphones.