Bhaskar Chakravorti and Christina Filipovic join the BBC's Digital Planet podcast to discuss how the pandemic sparked an improvement in gender digital parity in select countries in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.
October 10, 2022
In 2020 more than 40% of the world’s population was not using the internet, with many more women being unable to get online. Now a new global study into digital access in 90 countries shows that although women were disproportionately impacted by the Covid pandemic, it seems to have got more of them online in South East Asia and Africa. In these two parts of the world, the study shows progress in terms of bridging the gap between men and women and access to tech and the internet.
While, historically, 90% of transactions in India were done by cash, the researchers say the pandemic forced more people to turn to digital payments for everyday items including food and other goods. In many parts of South East Asia, including India, many women are doing most of the shopping. The combination paved the way for progress and highlights a unique instance where the pandemic benefited women in these regions. Additionally, now equipped with their own digital wallets, women are afforded more agency over their finances. The progress in gender parity was seen in sub-Saharan Africa (8% improvement from 2019-2021), the Middle East and North Africa (6%), and South Asia (3%). We speak to Tufts University researchers who carried out the work, the dean of Global Business, Bhaskar Chakravorti, and research manager Christina Filipovic.