The WhatsApp Gender Gap Will Surprise You!

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We all know there is a gender gap in the usage of mobile phones and technology in general. GSMA reports that women on average are 14% less likely to own a mobile phone than men, which translates into 200 million fewer women than men owning mobile phones.
Did you know there was a WhatsApp gap too? And its not what you’d expect.
WhatsApp Gender Gap
WhatsApp is now the most popular messaging service globally, and like other technologies in low- and middle-income countries, most of its users are likely to be men.
GSMA found that the gender gap in Internet-based messaging use, including Whatsapp, is highest in most African markets such as DRC, Ethiopia and Ivory Coast, and also India, where women are 38% less likely to use IP messaging than men – 50% less likely in rural areas.
WhatsApp Opportunity
The good news is that the WhatsApp gender gap almost disappears in Central and South America and South Africa, showing that women can reach parity with men in instant messaging usage when given the opportunity,.
In Jordan, where there is an overall technology gender gap, both men and women viewed WhatsApp favorably as a way to interact with friends and family. Women themselves reported highly valuing group chat services and social media channels, as WhatsApp is seen as a way to be connected even though they tend to spend most of their time at home.
What’s Your WhatsApp Strategy?
As development practitioners, we should be aware of this WhatsApp gender gap – both its negative and positive ramifications.
In certain countries, using WhatsApp in our programs could skew our results towards a male-dominated demographic, while in other countries, we should focus on WhatsApp for the best results.
Regardless which country you are working in, you should be considering WhatsApp as a better way to reach your constituents than SMS text messaging. The world is going to smartphones – don’t be left behind!
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