As another reminder of the male-dominated society we dwell in, a latest report by a United Nations agency has claimed that men are twice as likely as women to own a mobile phone in Pakistan.
As mentioned in the information Society Report, released by the UN’s International Telecommunications Union (ITU) on Tuesday, the disaggregation of date on cellular phone usage by gender revealed the percentage of male users is higher than that of female users in most countries.
However, the difference are small in most economies, Pakistan is among those few countries where the gender gap is still high with regard to mobile phone usage, alongside the ownership of cellphones. In the data that is collected by the ITU, the difference can be seen in the male and female cellular phone users is highest in Pakistan at 17%, as the studied showed that there were 64% of females against 81% of male users in 2015.
Other countries that are on the list include the Islamic Republic of Iran (56% as against 78% 2013), Bangladesh (71% as against 82% 2015) and India (79% as against 90% 2015).
In India and Bangladesh too, men are twice as likely as women to own a mobile phone. Other countries with large gender gaps in cellphone ownership include Burundi, Indonesia and Myanmar (more than 10 percentage points).
The fact that gender gap doesn’t only exist in developing countries as sizeable gender gaps exist in the Republic of Korea, Oman and Thailand, shows that low mobile phone ownership among women may not be an issue in poorer countries.
Whilst mobile cellular prices went on to decrease in 2015 globally, Asia and the Pacific has the lowest average of all regions and Pakistan is among top five countries where the cheapest telecom services are offered. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh stand out with prices below purchasing power parity of $5 per month. Other Asian countries that display remarkably low mobile cellular prices include Iran (PPP$ 5.4), China (PPP$ 6.6) and Pakistan (PPP$ 7).
To keep a check on the mobile-cellular prices, the report uses the mobile cellular sub basket, that refers to the price of a standard basket of nearly 30 outgoing calls in a month, (on-net/off-net to a fixed line and for peak and off-peak times, in predetermined ratios), plus 100 SMS messages.
Despite very low cellphone prices, Pakistan remains one of the least connected countries (LCCs) and ranks 146 on a global ICT index of 175 economies, ITU revealed in its latest report. The country scored 2.35 on IDI, compared to 2.15 in 2015, showing IDI value change of 0.19. Pakistan ranked 145 in 2015 edition of the ICT Development Index.
In Asia and the Pacific region, Pakistan is at the bottom of the table as it ranked 31 out of 34 countries in the region. Only countries that ranked lower than Pakistan include Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.