Women’s Access and Use of Mobile Phones

Dvara Research: Social Protection Initiative

While phone access and ownership has been rising rapidly in India in recent years, women lag behind on access, usage and ownership of mobiles. Dvara Research undertook a review of literature on how low-income women in India and in other countries in the Global South access and use mobile phones. The paper reviews literature from the Global South including African countries, South Asia, and India.


There is limited published research on women’s access and use of mobile phones in India, and significant research gaps. - Overall, women have less access to phones, generally have access to a shared phone or a phone with less features. - Women use fewer features on the phone as compared to men. - Women’s use of mobile phones is constrained in relation to where they use the phone, for how long and for what purpose. - Women suffer from barriers to using mobile phones including socio-cultural notions of women not needing a phone, or women potentially compromising family honour, due to which women both self-censor and are frequently monitored in their phone usage.
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  • Pan-India


  • Research report


  • Gender-based issues