The survey shows that Ghana has made significant progress towards closing the gender gap in internet access, with 29 percent of women now online, up from fewer than 20 percent in 2016, according to a previous report from the Web Foundation and the Media Foundation for West Africa. However, the report warns that women using the internet in Ghana still experience a lower quality of connection to men, preventing them from fully benefiting from digital technology.
Ghana has a 14 percent gender gap in ‘ meaningful connectivity’ ‘, a measure based on whether users have fast speeds, enough data, a suitable device and regular access to the internet. Women surveyed were around half as likely as men to say they had internet speeds sufficient to meet their online needs. And, on average, they had smaller data bundles, with 75 percent of women limited to 1GB data or less per month, compared with just 58 percent of men. Slow speeds and limited data severely constrain how people use the internet, particularly for high-bandwidth applications needed to work and learn from home which, during the COVID-19 crisis, have become more important than ever.
A lack of digital skills presents a significant barrier to online participation. A 43 percent of women living in urban areas who are not online said they do not use the internet because they do not know how, compared with just 27 percent of men in urban areas. The report warns that exclusion of women from digital society is a threat to progress on gender equality and denies women opportunities to improve their lives.