Uninor's New Project To Bridge Mobile Gender Gap

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 09, 2014


The initiative, called the Project Sampark, plans to create awareness that the mobile is a tool of facilitation for women and their ownership of a mobile phone needs to be encouraged by the society. The total investment over the seven-month duration of the project is estimated at $183,654. Uninor will be contributing $113,654 while GSMA will be granting $ 70,000 to support the project.

“Mobile technology has the ability to change the way we communicate, but its effects are not evenly distributed. Gender disparity is also echoed in mobile usage. This is a significant area of concern and what better way than using mobile connectivity to help deal with this developmental challenge,” Morten Karlsen Sorby, CEO, Uninor.

Project Sampark is being launched as a pilot project to assess the barriers that women face in accessing mobile services such as affordability, mental block or social stigma attached with women to own a handset. The project will aim to enhance tele-density among women, especially in rural areas. 

“The GSMA’s Connected Women Programme aims to increase women’s access to and use of mobile phones and life-enhancing mobile services. Generally, in developing markets the decision makers for women are the male members in the family and the Connected Women program works to minimize this gender gap between men and women in accessing mobiles technology,” said Zouhair Khaliq, Managing Director, GSMA Mobile For Development.

According to Uninor, in the pilot phase, 87 villages of Aligarh district of Western Uttar Pradesh, have been identified to pilot the project by testing business case of a commercial offering that helps reduce a multitude of barriers women face in accessing mobile services. For the roll out of the pilot, 40 women and four supervisors will participate including influential women in the region who are Anganwadi and ASHA supporters who can persuasively spread the message.

Uninor will also train women entrepreneurs to make a livelihood by offering them an opportunity to sell mobile prepaid connections and recharge vouchers, it said.