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$29bn Annual Productivity Increase From Greater Access To Mobile By Women

3 Mar 2014Vodafone Foundation news
3 minute read
  • The Vodafone Connected Women report concludes that mobile technology could be used to lift 5.3m women out of illiteracy by 2020
  • The Vodafone Foundation announces partnership with the Malala Fund to invest in new mobile-based literacy and education projects
  • Mobile could reduce the number of domestic violence incidents against women in developed markets by a total of 80,000 between 2014 and 2020

The Vodafone Connected Women report, published today, has found that providing women with greater access to mobile phones and services could lead to a $29 billion increase in annual global productivity from 2020 - equivalent to the 2012 GDP of Tanzania - as a result of greater female participation in the workforce and savings in public services.

Additionally, the report* - commissioned by Vodafone with research undertaken by Accenture and Oxford University’s Saïd Business School - found that mobile-based literacy programmes could enable 5.3 million women to learn to read by 2020, mainly across the developing countries in which Vodafone operates. The report concluded that reducing female illiteracy in those countries would empower women to secure new work opportunities with a resultant increase in economic activity totalling $3.4 billion per year from 2020.

Malala Fund collaboration
In light of the significant potential for mobile to transform female literacy levels in developing countries, the Vodafone Foundation has today announced the launch of a partnership with the philanthropic organisation established by Malala Yousafzai, ambassador for girls’ education worldwide through the Malala Fund and author of I am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education. The Malala Fund was established in 2013 to support efforts to ensure girls in all countries and cultures are able to benefit from access to education. The Vodafone Foundation-Malala Fund partnership will explore ways of using mobile technology to tackle female illiteracy and expand female access to education.

Andrew Dunnett, Director, Vodafone Foundation, said: “Getting a mobile for the first time can change a woman's life forever, and - as the Vodafone Connected Women report demonstrates - preventing the gender gap from widening would yield a significant economic benefit. We look forward to working with the Malala Fund to give more women the knowledge and skills to take greater control of their lives and increase their participation in the workforce.”

Mobile defence against domestic violence
Another key focus of the Vodafone Connected Women report is how mobile technology can be used to increase women’s safety. The report found that mobile-based alert systems could reduce the number of domestic violence incidents against women by a total of 80,000 by 2020 if they were made more widely available by local police services. In addition to the broader positive social and cultural impact of reducing the number of domestic assaults against women, greater use of mobile technology in violence prevention would also generate an annual economic impact of $800 million in 2020 through reduced healthcare, security and legal costs and enhanced productivity as women under threat remained fully able to participate in the workforce.

Andrew Dunnett added: "Mobile alert systems also have a vital role to play in reducing the threat of domestic violence, and we would encourage all police services and agencies to make greater use of mobile technology to help keep vulnerable women safe."

For further information:
Vodafone Group
Media Relations

Note to editors
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About Vodafone
Vodafone is one of the world's largest telecommunications companies with approximately 419 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as of 31 December 2013. Vodafone has equity interests in telecommunications operations in nearly 30 countries and around 50 partner networks worldwide. For more information, please visit:

About the Vodafone Foundation
The Vodafone Foundation invests in the communities in which Vodafone operates and is at the centre of a network of global and local social investment programmes. In countries in which Vodafone operates, social investment is delivered by a unique footprint of 28 Vodafone Foundations and social investment programmes.

These programmes are directed and chosen by the Foundation Trustees and receive funding from the Vodafone Foundation in the UK as well as their local Vodafone company. The Vodafone Foundation is a registered charity in England and Wales (registered number 1089625).

  • Connectivity
  • Empowering People
  • Press Release
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