New Delhi: The mobile revolution has touched around a billion people in India, but it seems that primarily men have benefitted from it as women make for a meagre 17.4% of mobile subscribers in the country.
As on March 31 last year, there were over 990 million mobile subscriptions in the country, of which only 172.42 million were women, according to data from the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).
Men accounted for 795.89 million subscriptions whereas 22.5 million subscriptions were not identified. The DoT has not yet shared details about gender-specific mobile subscriptions for current year.
After analysing the details for every telecom circle interesting facts emerged. Mumbai has only 11.85% women mobile subscriptions, which is higher only to Haryana, where the rate is 10.99%. At 31%, North East, where society is mainly matriarchal, has the highest percentage of mobile subscriptions in the name of women.
The capital city of New Delhi has 15.29% women mobile subscriptions.
A senior official in the DoT said fewer women subscriptions does not entirely mean that women are not using mobile phones. “In most of the cases, the male member of a family takes several mobile connections under his name, which are being used by all the members of the family, including children and women,” the official said.
The official though added that even considering this practice, women still lag in terms of mobile phone usage. As per an industry watcher, the situation is grim in some rural areas, where many women are not allowed to use mobile phones.
According to a recent report by LIRNEAsia, India has the highest gender gap in mobile phone ownership among 18 comparable countries including Pakistan and Bangladesh. It said 80% of men use mobile phones in India while the number for women stood at 43%.
Another report by Internet and Mobile Association of India and Kantar IMRB had stated that only 30% of internet users in India were women.
By arrangement with Business Standard.