How Kenyan Women Use Data Differently from Kenyan Men

By Nduta Waweru

In a country where internet services are quite fast, more Kenyan can now easily access the internet, especially on mobile devices.  Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) carried out a study, Mobile Data Plans In Kenya, Quantifying Women Access to the Digital World, on how women in Kenya use mobile devices in accessing the internet. Here are five highlights of the study.

  • More women use full-cost data compared to men.

Full cost data service means that users pay for all the services accessed on the phone. The study found out that 74 per cent of women use this service as compared to 67 per cent of men. The research also revealed that women are less likely (4.4 per cent) to use service specific data (subsidised access to some services) as compared to men (15 per cent).

Comparison of data service use by men and women
  • Women are more likely to buy smaller data bundles

Considering the socio-economical status of women in Kenya and the wage gap, women usually purchase smaller data bundles. The study found that 35 per cent of women buy 150MB of data. They are also more likely to buy the 350MB and 1024MB of data more frequently.

On the other hand, men are more likely to purchase 1229MBs or more. However, only one per cent buys the largest data bundle at 6144mbs.

It is important to note that factors such as spending power of women, disposable income and ability to buy data bundles play important roles in women’s decision in the amount of data to purchase.

  • More women use the internet for social media and messaging services

The study also reveals that six per cent of women use the internet for messaging services as compared to three per cent of men, and 20 per cent uses social media as compared to 15 per cent of men. However, it baffles that women are the least likely to use service-specific and zero-rated data bundles which offer free or subsidised costs for social media and messaging use.

Comparison of service-specific and zero-rated bundles between men and women in Kenya

The report states that this could be as a result of poor marketing strategies of such service-specific and zero rated services to women. It is important to note that factors such as education, age, weekly spending on data and employment status determine such decisions.

  • Gender dimension of data services need to be explored

From the results of the study, A4AI recommends the exploration of gender dimension of mobile data in Kenya. This would provide an opportunity for stakeholders including mobile operators and government to uncover reasons for the trends in data usage by women. It will also be a chance to come up with solutions including service-specific and zero-rated data services for women.

 

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