5.b.1 Mobile Telephone Ownership (Female)
Target 5.b: Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women
Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Custodian Organization: International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Tier Classification: Tier I
To facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework, all indicators are classified by the IAEG-SDGs (Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators) into three tiers on the basis of their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level, as follows:
Tier I: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.
Tier II: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.
Tier III: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.
Definition: The proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone, by sex is defined as the ‘proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone, by sex’.
Concepts: An individual owns a mobile cellular phone if he/she has a mobile cellular phone device with at least one active SIM card for personal use. Mobile cellular phones supplied by employers that can be used for personal reasons (to make personal calls, access the Internet, etc.) are included. Individuals who have only active SIM card(s) and not a mobile phone device are excluded. Individuals who have a mobile phone for personal use that is not registered under his/her name are also included. An active SIM card is a SIM card that has been used in the last three months.
A mobile (cellular) telephone refers to a portable telephone subscribing to a public mobile telephone service using cellular technology, which provides access to the PSTN. This includes analogue and digital cellular systems and technologies such as IMT-2000 (3G) and IMT-Advanced. Users of both postpaid subscriptions and prepaid accounts are included.
Rationale: Mobile phone networks have spread rapidly over the last decade and the number of mobile-cellular subscriptions is quasi equal to the number of the people living on earth. However, not every person uses, or owns a mobile-cellular telephone. Mobile phone ownership, in particular, is important to track gender equality since the mobile phone is a personal device that, if owned and not just shared, provides women with a degree of independence and autonomy, including for professional purposes. A number of studies have highlighted the link between mobile phone ownership and empowerment, and productivity growth.
Existing data on the proportion of women owning a mobile phone suggest that less women than men own a mobile phone. This indicator highlights the importance of mobile phone ownership to track and to improve gender equality, and monitoring will help design targeted policies to overcome the gender divide. The collection of this indicator was proposed by the Task Group on Gender of the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development.
Limitations: While the data on the ‘proportion of individuals who own a mobile telephone’ currently only exist for very few countries, ITU is encouraging all countries to collect data on this indicator through national household surveys and the indicator is expected to be added to the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development’s Core List of Indicators. The number of countries with official data for this indicator is expected to increase in the near future.
Data Source: Data for this indicator was primarily collected from the United Nations Statistics Division’s Open SDG Data Hub. National level data is provided to the United Nations Statistics Division by the respective nation, unless otherwise noted. To learn more about the data used in this portal, visit the about page.
Data is accurate as of January, 2019.
5.b.1 Mobile Telephone Ownership (Female) in the Sustainable Development Goals
Click on the SDG to reveal more information
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
While the world has achieved progress towards gender equality and women’s empowerment under the Millennium Development Goals (including equal access to primary education between girls and boys), women and girls continue to suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.