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Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and British High Court Judge, wife of former British Prime Minister, Cherie Blair. came together to launch a new technology initiative aimed at bringing mobile phones to poor women around the world.
It is estimated that, in the Third World, around 300 million more men own mobile phones than women, and the aim of the scheme is to get mobile devices in to the hands of another 150 million women.
Mrs Clinton said that closing the technology gender gap was crucial to empowering women. Mobile phones are used to access health care, report violence and coordinate disaster relief and aid efforts in often volatile countries. They are also widely used for trade and banking in areas where there is little official infrastructure and widespread corruption.
“With a mobile phone, expectant mothers who live nowhere near a clinic can get health advice,” said Mrs Clinton.
“Mobile phones have led a remarkable communications revolution, extending and improving the way people connect with each other,” said Mrs Blair.
“Over nine out of 10 women we surveyed felt safer because of their mobile phone, and 85 per cent said they felt more independent while over 55 per cent of business owners reported that they have earned additional income (through the use of a mobile phone).”
According to the mWomen project, the mobile ownership gender gap is most pronounced in South Asia, but is also significant in parts of Africa and the Middle East. The scheme has the backing of the GSM Association, the trade body for the mobile phone industry.
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