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Cell phones on a table in Kenya. Photo: Thomas Imo/Photothek via Getty Images

Cell phone ownership growth in recent years has been driven by emerging, or developing, countries, where companies have connected 700 million new subscribers since 2014.

The big picture: But cell phone operators could add an additional $140 billion in new revenue by closing the female phone ownership gap. Further, the countries could add $700 billion over the next 5 years to their collective GDP by getting women connected, the study finds.

According to a new study from cell phone industry group GSMA:

  • In emerging countries, 15% of adults still do not own a mobile phone and 45% do not use mobile internet. These individuals are also predominantly female.
  • Currently, 1.7 billion women own a cell phone in emerging countries and more than 1 billion use mobile internet. Still, their rate of adoption lags behind men's.
  • 48% of women in these countries now use mobile internet.
  • However, women in low- and middle-income countries are 10% less likely than men to own a mobile phone, which translates into 197 million fewer women than men owning one.
  • 313 million fewer women than men use mobile internet, representing a gender gap of 23%.
  • As mobile subscriber growth slows, the gender gap in mobile ownership is not closing.

What they're saying: "The key to any of this however, is removing current barriers — including affordability and literacy rates — to mobile ownership among women," GSMA writes in the study. "Given enduring cultural realities in some of these countries, women are less likely to earn money and receive high level education compared to men."

Go deeper

State Department to set up new cyber bureau to combat hack attacks

Secretary of State Tony Blinken speaks on the challenges during an October conference in Quito, Ecuador. Photo:y Felipe Stanley/Agencia Press South/Getty Images

Secretary of State Tony Blinken announced Monday plans for the State Department to create a new bureau of cyberspace and digital policy.

Why it matters: The establishment of the bureau and plans for a new envoy to oversee critical and emerging technology come after a series significant hack attacks and other online crimes, notably ransomware assaults on U.S. infrastructure.

Biden rejects Trump's latest executive privilege claims

Photo: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The White House on Monday rejected two more of former President Trump's claims of executive privilege over documents that the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot requested, CNN first reported.

Why it matters: Trump's legal team is seeking to block some of the panel's requests for records by invoking executive privilege, which can allow presidents and their aides to sidestep congressional scrutiny. The Biden administration has maintained that it will evaluate on a case-by-case basis.

Amazon warehouse workers in New York file petition to hold unionization vote

Amazon workers and their supporters rally outside the National Labor Relations Board's regional office in Brooklyn, New York City, after filing a petition requesting an election to form a union. Photo: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City filed a petition on Monday with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold a vote on unionization.

Why it matters: The move comes six months after an organizing effort was defeated at Amazon's distribution center in Alabama.

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