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If you thought mobile-phone usage is gender neutral, you were wrong


Washington, Oct 25: This is an age of smartphones. People, especially the youngsters today, find their entire world in the device which can easily be called the most prized accessory of humans today.

If you thought mobile-phone usage is gender neutral, you were wrong

However, apparently though it may look that mobile phone is a gender-neutral thing, in-depth study reveals that it is not. A survey report which got released this month by a non-profit organisation called Girl Effect has said that the pattern of usage of mobile phones among boys and girls in the developing world is not equal and those countries where this imbalance exists include India, a report in Washington-based National Public Radio said.

This country has decided to ban anyone using mobile phones on the streets

The report titled "Real Girls, Real Lives, Connected" has surveyed over 3,000 teenage girls and boys in 25 countries with a focus on developing ones like India, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Rwanda. It has sought answers through online questionnaires and one-on-one interviews.

The report found that for every 15 boys who own a phone, only 10 girls do the same. In case of smartphone ownership, the gap is even bigger: 18 to 10.

What is the reason for this disparity? More than cost or access, restrictions imposed by parents and social norms are the reasons in many parts of the world.

The research, which has been funded by the Vodafone Foundation, the charitable wing of international service provider Vodafone, spoke to girls from countries like Bangladesh and Malawi, another developing nation in Africa, and they said if they possessed a mobile phone, they would be considered a "bad girl".

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Zoe Dibb, one the lead authors of the report, said a key finding of the study is that even though the girls are less likely to own phones than boys, they had more access to the device than it was thought for they secretly share it with others, even if it is with the neighbour.

The report also said that since girls have limited access or face obstacles for using a phone, they are less aware about knowing ways to protect themselves from online harassments.

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