Access Coalition

Ensuring that women and girls have full access to digital technologies, devices and services


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2019 EQUALS Access Coalition Report
10 Lessons Learnt: Closing the Gender Gap in Internet
Access and Use Insights from the EQUALS Access Coalition
EQUALS Access Coalition Partners have taken a leading
role in closing the gender gap in access to and use of
the internet, and they have learned key lessons along the
way. In this report, you will find some invaluable insights
to consider when implementing projects that aim to
increase women’s access to and use of the internet.
Download the report.
Lead partner: GSMA
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2018 EQUALS Access Coalition Progress Report
A summary from the EQUALS Access Coalition
Download this report to see a complete framework for reducing the gender gap in internet access and use, and a case study from Rwanda to demonstrate successful strategies.
Lead partner: GSMA

Access Coalition

Access Coalition Lead Partner:

About the EQUALS Access Coalition

The Issue


Worldwide, women are less likely to have access to the transformative power of the internet. The latest estimates from ITU suggests that women globally are 12% less likely than men to use the internet and also highlights that this gap is most pronounced in Least Developed Countries (LDCs), where women are 33% less likely to use the internet.

It is critical that we address this digital gender gap and ensure women are not being left behind. The internet can bring women access to information, services, education, health care and economic opportunities. Addressing the digital gender gap will bring benefits to society, the economy and to individual women and families, while also contributing to the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Work


The Access Coalition is focused on reducing the gender gap in internet access and use by working across four main areas of action:

  • The need for gender-disaggregated data and evidence base on internet access and use to inform policy and strategy development, implementation and monitoring (in partnership with the EQUALS Research Coalition).

  • The integration of a gender perspective in relevant policies, strategies, plans and budgets.

  • A focus on addressing the barriers to women's access to and use of the internet including affordable access; issues around safety and harassment; digital literacy and confidence; highlighting the benefits that using the internet can bring; and the availability of relevant content, applications and services. This will take into account different local contexts including social and cultural norms.

  • Supporting coordinated action by many different stakeholders.

The EQUALS Access Coalition aims to respond to the challenges identified above and to build on the Broadband Commission for Sustainable Development Working Group on the Digital Gender Divide report's recommendations for action: bridging the gender gap in internet and broadband access and use. The Access Coalition will:

  • Facilitate the sharing of information and experience on how to increase women’s access to and use of the internet

  • Identify high-impact initiatives or actions to be undertaken by Coalition members

  • Identify countries where there can be coordinated action by Coalition members to increase access to, and use of the internet for women

  • Advocate on this issue at key forums to increase awareness, prioritization and action (such as the W20)


The Coalition will initially focus its efforts in pilot countries where targeted action is taken by Coalition members. Through its activities, the Access Coalition will collect evidence-based case studies which provide examples of how to increase women’s access to and use of the internet.

Why it matters


Each time we bring more women and girls online, we not only take one more step towards achieving gender equality, we accelerate the implementation of all the Sustainable Development Goals.

The digital gender gap will not close on its own; its root causes are a complex set of social, economic and cultural barriers. These obstacles will only be overcome through targeted intervention by a range of stakeholders.

Working together, we can make significant progress in eliminating the digital gender imbalance.


Because when women thrive, societies, businesses and economies thrive.

Access Coalition Partners

Association for Progressive Communications

BBVA Microfinance Foundation

Digital Opportunity Trust



Girl Effect

Government of Argentina

Government of Burundi

Government of Rwanda

GSMA (Lead Partner)

Get involved


If your organization would like to join the EQUALS Access Coalition, reach out to us at