Before 2002, Afghans were cut off from each other and the world. Over the past decade, some 20 million mobile phone subscriptions have been set up, and the combined networks of the major mobile phone companies cover 88% of the country's 30 million people. The mobile telecommunications sector is a major driver of the economy, accounting for the most foreign direct investment in Afghanistan, the biggest non-governmental employer aside from subsistence agriculture, and the largest taxpayer.
Despite this remarkable progress, little was known about Afghan women's ability to benefit from mobile phones. New research, described in Connecting to Opportunity: A Survey of Afghan Women's Access to Mobile Technology (PDF, 840K), finds that 80% of Afghan women now have some access to mobile technology, either through their own phone or through a phone belonging to a family member. In addition to transforming women's ability to communicate, the proliferation of mobile phones in Afghanistan is beginning to facilitate women's access to life-enhancing commercial and social services, such as education, health care and income-generating opportunities.
Last updated: May 22, 2013