Women in low- and middle-income countries are 19% less likely than men to use mobile internet, which translates to around 310 million fewer women accessing the internet than men. 

Closing the gender digital divide and improving access to connectivity in rural areas around the world are imperative to bringing the next generation of Internet users online. Both the Microsoft Airband Initiative and USAID have recognized the need to invest additional resources to address these challenges. Launched in August 2020, the USAID/Microsoft Airband Initiative is a public-private partnership that seeks to bring Internet access to more women around the world, expanding women’s economic opportunities and enabling digital development services.

This guide is intended to act as a resource for Internet service providers and technology companies interested in incorporating a gender-sensitive approach to their work. The guide highlights learnings from the Microsoft Airband pilots and presents recommendations and actionable steps to design, operationalize, and sustain gender programs.

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