The Affordability Drivers Index (ADI) looks at the policies, incentives, and infrastructure investments in place across 51 developing and emerging countries, and assesses the extent to which they are being implemented. This includes policies which we believe drive progress towards more affordable Internet. Countries that do well on the ADI also tend to have lower broadband prices for their citizens, although the ADI does not measure price directly.

One section in the report considers the gender gap in access. for those living in poverty and at the bottom of the income pyramid, the cost to connect is even higher for women in these groups. The gender wage gap diminishes the ability of women — and female-headed households in particular — to afford Internet access. Recent research by the Web Foundation shows that poor urban women are 50% less likely to be connected to the Internet than men in the same age group with similar levels of education and household income.

SDG targets 9c (affordable universal access) and 5b (enhancing the use ICT to promote the empowerment of women) might be found under different overarching goals, but they are inextricably linked. Universal access cannot be achieved without concrete and focused efforts to bring women online, just as full gender equality cannot be achieved without enabling women’s access to an affordable, open, and safe Internet. Access to education, and skill building and training opportunities is key to support women’s effective participation in a digital society, and must be considered and integrated as part of a comprehensive strategy.

Table of contents

i Executive Summary

1 Introduction

2 The Affordability Drivers Index (ADI)

3 Poverty, Income Inequality, and the Case of Mistaken Affordability

4 Gender Inequality: Exacerbating Affordability Challenges

5 Policy Recommendations

6 Annexes

Year of publication


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