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                                 In this issue:

Barriers to women’s online empowerment: the Digital Gender Audit
Uber & Vodafone partner for pregnancy emergencies in Tanzania

 
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Gender and Mobiles Newsletter
Volume 5 Issue 5
Note from the editors

One of the biggest refrains in gender and technology has been that in order to address the digital gender gap, we have to know the scale and scope of the problem. In this issue, the Web Foundation makes progress towards this end with an exciting new report with research from 10 countries. We believe the Digital Gender Audit is a useful tool for framing other investigations in this area and look forward to seeing more country contexts examined in the future. In parallel, we are seeing more innovations which also aim to enhance women's and girls' lives through creative technology use. As Uber makes its way into more emerging markets, it will be interesting to see how people and the company itself uses the platform for good beyond just lowering private transport costs.

Are you working on a new method for assessing the digital gender gap? Do you have any ideas about how the "sharing economy" might benefit women and girls? Let us know - tweet us (@ronda_zg or @alex_tyers) or feel free to send us in stories of your own for the next newsletter!

- Ronda and Alex

Barriers to women’s online empowerment: the Digital Gender Audit

The Web Foundation has built on their recent Women’s Rights Online Report, and released report cards that assess progress on closing the digital gender divide in 10 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, looking at five barriers in particular, and how the countries score against them.

Globally, the report found that the biggest barriers to women’s online empowerment are around whether women actually have access to the Internet, whether women feel safe and secure while online, and whether women have the skills to be able to use the Internet.

You can read the full report and country profiles here.

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Uber & Vodafone Foundation partner for pregnancy emergencies in Tanzania

Above is a photo of Omari Mabula. Mr. Mabula is one of the ambulance taxi drivers participating in a maternal health initiative spearheaded by the Vodafone Foundation and Uber in Tanzania, and co-funded by the US Government and Swiss Re Foundation. The initiative aims to lower the number of women who do not survive pregnancy or who lose their babies soon after birth because they are unable to get to a hospital quickly enough.

Two districts in Tanzania, Sengerema and Shinyanga, are the first to receive the life-saving service because they have just 10 ambulances to serve a population of approximately two million people. Mothers-to-be can now call a toll-free emergency line to request an Uber-linked ambulance taxi. After arriving at the hospital with the patient, the driver is then paid via M-Pesa, the mobile money technology. The initiative has the potential to save the lives of 225 women and babies each month in rural Tanzania.

To learn more about this initiative, please read here.
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Fighting fistula through mobile

Elsewhere in Tanzania, 20,000 women are living with obstetric fistula, with 3,000 new cases that appear each year. But the condition often goes untreated as patients cannot afford treatment nor the travel costs to receive treatment from a professional.

Transport My Patient is a mobile solution that refers patients to the CCBRT Disability Hospital, the largest provider of obstetric fistula treatment in Tanzania. CCBRT fistula ambassadors identify patients, and the trigger the system to send payment for the patient’s transport costs to the hospital through M-Pesa. This is another program sponsored by the Vodafone Foundation and has been in operation since 2010.

Learn more here with an informative animation.

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Mobile health advice for
expectant mothers in Ethiopia

Launching this month in Ethiopia is a text and voice message campaign targeting 4,000 mothers who are pregnant. The initiative is backed by TTC Mobile and the Dutch Health[e]Foundation, and will provide mothers with advice on nutrition, breastfeeding, preparing for birth - basically a digital "What to expect when you're expecting." 

Approximately 100 doctors and midwives were trained and made aware of the service. Trainers also demonstrated how the mobile health service can complement their work, enabling the doctors and midwives to promote the service's benefits to their patients. Ethio Telecom is providing access to its networks so that the service can be implemented.

Learn more about this pilot here.

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Using SMS to learn about HIV in Mozambique

In Mozambique, 11.5% of the population aged 15 to 49 has HIV/AIDS, and women are three times more likely to be HIV positive than men. One of the challenges in lowering the rate of HIV transmission is the lack of sex education and the perpetuation of myths.
 
To address this, UNICEF has launched its SMS Biz service in four Mozambican provinces. Users sends texts to counsellors at a youth centre and can ask questions about sexual health and HIV/AIDS. The service currently has around 36,000 subscribers between 10 and 24 years old, and is working towards getting correct sexual and reproductive health and rights information out to those who are most vulnerable.

Learn more here.

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Special Midwife Service launches in Nigeria
 
Etistalat Nigeria has launched a new mobile health service for pregnant women. The Special Midwife Service (SMS) uses SMS and IVR (voice) to give pregnant women and new mothers access to information and advice on pregnancy, nutrition, wellness and health and medication reminders. The service also gives users opportunities to connect with a doctor or a midwife.
Read more here.
#Iamnotscaredtospeak: A GBV campaign
in Ukraine

 
The tense geopolitical situation in eastern Ukraine has brought a rise in gender-based violence (GBV) along with it. Because GBV is rarely reported in the country, some women and girls have turned to Facebook to have their voices heard. Using the hashtag #Iamnotscaredtospeak (or #ЯнеБоюсьСказати in Ukrainian), a female journalist has decided to use social media to tell her story and help herself and others reclaim their voices.
Read more here.

The women tweeting for their freedom in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, the practice of male guardianship exists whereby all women and girls have a male in their lives who is legally permitted to make important decisions for them - with or without their consent. Now, using the Twitter hashtag 
#سعوديات_نطالب_باسقاط_الولاية (Together to end male guardianship), women are challenging this system, one tweet at a time. Read more here.

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The next issue of the Gender & Mobiles Newsletter is scheduled to be published in December 2016. We welcome your contributions!
The concept for the Gender & Mobiles newsletter was created by Ronda Zelezny-Green. This issue was sourced and compiled by Ronda Zelezny-Green and Alexandra Tyers.

Please bring any errors or omissions to the attention of the editors. Revisions will be addressed in the subsequent issue.

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