Libraries have a key mission to put people in touch with information.
The internet is increasingly essential as a means of achieving this. Thanks to digital technologies, more information than ever is being created, while many materials which used to be available on paper are now online only.
This makes the possibility to access the internet more important than ever. Inequalities in access can too easily translate into equalities in other aspects of life.
Worryingly, as the latest Development and Access to Information Report underlines, a crucial inequality – between men and women is not falling but growing.
Globally, not only are women less likely to be able to use the internet than men, but between 2015 and 2016, more men got online for the first time than women.
In short, the Internet Gender Gap Rose from 11% to 12% between 2015 and 2016.
What does this mean for libraries?: libraries have an active role in providing internet access, both in order to help people get online for the first time, and to complement access at home. Their unique characteristics, as public, non-commercial, welcoming spaces make them particularly suitable to contribute to efforts to close the Internet gender gap.
Find out more in our Development and Access to Information Report.