Women, mobile learning and kidnapped schoolgirls

There’s been quite a buzz in my Twitter feed for the last week or so as a result of UNESCO’s report “Reading in the mobile era: A study of mobile reading in developing countries.” I saw tweets about it from organizations doing interesting work in the education and technology fields, like Worldreader, Souktel, e-Limu and iEarn USA, and people likeRonda Zelezny-Green, who produces the Gender & Mobile/Learning Newsletter.

Lots of interesting info came out of the study, such as that more women read on mobiles compared to men, but more men read to children with them. The top key finding was “Mobile reading opens up new pathways to literacy for marginalized groups, particularly women and girls, and others who may not have access to paper books.” (emphasis mine) This has important implications, as women make up 64% of the world’s illiterate population. UNESCO has already been involved in this area through their Mobile Phone Literacy – Empowering Women and Girls project (slide presentation), and Vodafone jumped in recently with the Malala Fund “to promote mobile-based literacy and education projects around the world” for girls. (pp10-13 of their report, “Connected Women: How mobile can support women’s economic and social empowerment,” focus on education)