| October 11, 2016

How Do We Get Every Girl Reading?



A Global Girl Data Movement

The 11th of October marks the International Day of the Girl Child. There are 1.1 billion girls around the world. Each one of them has incredible potential yet many of them are deprived of an education and subject to discrimination simply because they are girls. We’re taking measures to play our part in changing this.

The 2016 theme for the International Day of the Girl Child is “Girls’ Progress = Goals’ Progress: A Global Girl Data Movement.” This stresses the importance of focusing efforts on collecting, analyzing and disseminating relevant, sex disaggregated data that can illustrate the challenges girls are facing and the opportunities that must be understood in order for girls to overcome these barriers. This need for data has clearly been highlighted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which recently committed $80 million to closing the gender data gap.

How to Get Girls Reading on Mobile

Our mobile library has great potential to tackle gender inequality. That’s why Worldreader is implementing a pilot project in Kenya called Anasoma, which means she/he reads in Kiswahili. The project, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment through digital reading, by bridging the gender gap in mobile reading. Currently, only 23% of Worldreader readers are women and girls, however they consume over 66% of the library content. That tells us that once girls are reading, they read a lot. So how do we get them to start reading in the first place?


The Anasoma project focuses on identifying the barriers and drivers to female mobile readership through a human centered design approach. This will tell us who and what can influence women and girls to read on their mobile phones and address those influencers and sources to increase female participation in mobile reading.

Coupled with that, we will identify engaging and empowering content that will attract female readership while keeping the male audience. For this, we will work with national libraries to support book clubs with adolescent girls, men and women. Through these book clubs, we will have a deeper understanding of the barriers and challenges that girls are facing when engaging in mobile reading. We will also be able to learn and understand the reaction and interest of our female readers to this new content. Furthermore, we believe that these book clubs will also help increase self esteem and build confidence amongst adolescent girls.


We believe that this research project will respond to the call of the Global Girl Data Movement and will also help better understand challenges women and girls are facing when accessing technology and mobile technology in a broader fashion. The findings will be beneficial to other organizations and will contribute to closing the gender data gap, as this will be the first time that research of this nature will be generated. As a result we can expect to see many more girls reading in the near future and that means more girls reaching their potential.


Learn more about how we’re improving people’s lives through e-books via Worldreader’s reading applications.