Digital Reading, People, SDGs | October 8, 2021

How We’re Bridging the Gender Digital Divide


“Digital generation. Our generation.”

On this International Day of the Girl Child, UNICEF is shedding light on the critical divide between girls’ and boys’ access to digital devices and the internet. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, this digital divide has grown by 6%. And, in the world’s least developed countries it is at nearly 43%

How Worldreader is bridging the gender digital divide

That’s why for over a decade, Worldreader has been working to give girls and women around the world access to digital technology, as well as teach them how to use it. In fact, our digital reading programs for kids have even inspired mothers to own smartphones for the first time and taught them how to better use digital technology to make a difference in their communities. 

Karishma and Nabila’s stories

Pictured: David Risher, Worldreader CEO, and Kate James, Worldreader board member, meeting Karishma at a community outreach reading session.

In 2017, Worldreader was wrapping up its Read to Kids initiative in India, which sought to get more caregivers reading to their children via mobile phones. That’s when Worldreader’s CEO David Risher went out to India and got to hear Karishma’s story

Karishma was one of the mothers who took part in the project with her children. She explained that Worldreader’s reading app had become so important in the lives of her children that it encouraged her to take a step toward owning her own smartphone for the first time. She told David that in India it is common for a woman to share her husband’s smartphone. This means being without it all day while he is at work and then using it with his permission when he is home. But, because she could now read to her children from a mobile phone thanks to the project, it had given her a viable reason to need her very own smartphone. Read more about David’s visit to India here.  

Similarly, in early 2021, Worldreader collaborated with CARE Egypt to organize a reading competition, meant to address the learning crisis in Egypt. There, we met Nabila, a school librarian who participated in the competition with her son Matthew and her nieces and nephews. After the project had ended, Nabila said that the competition helped many of the parents  learn how to  use technology. 

Nabila told us, “I was new to WhatsApp and now after becoming more familiar with it, I also use it to promote my small clothing business. I made a group for my clients and I share with them photos and promotions thanks to the competition.”

Having seen first hand the impact that digital reading can have on girls and women, we’re sharing a list of some of our most inspiring books. Stories like these will further this shift towards a world in which all girls are digitally empowered and equipped to create change. Together we will continue to empower girls and bridge the gender digital divide.

Join us in celebrating International Day of the Girl Child by reading these 4 books on your mobile phone or tablet!