In Pakistan, Social Media Usage is Male Dominated, Females Lag Behind (Infographics)

Socializing isn’t all that Pakistanis do online. They are using digital technologies to make money and contribute to the country’s foreign reserves. An April 2017 report noted that online freelancing in Pakistan has grown to $1 billion.
(BE2C2) — The latest digital ecosystem report by ‘We Are Social and ‘Hootsuite’ reveals some fascinating insights about Pakistan’s internet usage statistics, financial inclusion, annual digital growth, and key indicators like active social media users, gender usages gaps, etc.

According to the report, the active number of Facebook users in the country stood at 35 million at end of January 2018, a 13 percent rise from the same period last year and is almost equal to the 35 million active social media users among the 199 million population.

The percentage of users declared as male on Facebook stood at 77 compared to a figure of 23 percent for females, the report reveals.

This may not be an accurate indicator to gauge Facebook usage by gender breakdown, however, it does disclose that the mainstream adoption of social media by females remains severely hampered in the country.

In a comment to local daily Pakistan Today, Faiza Yousaf, Founder – WomenInTechPK and Chief Consultant Outtabox, said, “The reason behind women using less social media is that a lot of them are not financially independent and owning a smartphone requires money and in a lot of cases permission is needed from the men in the house.

“Women are also restricted to use social media by males in the family due to fear of harassment and in some cases religious/cultural reasons” and social habits, attitudes.

These is a huge percentage of women using shared accounts with their husbands just because they don’t feel like revealing their identity online, Faiza added.

Also, the percentage of users accessing Facebook via mobile was recorded at 91% for Pakistan.

The breakup of users in the age bracket of 13-17 stood at 4 million with females comprising 3 percent and male’s 9 percent.

For the age bracket 18-24, female users shot up to 11 percent and male usage rose to 31 percent, indicating this segment of the population was using Facebook the most and were the most tech savvy of the lot.

For 25-34 age bracket, the user base stood at 11 million with females constituting 7 percent and males once again dominating this segment again.

With age brackets increasing, the percentage of female and male users using social media exhibited a significant decline with the number of users falling from 3,300,000 in 35-44 segment to a paltry 290,000 for people aged 65 and above for both genders.

A trend of major decline in Facebook usage for people in the age bracket of 35-44 is quite astonishing but is indicative of this segment of the population being still technology averse.

Socializing isn’t all that Pakistanis do online. They are using digital technologies to make money and contribute to the country’s foreign reserves. An April 2017 report noted that online freelancing in Pakistan has grown to $1 billion.

Instagram usage statistics from the report reveals the total number of active users on the network stands at 5.20 million and active Instagram users as a percentage of the total population were recorded at 3 percent.

A significant disparity once again arises in the male vs female demographics of users on Instagram. The report reveals 69 percent of users were males and 31 percent users were females.

Also, from the figures available for both Facebook and Instagram it reveals that the latter is preferred medium of social media usage for females with the male gender dominating both.

The “financial inclusion factors” section takes into consideration the percentage of the population aged 15+ that reports owning or using each financial product or service.

As per the breakdown in this section, people with a bank account stand at 13 percent and those having a credit card was an abysmal 0.1 percent.

And people making or receiving mobile payments via GSMA stood at 6 percent, with those making online purchases or paying online bills was recorded at a meager 2 percent.

The percentage of men and women having a credit card is extremely low– it was recorded at 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent respectively– however, still the gender disparity is significant.

Percentage of both genders making internet payments stood at 0.4 percent for females and 3 percent for males respectively.

The low percentage of financial inclusivity is something that has also been acknowledged by the State Bank of Pakistan, for which a National Financial Inclusion Strategy was formally launched and adopted by the government in May 2015.

But the statistics provided in the report could be inaccurate since the figures provided are based on World Bank Global Financial Inclusion Data 2015, which is almost three years old.

The report says 5 billion people globally are now using a mobile phone and 6 in 10 users own a smartphone.

Interestingly, mobile keeps on increasing its share of social media usage with reportedly 389 million people using social media via mobile for first three months of Jan-March 2018.

In Pakistan, nearly 110m of the population are mobile users– 55% of the total population of 199 million. Its goal is to increase to 62 percent by 2020.

According to a report by Telenor, to realize a digital Pakistan, close coordination is required between government, the private sector, academia and civil society. Together they can expand connectivity and build innovation centers to support Pakistan’s transition to the digital economy. Aligning government policies and regulations, private investment, academic know-how and civil society activism for digitalization to benefit all, is the biggest challenge Pakistan faces in achieving its Vision 2025.

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