Barcelona 27 Feb - 2 Mar 2017

3b. Best Mobile Product, Application or Service for Women in Emerging Markets

GSMA Connected Women aims to reduce the gender gap in mobile internet and mobile money services and unlock significant commercial and socio-economic opportunities. Closing the gender gap can unlock a substantial market opportunity for the mobile industry, deliver significant socio-economic benefits and transform women’s lives. It also supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and in particular SDG 5: “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.

In today’s increasingly connected world, women are being left behind. A significant gender gap in mobile phone ownership and usage in low- and middle- income countries is hindering growth for the mobile industry and means women are missing out. GSMA’s Connected Women works with mobile operators and their partners to address the barriers to women accessing and using mobile internet and mobile money services. When women thrive, societies, businesses and economies thrive.

This Award category, for Best Mobile Product, Application or Service for Women in Emerging Markets celebrates mobile products, services, distribution models, devices, applications or other innovations and partnerships that increase digital & financial inclusion for women in low- and middle-income countries.

Entry Deadlines & Key Dates

The Deadline for entries is Wednesday 23rd November 2016
The Shortlist will be published in late January 2017
Winners will be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona 27th February – 2nd March 2017

Entry Process

Below you will find information on eligibility, criteria, supporting materials as well as the questions that you will be asked on the entry form.

Please also refer to the Rules of Entry and frequently asked questions sections for additional information. To begin your entry, click the ‘Enter Here’ button, and complete the registration information. Once underway, you can save, return to and amend your entry at any time until you formally submit.

The judges will review and score your entry on the basis of the information that you provide in answer to the questions, so please be as accurate and succinct as possible.

Note on The Importance of Video as part of your entry: While you can also add supporting materials in the form of documents, pictures and presentations within the entry form, a short video (of maximum 3 minutes) linked to your submission will help our judges significantly, in terms of visualising the use case and understanding the innovation and partner, client or user benefits.


This award is open to all organisations that provide commercially sustainable mobile products, services and applications. The subject of the entry must utilise, support, deploy or are accessible via mobile technologies based on open industry standards. Entrants must also demonstrate “Live” implementation, specifically that the entry is operating and available, or in large scale trials or pilots, during and (up to Year end) 2016.

Please provide evidence in your entry to support this such as launch or trial dates as well as evidence of scale or commercial sustainability, including details of countries or regions where it is available or a trial undertaken.

Below are some examples of organisations and entities that this category could be appropriate for, however due to the nature of this sector, it is by no means exhaustive. We very much welcome entries from partnerships or a combination of these entities.

  • Mobile network operators and their partner organisations
  • Equipment manufacturers
  • Content providers or aggregators
  • Application developers
  • Social Sector Organisations & enterprises
  • Non-governmental organizations.

Segment Background & Examples

Women in low-and middle-income countries are an estimated 14% less likely than men to own a mobile phone, which translates into approximately 200 million fewer women than men owning mobile phones. This gender gap is also more acute in certain locations and with certain segments of the population. For example, in South Asia, women are 38% less likely to own a phone than men and even less likely in rural areas. (GSMA, 2015).

However, closing this gender gap in ownership is not enough. To reap the full benefits that mobile devices have to offer, it’s important that they are used for more than just for phone calls. Our research shows that even when women own a mobile phone, they are far less likely than men to use it, especially for the more transformational services like mobile internet and mobile money.  For instance, women are 36% less likely than men to have used mobile money in the past 12 months in low- and middle- income countries (Findex 2014).

A mobile can help empower women – helping them feel more connected, safer, and with access to information and life-enhancing opportunities, such as health information, financial services and employment opportunities. Empowering women is critically important for creating positive outcomes for their families and communities. Increasing women’s ownership and use of mobile technology to match men’s is also a hugely attractive business opportunity. In fact, in low- and middle-income counties this represents an estimated cumulative revenue opportunity of $170 billion from 2015-2020 for mobile operators.

The gender gap in mobile ownership and use is fuelled by a complex set of socio-economic and cultural barriers disproportionately affecting women. Women face many barriers to owning and using mobile phones including cost, network quality and coverage, safety and harassment, technical literacy and confidence. Social norms and disparities between men and women in terms of education and income influence women’s access to and use of mobile technology, and often contribute to women experiencing barriers to mobile phone ownership and use more acutely than men. Deliberate action is needed to realize this significant socio-economic opportunity.


The judges will be looking at how well entries meet the key criteria, as follows:

  • How the offering increases women’s access and use of mobile phones, mobile internet and mobile financial services
  • Any other additional benefits to resource-poor women in low- or middle-income countries, e.g. access to finance, economic opportunity, safety and security, etc.
  • Commercial viability and sustainability
  • Clear evidence of reaching women at scale or strategy for scaling and replicating in current and future markets
  • Innovation, in particular the development and introduction of previously unavailable services and products that meet women’s needs.
  • Thoughtful design and successful implementation of approaches that increase women’s access to and use of mobile phones, mobile internet or mobile financial services, ideally by means of commercially sustainable business models. 

Supporting Materials

Enter here
You can submit additional materials to support your entry through direct upload on the entry form. Please keep supporting information submitted to a maximum of:

  • A link to one x 3 minute (maximum) video
  • Up to three x 1 page documents (word, pdf, ppt) with further information, images, graphics etc.
  • Up to three x web pages (which should be very specific to the entry) linked by URLs

Video: Please provide a URL link to your video on the entry form (e.g. via YouTube, Vimeo or other public, English language video platforms) and if required, please make sure you provide a password. Videos should ideally be in the English language or with English subtitles.

Other supporting information Documents can include data, extracts from analysts’ reports, testimonials or press articles, graphics etc. Please do make sure this supporting information is succinct and clear.

Web pages: If pointing judges to a website within your supporting materials or entry, please include a URL which is to very specific information relating to your entry, up to a maximum of three web pages, as judges will not have time to search websites looking for the pertinent information.

The on-line entry form includes an upload facility for you to provide the above links and documents. You will have the ability to upload three additional files to accompany your entry. These can be pdfs, jpegs, Word documents or PowerPoint, but please, as above, keep these relevant to your entry.

Preview of entry form questions

On the entry form, in addition to submitting contact and company information, you will be asked to answer the following questions, (Please note the maximum text length for your answers including spaces are shown in brackets below):

  1. What is the official name of your Mobile Product, Application or Service for Women in Emerging Markets? Please note that the name provided will be used in all award materials and publicity. (approx. 25 words)
  2. Is this a joint entry? If so, who are the partner organisations? (approx. 25 words)
  3. Please confirm that the subject of the entry was deployed, or will be, in “live” service or widespread trials during 2016, or will be by year end and in which markets or countries? (approx. 100 words)
  4. Please confirm that your entry utilises, supports, deploys or is accessible through mobile technologies based on open industry standards? (approx. 100 words)
  5. How is the product or service increasing women’s access and use of mobile phones, mobile internet or mobile financial services? (approx. 250 words)
  6. How does the product or service benefit resource-poor women in low- and middle-income countries, particularly women living on less than $2 per day? (approx. 250 words)
  7. How is the product or service innovative relative to those currently in the market? (approx. 250 words)
  8. How many women have benefited from the product or initiative to date?  What are your targets for number of women reached 12 months and 24 months after launch?  (approx. 250 words)
  9. How is the product commercially sustainable and scalable? What is the business model? (approx. 250 words)
  10. What marketing and distribution strategies have you employed to promote the product or service to women? (approx. 250 words)
  11. What are plans for expanding your product or service into existing or future markets? (approx. 250 words)