Facebook and the Missing Women

Mar 09, 2011

Want to know how equal the sexes are in a country? Just look at Facebook’s user data, says Indian blogger M S Kiran.

One of the targets of the internationally-agreed Millennium Development Goals (MDG) is to increase internet users per 100 population. However, it’s a challenge to get the gender ratio of internet users for each country.

One solution – look at the user data for Facebook, the most popular online social network that has over 585 million users worldwide.

The tables below show the Facebook male-female ratio for selected countries (based on their ranking by various bodies).

The World Economic Forum does an annual gender index, and these are the top 10 countries on that index:


The Nordic countries – Iceland, Norway, Finland, Sweden - are well known for gender equality. And this is reflected in their use of Facebook, which is male 48.4 percent; female 51.6 percent. Meanwhile, India is 112 on the WEF gender index ranking, and unsurprisingly India’s Facebook male-female user ratio is 71:29.

On the UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index, the top ten developing countries also show a fairly balanced male-female Facebook user ratio.


Finally, using the World Bank’s data on gender equality, the countries in the lowest percentile show a similar imbalance in the ratio of male to female FB users:



Perhaps we can add a new category in the social stratification of a country – its “digitally missing women”.


NOTE: Check your country's Facebook gender ratio at http://www.facebook.com/socialbakers#!/socialbakers?sk=app_365436848756


This post was originally published on Back Bench in December 2010.

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