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Women catching up to men in mobile Web use

The number of women using the Internet on their smart phones is fast catching up to the number of men, according to new research from Opera.

The number of women using the Internet on their smart phones is fast catching up to the number of men, according to new research from Opera, makers of the Opera Mini mobile browser.

Opera Mini is catching on with both male and female users, but the rate of increase is larger for women, according to the report. Between May 2008 and July 2010, the number of female users using Opera Mini increased by 575 per cent, while male users increased by 233 per cent.

The proportions of mobile Web users is also equalising. In 2008, 88 per cent of worldwide Opera Mini owners were men and 12 per cent were women. That's evened out -- a little -- to 77 per cent male and 23 per cent female. In the UK, 31.5 per cent of Opera Mini users are women, and 68.5 per cent are men.

The change could be due to the Web becoming a more inclusive place for all types of people, with a wider variety of sites that appeal across the sexes. The expansion of social sites such as Facebook is likely to be another force that pulls in people who may not have felt the need to log on from their phones before. 

The way we use Opera Mini could also have an effect, since it's a browser that tends to be most useful on cheaper phones. Although more women than men have bought smart phones in the last six months, according to Lady Geek, they may not have invested in iPhones and Android phones when they were targeted at geeks and early adopters.

The State of the Mobile Web report also showed that we're very trusting on the mobile Web, with 64.6 per cent of the UK having online friends they'd never met. This was actually the lowest rate of the countries looked at, but it still showed that social networking was having an impact and mobile users didn't worry too much about privacy.

With the Internet becoming a crucial part of everything from democracy to pizza, it's very positive that access to the mobile Web is evening out.

Are you feeling a newfound need to log on, or is gender just a social construct that gets in the way of your World of Warcraft? Let us know in the comments.