New possibilities open when high-speed internet reaches remote places in the world. For these women, it was life-changing.
Cocoa farmer Rachel Nyarkotey in Ghana
For cocoa farmer Rachel Nyarkotey in Ghana, life without internet meant learning about crop advisories and new farming methods slowly through word of mouth. The trickle of information led to less cocoa income, so she also worked long hours selling Ghanaian foods fufu and kenkey to support her family.

Photo: Richard Twumasi, Storybox Media
Petrona Cucul Tun In the highland town of Sequilá, Guatemala
In the highland town of Sequilá, Guatemala, a lack of broadband and electricity at home meant fewer economic opportunities for Petrona Cucul Tun, who had never used a computer beyond her phone.
Photo: Official-Films
Until recently, Nyarkotey and Cucul Tun were among the roughly 1.4 billion women who lack access to high-speed internet and the opportunities of a connected world.
Graph representing digital gender gap for internet usage
The digital gender gap is widest in the world’s least developed countries, where only 19% of women use internet, compared to 31% of men.
Microsoft’s Airband initiative is shrinking the gender gap by connecting thousands of women to internet in Africa, South Asia and Latin America. The goal is to bring internet access to 250 million people worldwide, including 100 million people in Africa, by the end of 2025.
Rachel Nyarkotey in Ghana
At a new computer center in rural Ghana, Nyarkotey now watches agricultural videos to increase her cocoa yield.
Photo: Richard Twumasi, Storybox Media
Rachel Nyarkotey using a computer workstation in Ghana
She shares tips with other female farmers and encourages them to learn digital skills to get training and market reports that can improve their businesses.
Photo: Richard Twumasi, Storybox Media
Photo of Nyarkotey’s daughter using a computer
Broadband also helps Nyarkotey’s daughter, Janet, left, learn new fashion designs to grow her business selling hand-beaded necklaces and accessories. “Internet is very helpful,” says Nyarkotey.

Photo: Richard Twumasi, Storybox Media
Photo of Kavita Ji in Dharamshala, India
In India, a program that gives subsidized broadband to women and women-led organizations is helping women improve their prospects for education and work.
Photo: Rohini Bassi, AirJaldi
Kavita Ji in Dharamshala, India
The program includes free tech support and digital skills training.
Photo: Rohini Bassi, AirJaldi
Kavita Ji in Dharamshala, India helping two little girls
For Kavita Ji in Dharamshala, India, the program helps her kids do homework and allows her to watch English-language movies that improve her fluency. Digital skills courses have helped her feel more independent, “connected to the world” and confident about finding a job.
Photo: Rohini Bassi, AirJaldi
Photo of Cucul Tun with a group of women
In Guatemala, Cucul Tun was able to learn computer skills at a new solar-powered digital community center through a program tailored for Indigenous women like herself.
Photo: Official-Films
Photo of Cucul Tun helping on a computer workstation
Now a digital trainer at the center, Cucul Tun has watched broadband transform her community. More women are learning digital skills, kids are doing online research for school and people no longer have to commute to a city just to get online and print a document.
Photo: Official-Films
Portrait of Cucul Tun
“My life has changed a lot,” Cucul Tun says. “I want to keep learning as much as I can.”
Photo: Official-Films

Airband’s gender equity work involves partnerships with the U.S. Agency for International DevelopmentThe Hunger Project and Bluetown in Ghana, AirJaldi in India, Anditel in Colombia, M-Kopa and Mawingu in Kenya, and New Sun Road in Guatemala. Learn more at

Story by Vanessa Ho