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Trends and factors associated with mobile phone ownership among women of reproductive age in Bangladesh
Authors: Gulam Muhammed Al Kibria and Jannatun Nayeem
Source: PLOS Global Public Health , Volume 3, Issue 5; DOI:
Topic(s): Wealth Index
Women’s empowerment
Country: Asia
Published: MAY 2023
Abstract: Despite a significant increase in mobile phone ownership over the past few decades, this remains low among women in many developing countries, including Bangladesh. This cross-sectional study analyzed Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2014 and 2017–18 data to investigate the prevalence (with 95% confidence intervals [CI]), trends, and factors associated with mobile phone ownership. We included data of 17854 and 20082 women from BDHS 2014 and BDHS 2017–18, respectively. Participants’ mean age was 30.9 (standard error [SE]: 0.09) and 31.4 (SE: 0.08) years in 2014 and 2017–18, respectively. The overall ownership was 48.1% (95% CI: 46.4%-49.9%) in 2014 and 60.1% (95% CI: 58.8%-61.4%) in 2017–18. From 2014 to 2017–18, the prevalence of mobile phone ownership increased according to most background characteristics, especially for those with lower ownership in 2014. For instance, about 25.7% (95% CI: 23.8%-27.6%) women without any formal education owned a mobile phone in 2014, the prevalence increased to 37.5% (95% CI: 35.5%-39.6%) among them in 2017–18. The following factors were associated with ownership in both surveys: age, number of children, work status, education level of women and their husbands, household wealth status, religion, and division of residence. For instance, in 2014, compared to women with no formal education, women with primary, secondary, and college/above education, respectively, had the adjusted odds ratio (AOR) of 1.8 (95% CI: 1.7–2.0), 3.2 (95% CI: 2.9–3.6), and 9.0 (95% CI: 7.4–11.0), and in 2017–18 these AORs were 1.7 (95% CI: 1.5–1.9), 2.5 (95% CI: 2.2–2.8), and 5.9 (95% CI: 5.0–7.0). The ownership of mobile phones has increased, and the socioeconomic differences in ownership have declined. However, some women groups had consistently lower ownership, especially women with low education level, low educated husbands, and low wealth status.