Ericsson employs mobile solutions to improve women's health, education and socioeconomic status

Press release
Mar 07, 2008 10:29 (GMT +00:00)
In support of International Women's Day 2008, Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) today announced its continuing commitment to women's health and to raising their socioeconomic status around the world with initiatives employing mobile telephony and high-speed mobile-broadband Internet access.

Ericsson furthers its ongoing commitment to human rights, including gender equality, through its work with organizations such as the Business Leaders Initiative on Human Rights (BLIHR).

Ericsson is developing the use of mobile technology as a way of strengthening human rights (such as the right to health, the right to education, and the right to safety and security), particularly in emerging markets.

Elaine Weidman-Grunewald, Director of Corporate Responsibility at Ericsson, says: "December 2008 marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Ericsson has pledged to help raise awareness of this important anniversary throughout the year. Ericsson is also supporting the campaign of the Elders, Every Human Has Rights.

"Around the world, Ericsson's telecommunications solutions are supporting initiatives that raise women's standards of living and provide them with meaningful socioeconomic benefits," Weidman-Grunewald says.

Australian operator Telstra is supporting BreastScreen Victoria with an integrated mobile-broadband solution employing Ericsson's end-to-end HSPA/WCDMA solution. BreastScreen Victoria is part of the national breast cancer screening program inviting women aged 50 to 69 to have free screening mammograms every two years. BreastScreen Victoria aims to reduce deaths from breast cancer through early detection of the disease.

As part of BreastScreen Victoria's Rural Broadband Digital Mammography Project, one of two mobile screening units is using Telstra's Next G(TM) mobile broadband network to transmit digital mammography images from rural Victoria to radiologists in assessment centres around the State for analysis. The combination of the latest digital mammography equipment and the connectivity provided by the Telstra Next G(TM) network is bringing the highest quality BreastScreen Victoria services to rural and regional women close to home and at no cost to them.

The Gramjyoti Rural Broadband Project in India brought high-speed internet access based on WCDMA/HSPA technology to 18 villages and 15 towns in the state of Tamil Nadu. The pilot project enabled online access to a variety of local information and specialized services such as telemedicine, voice/video call services, and e-governance. Using telemedicine, women were able to easily and regularly have themselves examined medically. They could also get periodic checkups done for their children. This real time, online process eliminated the need for long-distance travel. Other services included an online facility that allowed registration of a birth of a child, ensuring eligibility for health and education services.

Using the e-government services, women could also access documents, such as election-card and ration-card application forms, and carry out online search for employment opportunities.

"This initiative highlights the role of telecoms in bridging the digital divide," Weidman-Grunewald says. "Technology can be a major catalyst for social and economic empowerment for women, improving their quality of life by supporting access to vital services."

The Grameen Telecom Village Phone Project provides economic empowerment to Bangladeshi women, offering them a way to earn four times the nation's average per-capita income by becoming mobile-phone entrepreneurs in their local villages.

Grameen "phone ladies" take out loans for the equipment and repay them with the money they earn from charging villagers for phone services. The women rent phones, take calls and pass on messages. Telephony services also provide villagers with a vital link to emergency services, healthcare and agricultural market information, and help them stay in touch with family and friends.

"The Grameen initiative is an example of how mobile telecommunications create local microeconomic opportunities for women," Weidman-Grunewald says. "Mobile telephony sets in motion a ripple effect, which can help start a series of businesses, and in turn boost a community's overall economic prosperity.

"Ericsson believes that telecommunications can be a powerful enabler of women's social and economic development. As one of the world's largest providers of communications equipment and services, we can play a vital role in this process."

Notes to editors:

Ericsson pioneers WCDMA/HSPA ecosystem pilot in rural India

Read more about Gramjyoti project in India here:

You can find an article about phone lady "Village phones save lives" in Telecom report archive August, 2004.
Read more about BLIHR here:

Ericsson is the world's leading provider of technology and services to telecom operators. The market leader in 2G and 3G mobile technologies, Ericsson supplies communications services and manages networks that serve more than 185 million subscribers. The company's portfolio comprises mobile and fixed network infrastructure, and broadband and multimedia solutions for operators, enterprises and developers. The Sony Ericsson joint venture provides consumers with feature-rich personal mobile devices.
Ericsson is advancing its vision of 'communication for all' through innovation, technology, and sustainable business solutions. Working in 175 countries, more than 70,000 employees generated revenue of USD 27.9 billion (SEK 188 billion) in 2007. Founded in 1876 and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, Ericsson is listed on the Stockholm, London and NASDAQ stock exchanges.
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