Boosting women’s online education expands job opportunities and can add up to $14 billion in market value

E-Learning - Reaching Women in Emerging Markets Postcard 7.7.22 - Horizontal 1.jpg

Washington, D.C., July 11, 2022—Better access to online learning for women can boost economic opportunities for them, such as jobs and new skills, while potentially adding up to $14 billion in value to the post-secondary education market online for adults in emerging markets by 2026, according to an IFC report.

The study, Women and e-learning in emerging markets, developed in partnership with Coursera and the European Commission, reports that since the start of the pandemic, about a third of female learners surveyed in Egypt, India, Mexico and Nigeria said they had found a new job, started a business or improved their professional or business performance after taking online courses. The analysis reveals that one job is created for every 30 people trained online in these countries.

Although the pandemic has disrupted the education sector, especially in emerging economies, it has also pushed more students towards online learning. The report says the number of women enrolled in Coursera classes has increased during the pandemic and that online learning has given women and caregivers access to an education they otherwise would not have had.

Yet, in the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific, women remain the minority of online learners, as they face several challenges in turning to online education. For example, women lag behind men in access to finance and savings, which prevents them from obtaining online multidisciplinary and career development skills related to the labor market, indicates the report.

Stephanie von Friedeburg, Senior Vice President of Operations, IFC, said, “Online learning is shaping the future of education, but not everyone benefits equally. This research shows that closing the digital divide will not only benefit female learners and other underserved groups, but can pay dividends for all.”

“Ten years ago, Coursera was founded to provide universal access to world-class learning. While there is still work to be done, this report captures some of the progress we have made,” said Betty Vandenbosch, Content Manager at Coursera. “E-learning can create more opportunities for women and underserved groups by enabling them to further their education, gain job skills and access new career opportunities, unlocking economic potential. of individuals and entire populations.

The report found that virtually all learners plan to continue learning online (75%) or in a blended format (24%) after the pandemic, underscoring the importance of closing gender gaps in learning on line.

Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, said: “The report on women and e-learning in emerging markets combines several EU priorities under the Global Gateway strategy: women’s empowerment, education, digitalisation, growth and jobs, all essential for sustainable development. with partners to ensure equal opportunities for women also through e-learning, increasing their chances of having decent employment and contributing to more prosperous and peaceful societies.”

The study draws on user data from nearly 97 million Coursera learners in more than 190 countries, surveys of approximately 10,000 global learners who have taken at least one lesson on the platform, and interviews with over 70 global learners and industry experts.

To learn more about the report, please visit

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the world’s largest development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private businesses and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end poverty. extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit

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