Measurement of gender gap in digital literacy (primary data collection)

Section 6.2. Measurement of gender gap in digital literacy (primary data collection) suggests that countries institute a standardized indicator for measuring digital literacy. It may also be used to assess digital literacy and take specific steps to address the identified gaps. The section also reviews different ways that literacy may be measured in, provides a classification of types of digital skills, and a mention of other ways of measuring digital literacy, with their own pros and cons.

Digital literacy may be measured in different ways (see Bridging the Digital Divide: Measuring Digital Literacy, for a brief description). Van Deursen, Helsper and Eynon (2014) provide a helpful classification of types of digital skills as given below. The assessment of whether the target population has the specific skills can be done through a self-assessment questionnaire where a sample of men and women are shown statements asserting different skills and asked to rate how true the statement is for them, by choosing an option a Likert scale (see examples below). Note that this is only indicative, and there may be other ways of measuring digital literacy with their own pros and cons (see Measuring Digital skills From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes project report, for a brief discussion).


Type of skill


Examples of activities corresponding to skill type


Skills to operate digital media

Operating mobile internet:

  • I know how to connect to a WIFI network
  • I know how to download apps to my mobile device
  • I know how to turn my mobile phone off

Operating the internet environment:

  • I know how to open a new tab in my browser
  • I know how to go to the previous page when browsing the Internet
  • I know how to use the refresh function


Skills to handle special structure of digital media such as menus and hyperlinks

  • I tend to have no problems finding my way around a website
  • I know where to click to go to a different web-page


Skills to search, select and evaluate information in digital media

  • I know how to use a wide range of strategies when searching for information
  • I feel confident in my evaluation of whether a website can be trusted
  • I generally compare different websites to decide if information is true
  • I carefully consider the information I find online


Skills to employ the information contained in digital media as a means to reach a particular personal or professional goal

(Not required under this framework - can be measured by looking at sex disaggregated data of students in STEM Courses/ employed in the IT sector etc.)


Skills to construct, understand and exchange meaning with others through chat, e-mail or instant messaging

  • I know when I should and shouldn’t share information online
  • I am careful to make my comments and behaviors appropriate to the situation I find myself in online
  • I know how to change who I share content with (e.g. friends, friends of friends or public)


Skills to create content of acceptable quality (textual, music and video, photo or image etc.) to be published on the internet

  • I would feel confident putting video content I have created online
  • I would feel confident writing and commenting online
  • I know how to create something new from existing online images, music or video



Van Deursen, A., Helsper, EJ., Eynon, R. (2014). Measuring Digital Skills: From Digital Skills to Tangible Outcomes project report. London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Twente and Oxford Internet Institute. http://www.lse.ac.uk/media-and-communications/assets/documents/research/projects/disto/Measuring-Digital-Skills.pdf