Belfast Telegraph

Two million older women offline

By Ella Pickover

Around two million elderly women are missing out on the benefits of being online, a charity has warned.

More must be done to help older people to get access to the internet, Age UK said.

The call comes after figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that older women are the least likely group in society to use the internet.

Whether for shopping, banking or catching up with news, just a quarter (26%) of women aged 75 and over have been online, the ONS data revealed last week.

This compared to 41% of men in the same age group.

The figures also showed that 7.1 million adults in the UK have never been online - 45% of whom are over the age of 75.

Age UK estimates that two million of these people are women in this age bracket.

The charity said separate research has found that older people who are offline are twice as likely to say they are lonely compared to those who are internet-enabled.

"More than any group of people, older women risk being marginalised by not being online," said Age UK's charity director general Michelle Mitchell.

"Nearly two million women aged 75 and over, many of whom admit to feeling lonely, have never been online and are missing out on the benefits of using the internet.

"Learning internet skills is a process which for most starts with staying in touch with family and friends.

"The Government and businesses stand to gain greatly from more services moving online as their operating costs are reduced. If they want older people, particularly older women, to engage with their services online, it is right that they should help them to get online in the first place."

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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