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Mobile web use among women is rising faster than men, according to figures from web browser developer Opera.

A study of Opera Mini users revealed a 575 per cent increase in the number of women browsing the internet on their mobiles. This is more than twice the 223 per cent growth measured amongst men.

When comparing the gender share of the mobile browsing market on an international basis, it is South Africa wherein the largest proportion of users are female, whilst the UK sits in fourth place on this particular measure.

In India, the scales are tipped in the other direction, with just four per cent of mobile web users being women.

Opera has measured an ongoing uptake in mobile web usage because of increased public awareness as to the capabilities of modern mobile phones. It lists word of mouth, media coverage and advertising campaigns as key to further increasing usage.

Whilst men are drawn to mobile internet use by improved phone hardware, it is the birth of the app market that has pulled in a female crowd, according to Gartner's Roberta Cozza.

Other mobile features with a feminine appeal are social networking and location-based services, both of which are making smartphones more attractive.

The distribution of the user base associated with mobile internet access is still heavily weighted towards males, as 77 per cent of users are men and just 23 per cent are women. In 2008 the split was 88-12, which Opera sees as indicating a significant demographic change.

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