Bucking the perception of the internet as a male-dominated world, a study released this week found more women than men are going online in the United States.
An estimated 97.2 million females aged 3 and older will be online in 2007, or 51.7 per cent of the total online population in the U.S., according to a report by eMarketer.
The report, Women Online: Taking a New Look, suggests female internet usage has been ahead of male usage for some time. But now, eMarketer said, other researchers such as comScore Media Matrix, Arbitron and Edison Media Research support the same conclusion.
According to eMarketer, female usage of the internet in the U.S. has risen 12.4 per cent since 2000, compared with 3.2 per cent for males. In 2011, 109.7 million U.S. females are projected to be online, amounting to 51.9 per cent of the online population.
However, women don't appear to be as enamoured of online video as their male counterparts, the study found. Only 66 per cent of the estimated 97.2 million females online watch videos, compared with 78 per cent of the 90.9 million men.
The author of the eMarketer report said the change in demographics could affect trends in content and usage of the web.
"For girls who have grown up with technology, there is no significant gender gap in internet usage," said eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson. "The rise of activities that are particularly appealing to young females, such as social networking, will result in even greater usage."
Studies that look at only adult populations still find more men online than women in the U.S.
The Pew Internet & American Life Project from April 2006 reported 74 per cent of adult males in the U.S. were online, compared with 71 per cent of women.
A Statistics Canada study of adults conducted in 2005 found a minuscule difference in usage between the sexes, with 68 per cent of men versus 67.8 per cent of women counting as internet users.