It’s time for a change to the ‘empowerment’ conversation towards creating sustainable gender equality. The concept of women’s empowerment needs an immediate and urgent rescue from the clutches of the would-be saviors. At the heart of women’s empowerment lies the demand for a more robust global sisterhood and not limiting choices to sewing machines.
Let’s talk about some recent stats first -
About 29 percent of India’s internet users are women.
While 43% of Indian men own a mobile phone, women are with only about 28% mobile ownership.
Only 63% of girls who do two hours of housework a day are likely to finish school compared to 84% boys.
According to reports, it noted that women who are online are relatively more affluent and younger—75% are in the 15-34 age group, with over 24 million women accessing the Internet daily.
Gender inequity in secondary education, also finds that the engagement of girls in domestic chores is the largest contributor to a gender gap in secondary education. This is where the need to bridge the digital gender gap and isolated technical solutions may be inadequate to address the social and cultural roots of India’s digital gender divide. Focus on improving access to internet services by upgrading the spectrum of digital is the need of the hour, followed by programs for digital skilling.
The digital divide is not simply a question of access to digital technologies but about the capacity to make meaningful use of the access to technology. The need is to reinforce the ‘inadequacy’ of a digital skilling approach alone. Therefore, unless digital skilling programs are engraved within a broader education curriculum, they will create a generation of young people that are essentially only application operators, capable of specific tasks; not informed or empowered individuals capable of navigating and challenging deeply entrenched social customs and norms.
For instance - we may have a laptop or desktop at home which is redundant in terms of technology but works, how many of us would give it to our domestic help for free? And also encourage and help them to learn the basics?
Hence, for Women’s Internet to nurture, Digital Skilling at all levels is the first step towards the same with each one of us helping more and more individuals having a sense of accountability for the same. It is individual to society before society to an individual.
At our upcoming event on November 24, 2017, #TheSHIFT* by SHEROES, we deconstruct the new narrative around Women’s Internet, along with the best minds from the marketing and advertising world. An event of high energy, no-filter conversations, and deliberations, #TheSHIFT Series will raise important questions around this theme. Get more details on the event here.
* This is an exclusive, by-invite-only event.