Google looks to empower women in India
The initiative aims to help 50 million additional women get online by end of 2014 by undertaking a variety of initiatives across India. To empower women even further, GoogleIndia has launched an initiative called'Helping women get online' that will encourage women in the country to use the online medium more effectively.
At present, only one third of users who use the Internet are women.Google realises that lack of easy access to Internet, lack of knowledge on how to use the Internet and its relevance in their daily lives are some of the biggest barriers for women to get online.The initiative aims to help 50 million additional women get online by end of 2014 by undertaking a variety of initiatives across India.
The initiative will focus on creating awareness about the benefits of Internet for women, educate women to use the Internet to improve their lives and work with partners to enable easy Internet access points for women in the country.
In the first stage of the initiative, Google will launch a mass media campaign targeted at women and promote the specially designed website www.hwgo.com which will host content covering the very basics of Internet and special content that is relevant for women in India, available both in Hindi and English.
Women can also call a toll free helpline number 1800 41 999 77 to get answers for any queries that they may have about the Internet.
Yonca Brunini, the VP for Marketing Google was optimistic about this initiative. He felt that this initiative addressed humanity's greatest challenges. The initiative was piloted at a village in Bhilwara, Rajasthan.
"With this project we successfully completed a digital literacy effort of training over 100,000 women in Bhilwara and trained them on how to use the basic applications on the Internet. The learnings from the pilot will help us to work on a framework which we will use to roll out in other parts of India. Internet as a medium can be extremely empowering for women and this is especially true for women in developing countries like India. We strongly believe that Internet can greatly benefit and transform the lives of women in India,” said Brunini.
The program is also said to be supported by Intel, HUL and Axis Bank. Intel is also launching a mobile app called “Easy Step” for women which would be available on Android playstore.The date of release for this app has not been released.
Google has also partnered with host of different companies who will create and share content relevant for Indian women on the www.hwgo.comhttp://www.hwgo.comwebsite. These partners include Johnson & Johnson, Indiatimes.com, Healthkart.com and Babyoye.com.
IMRB has also come on board as the research partner for the initiative and will help track the impact of the initiative on women in India.
The initiative could help a lot of Indian women, especially the housewives and the uneducated. With the Internet revolution underway and India's plans to overtake US in 2014 to become the second largest Internet market in the world, women empowerment through Internet is a noble and fresh idea.
The digitally literate women can bring about a lot of change in culture, thinking and social welfare.
To see some of the videos that speak about the changes this initiative has already managed to conquer, click here.
Pilot Project in Bhilwara, Rajasthan:
As part of the initiative, Google India concluded pilot program in the villages of Bhilwara in Rajasthan which covered girl students in the age group of 13 to 18, housewives and working women. Basic Internet training content was created in Hindi to help the women understand how they can use the Internet in their day to day lives. The activity panned across two and a half months covering over 300 educational institutes, 500 households, 50+ villages and the Bhilwara town. Women were trained on basic Internet applications such as search, videos and email. Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras which are government run Internet centers across Bhilwara were used for the purpose.