Google India aims to create awareness about the benefits of internet for women and empower them through digital literacy initiative.
With over 200 million Internet users in the country and growing, India is on its way to become the second largest Internet market in the world overtaking US. But only one third of India’s online users are women. Internet can play a very important role in empowering women in India and help them to transform their lives.
Research and studies conducted by various organisations prove that Internet can help Indian women overcome many challenges. It can help women achieve self esteem, express their views freely, open up new opportunities and help them to gain education. On the macro level, these benefits can translate into lowering maternal and infant mortality rates, uplift in GDP of the country and improve their standard of living and status in the society.
“With this initiative we are aiming to help 50 million additional women to get online by end of 2014 by undertaking a variety of initiatives across India. We have already seen many cases of women benefiting greatly by using the Internet and we are really delighted to partner with leading brands in the country to join us in this ambitious project.” said Rajan Anandan, MD and VP Sales & Operations for Google 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 will also be able to 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 – Global lead, Tech For Good and VP, Marketing Google said, “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.”
The program will be supported by Intel, HUL and Axis Bank who have committed to drive this initiative through the joint outreach efforts including Internet training in their digital literacy efforts. Intel is also launching a mobile app called “Easy Step” for women which would be available on Android playstore.
Debjani Ghosh, Managing Director- Sales and Marketing group, Intel South Asia says, “As part of our National Digital Literacy Mission, Intel has been working with the government to enhance technology adoption and digital literacy for boosting productivity and impacting livelihoods in a phased manner across the country.”
Google has also partnered with host of different companies who will create and share content relevant for Indian women on the www.hwgo.com website. 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.