In a majority of western countries, women have a huge web presence, using the internet to improve their lives. Not in India, where there is an enormous internet gender gap. Only one-third of India’s 200 million-plus internet users are from the fairer sex, and that’s a ratio that needs to change since the country is tipped to become the world’s second largest internet market in the future.
Some enterprising women from India have shown how they have used the internet to learn, connect with others, and change their immediate surroundings. Just consider:
Rakhi Paliwal is a young, socially conscious deputy sarpanch of the Upli-Oden panchayat, Khamnore Block in Rajasthan. She is the first woman in her community studying law and drives a motorcycle. Rakhi travels 50 kilometres every day to attend her law college in Udaipur and is determined to bring a internet revolution in her village. Today, she is active on social media, where she regularly shares her panchayat activities and hopes to create websites and connect all the panchayats in Khamnore virtually. Initially, Rakhi did not know how to use a computer but today she is able to help women to use the internet, whether it is for booking the tickets or contacting the collector's office to highlight the problems in the village.
Nisha Madhulika uses this simple and powerful tool (internet) to provide cooking tips and recipes. Through her videos on the web, one can view interesting recipes. She has used the online medium to expand her reach and today she has a identity of her own. “I use the internet to learn new recipes and share my cooking with the world,” she says.
Neela Kaushik is the driving force behind Gurgaon Moms, a website for mothers. “The idea was to create a platform that allowed women to make friends and also garner information about the city,” says Kaushik. When she moved to Gurgaon, she hardly had any friends. The need to connect with like-minded people motivated her to start the group.
As the internet becomes more powerful and accessible, the potential to use it to improve their (women) standard of living and status in the society becomes a distinct possibility. And the above examples show how women have managed to create new opportunities for themselves. Various research and studies conducted by different organisations have shown that the internet can help Indian women achieve self esteem, express their views freely, open up