Taking internet to rural women

Mumbai: Tata Sons Chairman-emeritus Ratan Tata with Rajan Anandan, Managing Director, south-east Asia and India, Google at the launch of a special programme "Internet Saathi" which aims to bring more women online in Mumbai on Friday. PTI Photo by Santosh Hirlekar (PTI7_3_2015_000061B)   | Photo Credit: PTI

In a significant initiative aimed at bridging the technology gender divide, Tata Trusts have tied up with Google to launch 'Internet Saathi’. The joint initiative announced today aims at empowering women in rural India with the power of the Internet so they may benefit from it in their daily lives.

The initiative will provide basic training on the usage and benefits of Internet for women through specially designed Internet cycle carts that will visit villages to provide easy access to women.

Speaking at the launch, Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, said, "I do not know if we understand enough the huge impact of what we are doing today. Access to the Internet has changed the way we acquire knowledge and I am delighted the prime minister has decided to give priority to India becoming a digitized nation.’’

Tata Trusts are among India’s oldest philanthropic organizations that work in several areas of community development. With their vast field-based ecosystem, Tata Trusts will manage the on-ground rollout with its partners while Google will invest in providing the Internet-enabled Carts and training content. Intel, who has been a long-term partner of Google India’s 'Helping Women Get Online’ (HWGO) initiative, will also support this initiative.

The Internet carts will be available in a village for a minimum of two days every week over a period of four to six months. Once the cart has completed the training in a cluster of three villages, it will be moved to the adjoining cluster for completion of a similar cycle.

The initiative will kick off from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh and eventually reach 4,500 villages and 500,000 women in rural communities over the next 18 months.

"While women are making rapid progress on adoption of Internet in urban areas accounting for 30 per cent of Internet users, only 12 per cent of Internet users in rural India are women,’’ Rajan Anandan, VP & MD, Google South Asia and India said.

The growth of internet users in rural India presents a skewed picture with males growing at 57 per cent and females at 27 per cent. "There have been an additional 40 million women internet users since 2013 and this will reach 50 million by October 2015. The next 100 million internet users will not be fluent in English and the fastest growing websites on the Internet today are in local languages,’’ he said.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 10:25:48 PM |

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