Digital Literacy: Over one lakh women to be trained in one year

Women entrepreneurs Digital transformation

There is no provision better than imparting digital literacy among women workforce in order to taper off the abysmal gender gap in the labour market at present.

All the gains made on account of increasing the women’s participation in the overall workforce may have been offset by the pandemic but there is a propitious way to include them in economic activities through digital literacy.

The pandemic has certainly demystified the inaccessibility of the internet among women and hence it presents an opportunity to ramp up the use of digital technology e-commerce and online learning which can enable access to markets that were previously of beyond the reach of women micro-entrepreneurs and women’s collectives.

Digital literacy is not only confined to the use of internet and digital platforms it encompasses all the skills required to get necessary information to find a job, set businesses, and join the global community.

As per India’s Fifth National Family Health Survey released in December 2020, out of total 500 million internet users in India, only 43 percent of women have ever used the internet, and for rural women that figure drops to just 34 percent.

Program “We Think Digital”, initiated by Facebook together with National Commission for Women (NCW), CyberPeace Foundation and Autobot Infosec aims at providing the digital skills to more than 100,000 women across states including, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh Assam, West Bengal Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Bihar.

In Telangana, the UNDP developed a digital platform to provide design and financial literacy training to artisans and connect them to markets for their products. As a result, 2,000 handloom weavers and artisans received training and were able to significantly expand their businesses. These are just two examples of how narrowing the digital divide can considerably improve the lives and livelihoods of vulnerable women.

A group of women entrepreneurs from Haryana was able to list their bangle-making business on Facebook helping them to vastly expand their market, recover losses they incurred as a result of COVID-19, and increase their earnings by nearly 60 percent during the festive season.

Given the vitality of providing digital literacy to tackling the digital divide and enabling women from all walks of life, the sense of freedom from online abuses is indispensable as about 60 percent of women have been at the receiving end of online abuse which also leads most women in anguish  and about 20 per cent inevitably shut down their social media account.

Cover image by UNDP

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