From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Nothing much
Mains level : Gender Digital Divide
India’s digital divide between men and women is huge.
- At a recent session at the Indian Mobile Congress, it was pointed out that only 35% of Indian women have access to the internet.
- According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India, male users account for 67% of India’s online population; women account for just 29%.
- A large proportion of Indian women remain cut off from the world’s most significant phenomenon of recent decades.
- The Internet has become a great enabler. The gap is not just socially appalling, it is also terrible for the country’s economic prospects.
- According to GSMA’s The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2019, closing the gender gap in mobile internet use in developing countries could add $700 billion to their combined economy over the next five years.
Internet as an enabler
- The impact isn’t just about money but also the empowerment of women through information.
- Those who have the means to cross-check assertions made in social settings are that much more likely to exercise greater agency in their lives.
- Greater female presence online could also make the internet a nicer place, given the bad civic sense—trolls, fake news, and various misdeeds—that prevails in large parts of cyberspace.
The divide may mirror India’s structural inequities. A failure to address the gap will hurt us all.