Close on the heels of “All Women Bank” in Mumbai, Google India launched an initiative in the country on Wednesday to bring 50 million women online by 2014, as only one-third of the country’s 200 million internet users are women.
“Lack of easy access to the internet, lack of knowledge on how to use the internet and its relevance in their daily lives are the biggest barriers for women going online,” saidÂ Google India managing director Rajan Anandan.
“Helping women get online” is an initiative that aims to overcome these barriers and empower women to improve their lives. The project has been launched in collaboration with Intel, HUL and Axis Bank.
“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 the GDP and improve their standard of living and status in the society,” added Anandan.
As a pilot project, the initiative was tested in in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district. It covered girl students in the 13-18 age group, housewives and working women. Basic training content was created in Hindi to help the trainees understand how to use the internet in their day-to-day lives.
“I am delighted to share the success of the pilot programme. We successfully trained over 100,000 women and taught them on using basic applications on the internet. The learnings from the pilot have helped work on a framework which we will use to roll it out in other parts of India,” saidÂ Google India Vice President (Marketing) Yonca Brunini.
In the first stage of the initiative, Google will launch a mass media campaign targeted at women and promote the specially designed websitewww.hwgo.com which will have content in hindi and english on internet basics and special content that is relevant for women in India.
Women will also be able to call a toll free helpline number – 1800 41 999 77 – for any queries that they may have about the internet.