- Reports originating in the newspapers about the National Family Health Survey being carried out for the first time asking respondents whether they have ever used the internet, and with data from the first phase of this fifth edition in, starkly showcases that we as a nation has a long way to traverse before the last man standing accesses citizenship. Make no mistake, the way the digital world has evolved and will further evolve perpetually due to its dynamic nature demands all of us citizens embrace the technology wholeheartedly that offers so much and more.
PC: Utpal Baruah
- The pandemic induced lockdowns brought forth the indispensability of the online platforms where the internet and internet of things alongside the digital world seamlessly succeeded in bridging the palpable gaps so admirably. The adversarial impact on the running of many countries was minimized largely owing to the power of the virtual world. Of course, people inhabiting rural areas and those deprived/disadvantaged lot might question the efficacy of digital dependency since it was inaccessible to them.
- However, wherever the internet accessibility was available, the data alerts us to the need for finding ways to ensure the existing inequalities do not get multiplied in the due process going ahead. As the internet infrastructure will expand keeping in line with the growing demand for the medium, including in public institutions such as schools, it is imperative to bring on board all requisite paraphernalia on a war footing. Most importantly, plug the unhealthy gap between both genders to ensure a level playing field.
PC: Calleah Fulkerson
- Going by the reports and not surprisingly, the state of Bihar is the worst performer in this metric with only 43.6% of men ever having used the internet, but at 20.6% women are much further behind in the usage. Surprisingly, in more prosperous and tech-savvy Karnataka, widely considered as the home of India’s Information Technology capital, with only 62.4% of men and 35% women ever having used the internet, it may be noted that the overall access though appears better, the gender divide is still entrenched beyond acceptable limits.
- Sample data mined from these two states are quite evident that women are trailing behind in the digital revolution globally in comparison which has mounting social and economic costs getting accentuated as the gender division keeps widening if not addressed forthwith. The world has come to accept the elementary reality of the power and reach of the internet and smartphones representing no less than leapfrog opportunities for prosperity as well as modernity. Failing to embrace the revolutionary trend will be a great fallacy.
PC: Azza El Masri
- It is evident from the above that unequal access to digital technology-driven innovations darkens prospects exponentially. Thus, It is worth recollecting and reiterating to emphasize educating a woman which is akin to educating a family itself, especially those semi-urban and rural landscape, where women continue to be deprived of online opportunities. Make no mistake, if women are kept offline then it will inevitably prove to be rubbish for everyone.