Women, want to feel safe online? Then join NCW-Facebook’s ‘Digital Literacy Programme’
New Delhi, June 1: At a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to turn the country "Digital India", only 30 per cent of the internet users are women. The figure released by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and Kantar IMRB earlier this year is not a good news for the female population of the country as a very small portion of them have access to internet or others don't use them for various reasons.
According to experts, more women are victims of bullying, harassment and cyber crimes which deter them from accessing the internet.
In order to make right use of the internet and feel women safe online, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has collaborated with Facebook.
The NCW, Facebook and a civil society group have launched the "Digital Literacy Programme" to provide training to women in universities in several major cities in India on safe and responsible use of the internet and social media.
As a part of the initiative launched by the NCW, Facebook and Cyber Peace Foundation, training and awareness programme will be conducted for 60,000 women in universities across Haryana, Delhi-NCR, Manipur, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu, on a pilot basis.
The interactive sessions will provide training on safe and responsible use of the internet, social media and email, and will enable trainees to differentiate between credible and questionable information. The training will be conducted in local languages.
"In today's internet age, women have the freedom to express themselves and participate in society like never before. However, with more women going online, the NCW has witnessed a surge in cyber crime related complaints registered at the commission in the past three years and this trend is worrisome," NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma said.
"We have to ensure that while online, they feel safe and secure on the internet," she said. President of Cyber Peace Foundation Vineet Kumar said women are especially vulnerable to cyber crimes, false news, hate speech and other forms of cyber bullying which can have a disastrous effect on them.
Ankhi Das, Public Policy director--India, South and Central Asia--Facebook, said "Economies can only grow well with equal participation from women and in today's age, this can largely happen with the free and unhindered presence of women on the internet."
"This naturally calls for the protection of women when they are online in a manner which reassures and enables them to freely express themselves and share their views," Das said.
Welcoming the initiative, Paula Khar, a college-goer in Meghalaya, said, "The online world is a reflection of our society. Women are generally not safe anywhere. They need to guard themselves all the time. It is good to be well-informed about the use of the internet before being a regular user of various online platforms."