Google India's latest initiative, 'Help Women Get Online', aims to help women to understand internet in a more profound way and attempts to spread digital literacy to bring more women online.
The site will be available both in Hindi and English. It includes interactive videos on how to switch on/off/restart the computer, adjust colour, brightness, volume, see a person using the webcam, change time, move files from one location to another, change the look of the desktop and copy-paste data. It also has success stories of some women who have benefitted from the use of internet.
It has also partnered with a host of different companies who will create and share content relevant for Indian women on the website. These partners include Johnson & Johnson, Indiatimes.com, Healthkart.com and Babyoye.com.
IMRB has also come on board as the research partner for the initiative and will help track the impact of the initiative on women in India.
Women can also call a toll free helpline, 1800 41 999 77, to get answers for queries on the topic.
Rajan Anandan, managing director and vice-president, sales and operations, Google India, says, "Lack of easy access to internet, lack of knowledge on how to use the internet and its relevance in their daily lives are the biggest barriers for women to get online. 'Helping women get online' is an initiative that aims to overcome these barriers and empower women to improve their lives. With this initiative we are aiming to help 50 million additional women to get online by the end of 2014 by undertaking a variety of initiatives across India. We have already seen many cases of women benefiting greatly by using the internet and we are really delighted to partner with leading brands in the country to join us in this ambitious project."
As part of the initiative, Google India recently concluded a pilot programme on digital literacy in the villages of Bhilwara in Rajasthan, which covered girl students in the age group of 13-18 years, housewives and working women. Women were trained on basic internet applications such as search, videos and email. The training content was created in Hindi to help the women understand how they can use the internet in their day to day lives.
The activity panned across two and a half months and covered more than 300 educational institutes, 500 households, 50+ villages and Bhilwara town. Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras, which are government run internet centres across Bhilwara, were used for the purpose.
Google India plans to implement the pilot across other villages, districts and towns in the country to help women in rural areas get online. It was done in association with several other stakeholders of the society.
Yonca Brunini, global lead, Tech For Good and VP, marketing, Google, says, "We are very excited to launch this first of its kind campaign in India. At Google, we want to contribute our knowledge and skills to help use technology to address humanity's greatest challenges. I am delighted to share the success of a pilot programme that was carried out by us at a village in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. Internet as a medium can be extremely empowering for women and this is especially true for women in developing countries like India. We strongly believe that internet can greatly benefit and transform the lives of women in India."
According to several reports, with over 200 million internet users in India and growing, the country is on its way to become the second largest internet market in the world overtaking the US. But only one third of India's online users are women. Internet can play a very important role in empowering women in India and help them to transform their lives.
Google India has partnered with Intel, HUL and Axis Bank for this campaign. Intel is also launching a mobile app called "Easy Step" for women which would be available on Android play store.
Debjani Ghosh, MD, sales and marketing group, Intel South Asia, says, "As part of our National Digital Literacy Mission, Intel has been working with the government to enhance technology adoption and digital literacy for boosting productivity and impacting livelihoods in a phased manner across the country. We are extremely encouraged by the findings of the first phase of the programme, where we saw over 52 per cent women participants and it was heartening to see them use the newly acquired knowledge and skills to better support their families."
Hemant Bakshi, executive director, home and personal care, Hindustan Unilever, says, "At HUL we give high priority to improving the lives of our consumers. We believe that the host of information a woman can get because of access to the internet can help improve her life in many ways."
On the occasion of the launch, Manisha Lath Gupta, EVP and head, marketing, retail liabilities and electronic banking group, Axis Bank, says, "Axis Bank's brand philosophy is that of a 'Partner in Progress'. Progress is what we stand for and believe in Google's 'Help Women Get Online' is a unique initiative that is aimed at empowering women and thereby contributing to the progress of society as a whole."
Google recently launched a TVC that seamlessly integrated its products into the storyline.