Google has launched an initiative called “Helping Women Get Online” in a quest to bring over 50 million Indian women online by end of 2014.
This initiative has been launched by Google India in partnership with Intel, HUL, Future Group & Axis Bank and aims to raise awareness about the benefits of Internet for women and empower them through digital literacy initiative.
Among the active internet population in India, only about 30 percent constitute women. The HWGO initiative aims to bring balance in Indian online space by educating and empowering them. For this purpose, a new website – http://www.hwgo.com – has been launched.
The website is essentially collation of relevant content which will serve as an important information source for these women. Google has also partnered with Johnson & Johnson, Indiatimes, Healthkart, Babyoye and others to create women centric content for the website.
Along with creation of website, an internet Toll Free Helpline number, 1800 41 999 77 has been allotted, where women can call to get guidance if they get stuck on the Internet. Google also plans to launch a mass media campaign through various online and offline channels to create awareness about the site and toll free number.
Currently, hwgo website features articles and how-to guides on Computer basics, Internet skills, chat & email etc. The site has information resources on childcare, cooking/recipe, financial and household activities. It also showcases videos on women who have been successful on the internet.
There is no doubt that India has far less percentage of women on internet than most of the other countries in the world. HWGO site can be of great help as long as awareness of site is spread through offline mediums like television and print ads.
Though the initiative is great, we think that the initiative might meet limited success – The reason being lack of proper internet infrastructure in India. Though HWGO site provides great information, getting on internet itself may be a major hassle for majority of women, especially housewives.
In past couple of years, Google has launched various initiative with the aim of bringing businesses and people online. They have been moderately successful in their quest as well. We will need to wait and see if HWGO initiative meets some kind of success too!
What is your opinion?