In this age of Information Technology, the importance of the Internet as a source of knowledge cannot be emphasized enough. Especially, at a time when the new government under PM Modi has promised to make India a technologically savvy nation through the Digital India initiative, this is a very relevant issue. The Net, which has been instrumental in the advent of human civilization, is now poised to become the crux of women’s emancipation.
Education is an important tool in empowering women in a society. Education leads to career and financial independence for women. The Internet, which is a repository of knowledge, is an important tool which women can use to arm them with knowledge and update themselves on current affairs and latest developments in science, technology, art and literature.
Let’s have a brief look at the various ways in which women can, and have, used the Internet to emancipate themselves.
- Research : With search engines like Google at hand, all information there has to be had on a topic can be accessed within seconds. Just typing some words into the search engine can produce thousands of related results. Women are pursuing breakthrough research in various disciplines because they can access papers and newspaper articles through various databases. Especially in scientific fields like pharmacy, women are amassing knowledge for their Master and Doctoral dissertations. Databases like Pubmed, Scopus, Cochrane and IDIS have huge databases of scientific papers and publications which can be accessed readily. Most science journals have also gone digital, enabling women scientists to access the latest research findings at the click of a key.
- Online businesses : Women entrepreneurs are slowly taking to the Net to start their business ventures. Cover designers, freelance content writers, bloggers, web designers, fashion designers, stylists, photographers and other professionals are going online to spread awareness about their venture and get and interact with potential clients. Women are even starting match matchmaking websites, feminist websites, book review websites and online literary magazines. Even for physical ventures like bakeries, cafes and restaurants, all women have to do is create social media pages for the business. Women bloggers who allow ads on their blogs are even paid money by companies for placing their ads. Websites like LinkedIn, where professionals can upload resumes, has made it easier for women to network, find jobs and build careers.
- Work-from-home : Since the Net has enabled computers to be connected both nationally and internationally, a lot of women are taking up jobs of a nature where they can work from home. Content writers and freelance journalists in all fields can interact with employers and clients through e-mails, Skype and other online tools of communication. The same is possible in a lot of other fields as well- like the share market and other commercial ventures.
- Social media: Women are expressing themselves through social media in a productive manner today. By creating accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc. women are opening up about themselves to the world. Women journalists, scientists, economists, professors and other academics are sharing their work and opinions through social networking. Social media is also enabling women authors to raise relevant issues, promote their books and be the moderators of public opinion on important social topics.