How Digital India Could be the Next Phase of Women’s Liberation
Blog by Binjal Shah
PM Modi inaugurated his Digital India initiative- an umbrella project proposing to take a massive bulk of operations in the country online and be a “digitally empowered knowledge economy”, to facilitate better, smoother and quicker co-ordination amongst its various agencies. And the entire country can use this model to wingman their operations.
The male population of India obviously stands to gain – digitization is an option available to all, and will augment their ideas and businesses. While it simply serves the purpose to make life easier for them, digitization might just be THE (I could’t emphasize upon it enough) answer for women shackled by restrictions and biases to break free. It shall serve as the nexus between their rawest dreams and their best possible reality.
Public discourse around Modi’s move is focusing on exploring the potential of a Digital India in general – heck, even his 10,000 strong audience is a sea of male-heads, even though the topic is of equal relevance, if not more, to aspiring women leaders.
Let me do his work for him, and take you through the myriad possibilities this developmental hypothesis holds for Indian women in varied situations, with diverse backgrounds and stories, to level the playing field for them. The medium is liberal, democratic and gender-blind. And when every industry will have migrated to the online space- they will automatically acquire those qualities from it.
Let’s say I am a housewife. My family, who I have dedicated my lifetime to serving, cannot stomach the idea that I will have another priority. My heart belongs to creating quirky things out of paper, but my life and freedom belong to another. Get me a smartphone and one good month, and I will be sitting atop a retail business started out of my own backyard.
Let’s say my ad-guru identity recently gave way to another, all-surpassing, all-encompassing one – being a mother. Attaining maternity leave itself was a almost a debacle that sends shudders down my spine; seeking time off to check on my baby seems like an impossibility. Get me a smartphone and just an inkling of empathy, and I could trick my family as well as my bosses into believing I’m putting them first.
Let’s say I’m a refugee on the run from my own family, that was too proud to let their daughter be a paltry event planner. I’d bet my bottom dollar on the internet. Give me a smartphone and a few good men. I’d have created a brand out of thin air, with a virtual workplace, and possibly a packed week lined with events.
Let’s Say I’m a city-girl who didn’t go to college, because my family needed me at the time more than my ambitions. My market value is at an all-time low because I lack a piece of paper that certifies my literary mettle. Get me a smartphone, and nothing else really- and I’ll show the global marketplace what I’m capable of in the flesh, until my work speaks for myself.
Let’s just say I’m a woman who knows there are other women in an obscure corner of a backward state, who are braving atrocities everyday that I wouldn’t be able to even once in my entire lifetime. I want to start a revolution but I’m dealing with the world’s best kept secret. Get me a smartphone, a partner to put my thoughts into words, and I can start a revolution.
Let’s just say I’m almost every woman stuck way behind the starting line, or isn’t even being given a chance to relay shoulder to shoulder with her peers because of her gender. I will use the online space as my ladder to clamber out of the pit and attain self-actualization.
Mompreneurs, Instapreneurs, bloggers, E-retailers and M-retailers are the future, and with a little help from the DigitalIndia initiative, we may not be very far from it.