Internet has revolutionised technology and communication like never before. With a worldwide broadcasting capability, it has transformed the lives of billions of people, especially women. It’s a vital link to ideas, opportunities and resources. It also paves the way for women all over the world to imagine new possibilities and make them happen.
Despite its advantages, internet is unsafe for women. From privacy data breach to gender-based hate speech to sexual harassment, women continue to face abuse online. There has to be a necessary system to ensure safety.
Online and enabled: How the internet empowers women
Digital entrepreneurship is one of the most beneficial outcomes of internet in this day and age. Women are responsibly implementing the use of communication, research and media online. Apart from efficiency and time-saving, a huge amount of information is available — ranging from law, market information, ideas and technical support. An empowering factor is its reach. From busy mothers to those monetarily challenged, internet provides a way for many to expand their education. It increases social participation, connecting women with like-minded people.
Like the real world, the internet can be an ugly place for women. But it also gives us a powerful tool for firing back. The #MeToo campaign showed how women can use the internet to fight back and raise their voices and concerns. Also, initiatives like Internet Saathi aim to empower women in rural India with the power of the Internet, so they may benefit from it in their daily lives.
Why fostering a safer internet for women is important
An unfortunate number of women are becoming victims of cyber crimes. The growing reach of Internet sometimes puts women at risk, so it’s important to be mindful of the dangers. Working together to generate new discussions and interventions can help make the internet a more inclusive and welcoming space. Freedom is necessary and so is protection. Ensuring a law-enforcement system that is going to assist and bring safety back is the need of the hour.
Trust your instincts: Sometimes, online safety comes down to a gut check. No one knows your situation better than you do. Instant/Text Messaging (IM) is not a safe or confidential way to discuss danger or abuse. Instead, resort to a better and safer approach.
Women should have the freedom to do what they want, without being harassed
Just like all other technological advancements, it is still a matter of debate as whether Internet is a boon or a bane. The extent of its use and abuse is also upon us. Not the internet itself, but rather it is the content of media available online which can be demeaning towards women. There is a need to approach a middle path wherein, awareness concerning both — its harmful effects and potential — is realised, acknowledged and worked upon in a more constructive manner.