53 per cent women aware of mobile internet compared to 19 per cent in 2017

reliance foundation, india, usaid, women, mobile internet, womenconnect challenge india

Mobile internet awareness amongst women has been steadily increasing from just 19% in 2017 to 53% in 2020, as per a joint study by by Reliance Foundation and the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID).

The study highlighted that more women own mobile phones now than earlier.

“While in 2017, only 19% of women in India were aware of mobile internet; in 2020, this increased to 53%. In terms of ownership, 67% of women own a mobile phone compared to 79% men,” said the two organisations said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

It added that Reliance Jio, India’s largest telco, counts 120 million women users, and “the number is growing rapidly to bridge the digital divide.” The telco had over 443 million users as July end, as per the telecom regulator.

Reliance Foundation and USAID have invested Rs 11 crores to reduce the gender digital divide and of this, Reliance Foundation has put in Rs 8.5 crore in grants for projects for creating innovative solutions to address the issue

According to this initiative, 10 organizations across India have been selected as grantees through the WomenConnect Challenge India, which will look at solutions to close the digital divide.

“Through Jio, we have been providing affordable connectivity across the length and breadth of our country. Reliance Foundation has also been working in partnership with USAID towards bridging the gender digital divide in India. Technology is a powerful means to address and eliminate inequality”, said Nita M Ambani, Founder-Chairperson, Reliance Foundation.

Over three lakh women and girls across 17 states will benefit from initiatives to close the gender digital divide and increase women’s economic empowerment through technology, the statement added.

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