In India, only 24% of Facebook users are women

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Only 24% of Facebook users in India are female. This skewed gender ratio on the social networking site falls in line with most other trends of internet usage in the country . Experts say this only illustrates the barriers women in India face in accessing technology and information.
Just last year, Facebook touched 125 million users in India, making it the social networking giant’s second largest market globally.Analysing the Menlo Parkbased company’s own reported data for the third quarter of 2016, Singaporebased analytics firm We Are Social found that in India, men made up an overwhelming 76% of the user base. Its report, titled Digital in APAC 2016, says that the overall social media usage in the country has grown by 23% since March 2015.
A look at some of the older data released by differ ent agencies reveals that the online gender gap has been consistent. In March 2016, a report from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) found that females made up only 35% of the mobile internet user base in India. In a report released June 2016, the GSM Association a global association of mobile operators found Indian males to be 62% more likely to be internet users than females.

“Women got left behind in the education revolution, the industrial revolution, and now we see that happening in the digital revolution,” says Centre for Social Research director Ranjana Kumari. Preferential treatment for sons and male children shows up here as well, she points out. “If a family has to choose between giving a phone to a male and a female child, the boy gets it.Parents discourage girls from using the Internet.This way, one of the most creative and democratic spaces is being taken away from them,” she says.
In February this year, Suraj village in Gujarat’s Mehsana district and Basauli village UP’s in Gonda block banned mobile phones for women. In 2014, a Muzaffarnagar khap panchayat applied the same rules for the 46 villages under it. Their reason? It leads to moral corruption and an increase in crimes against women.Speaking to TOI in June, Digital Empowerment Foundation head Osama Manzar had explained this behaviour. “Anything that gives women private access to information is regarded as dangerous,” he had said.

All may not be lost, though. In March 2016, a report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Retailers Association of India (RAI) forecast that females would make up 40% of the urban internet users in India by 2020.

Source: The Times of India

 

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