According to research made by Oxfam India, an NGO, it has been found that in India, only one-third of internet users happen to be women. An equity report of India for the year 2022 named the ‘Digital Divide’, has been conducted by the NGO called Oxfam India. This report mentions that in India women are fifteen percent less likely to have a mobile phone even in this digital age. The report further states that women are also thirty-three percent less likely to be users of mobile internet services, compared to men.
Although urban women are using mobile internet services at par with men, but there is a disparity in the data towards the rural sectors. In the report, it has further been stated that, as per the Asia-Pacific data, this margin shows the worst for India. The study says that in India there lies the widest gender gap leading to 40.4 percent. It also mentions that the cause of this is also due to India’s urban and rural divide.
India has shown only significant signs of a digital growth rate of thirteen percent in a year. In comparison to sixty-seven percent of internet users in the urban area, there is only thirty-one percent of internet users in the rural sectors. This primary data of the report have been collected from CMIE, The Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy. Looking at the different states in India, Maharashtra has the highest number of internet users. It is then followed by Goa and then Kerala. If you look at the lowest data then Bihar shows the lowest number of internet users. And then it is preceded by Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, as per the report.
This report was further alarming during the years 2017 and 2018. The report of that time stated, only nine percent of the students who were a part of any course then had the access to the internet and a computer. Furthermore, only twenty-five percent of the students who were a part of any course then had internet access through various other devices.
It is only after the recent digital push followed by the pandemic that a large bit of change happened. The data has got a little improved due to this digital digitization and transfer of money. However, the richer class in India, which is about sixty percent, uses the digital mode of transaction compared to the poor, forty percent. It has also been found that the tendency toward using financial services is lower in ST households and is preceded by OBC households.
In India, it is more likely that the General and the OBC groups use computers than the SC and ST groups. The reason for this is that the number of literate, applicants for various competitive exams and government jobs are more amongst the General and OBC category. With more education, there have been applicants for jobs and more earnings leading to the ownership of computers and the internet. After the pandemic, there has been a little increase in the usage of the internet in the urban sector than in the rural.