Indian women want to do more online, and they need the tools to do so.In India, we saw the largest digital gender gap amongst our respondents—1 in 5 women aren’t yet online, and only half as many women use the Internet as men.
To better understand the situation, we spoke to 828 Indian women aged 18-55: 418 Internet users and 410 non-users.
Though many women aren't yet convinced there's a reason for them to use the Internet, they recognize the benefits of technology. Through education and lowering barriers to access, more Indian women could be convinced of the Internet's value.
Many Indian women who aren’t online feel left behind by technology.
Our survey revealed income and demographic differences between Internet users and non-users.
Women who are online tend to have slightly higher incomes. Most are younger, single and still students. The non-users we surveyed tend to be slightly older than women online and more likely to be married with children. 76% are full-time housewives. Many who aren’t online still had positive attitudes towards technology.
Both users and non-users see learning and connecting as benefits of the Internet.
Learning about other parts of the world
Being able to communicate with other people
People sharing life experiences with each other
Many additional ways of helping your family
They also share fears of falling behind in a changing world.
Indian women are motivated to succeed — for more than just themselves.
Most of the women we spoke to aren't currently in the workforce. Despite this, they're driven, and want their loved ones to advance with them.
of Internet users are currently employed
of non-users are currently employed
"I see myself working full-time in the next 5 years"
They consider education a key part of success, and don’t see their gender as a barrier.
"I have goals that keep me motivated on a day-to-day basis"
"It’s my duty to ensure my loved ones advance in life with me"
"Women have the same opportunities available to them as men"
"Education has a significant impact on success in life"
"Knowledge is everything. And if girls are empowered with the knowledge that's available on the Internet, growth is definitely ensured."
Many Indian women don't yet see what the Internet could do for them.
Don't see any reason to access the Internet
Are not interested in anything that is on the Internet.
Don’t know how to do the things I want on the Internet.
But some still plan to go online soon, especially younger women.
of all Internet non-users are likely to use the Internet soon.
of non-users aged 18-29 are likely to use the Internet soon.
Their main motivations are access to information, entertainment and communication.
Access barriers are cultural.
Both users and non-users are wary of undesirable content online. Other barriers include connection issues, affordability and time — many of our respondents said managing their households left little time for what’s perceived to be a leisure activity.
Some women are concerned about inappropriate content online.
"I believe there are many things on the Internet which go against my values or morals."
"Information available on the Internet should be restricted."
The biggest barriers for Internet users are cost, connectivity and time.
"Being able to afford to use the Internet as often as I would like."
"Having a more reliable Internet connection."
"Having time available to use the Internet."
But for non-users, lack of interest is more of a barrier than cost.
"I can't see any reason to access the Internet"
"I'm not interested in anything that is on the Internet."
"I don't have access to a computer or laptop."
"It's too expensive to have access to the Internet."
"Having time available to use the internet."
"If women see the benefit, then it isn't such a big battle. If everyone in India were connected, life would be much easier."
Online privacy is a key enabler.
With an average of five people in every household, computers tend to be shared, not personal. Some women also feel judgement from their in-laws for spending too much time online.
Smartphones and Internet cafes could be a cheaper, more private way for Indian women to access the Internet.
"If women are able to access the Internet through their mobile phones, that's a big plus. They don't necessarily need a laptop or a computer or another device to access the Internet because they can do it through their mobile phone."
Many users access the Internet through shared devices.
8% use a laptop of their own.
16% use a laptop someone else owns.
use another device to access the Internet.
54% use a smartphone of their own.
4% use a smartphone someone else owns.
use another device to access the Internet.
And would do more online, if they had more privacy.
"Having a smartphone or computer that I don't have to share with anyone else."
"Being able to go to a location or use a device to access the Internet."
"Being able to use the Internet in private without fear of surveillance or criticism."
"Women will be empowered with information, be empowered with their rights, become successful entrepreneurs and bring a change and a revolution."