The Mobile Gender Gap Report 2022 shows that India’s digital gender gap continues to be wide, despite the initial uptick in women owning smartphones and using mobile phones in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The numbers show that while smartphone ownership for men increased to 49% in 2021, it’s only 26% for women. Male users of mobile internet have also grown from 45% in 2020 to 51% in 2021, but the percentage of female users have remained constant at 30%.
The report says that in low- and middle-income countries, women are still less likely to have access to mobile phones and mobile internet, particularly women with low literacy and low income levels, and those who live in rural areas, or have a disability.
The digital gender gap also continues to persist because of the restrictive gender norms. Are women able to exercise autonomy when it comes to owning their phones? How do they use them?
In Chitrakoot district of Uttar Pradesh, we found women to be in constant negotiation over autonomy in their everyday lives. They are pushing back against conventional, violent, patriarchies in the real world, while also engaging with various forms of gender norms in the virtual world.
Here are some behind the scenes glimpses of what goes on in the women’s online and offline lives.
All photos by Monika Anivarti, Chitrakoot Collective.
Priyanka Kotamraju and Monika Anivarti work with the Chitrakoot Collective.