The constitution of India has granted equal rights to the men and women. According to article 14 – „The State shall not deny to any person equality before law or the equal protection of laws within the territory of India‟. And Article 15 states – „State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them, but today, it seems that there is a wide gulf between theory and practice. Although various efforts have been taken to improve the status of women in India, the constitutional dream of gender equality is miles away from becoming a reality. Article 14 & 15of the Indian Constitution provide right to life to “Everyone” The word “everyone “covers here not solely men however additionally women and girls. Before beginning to explore the rights of a women in Digital Era, it is important to make some-introductory remarks regarding the rights of the women in pre-digital era.
WOMEN HUMAN RIGHTS IN INDIA
Right to equality
- Right to education
- Right to live with dignity
- Right to liberty
- Right to politics
- Right to property
- Right to equal opportunity for employment
- Right to free choice of profession
- Right to livelihood
- Right to work in equitable condition
- Right to get equal wages for equal work
- Right to protection from gender discrimination
- Right to social protection in the eventuality of retirement, old age and sickness
- Right to protection from inhuman treatment
- Right to protection of health.
- Right to privacy in terms of personal life, family, residence, correspondence etc.
- Right to protection from society, state and family system.
So, as of now we know what are the rights of women in pre-digital era. To under rights of women in digital era. we should know what is digital era?
According to Oxford dictionary
“Digital” means Involving or relating to the use of computer technology.
“Era” means A long and distinct period of history.
So, from the above-mentioned definition we can draw a conclusion that Digital Era means a period of time which involve the use of computer. So, it is important to discuss the condition of women in the IT sector.
Women’s position in the IT sector has seen both the positive and negative trends in the last decade in the Indian sub-continent. There are studies that have highlighted the fast track that women have made in the IT related industries. Women’s composition in the IT workforce has risen from 10% in 1993 to 18% in 1998 which is much higher than the national average of 12 percent (NASSCOM 1999). To a great surprise, the entry of women has shot upto 21 percent in 2002 (NASSCOM, 2002) and it is expected to go up to 35 percent by 2005. The following table illustrates the wide spread participation of women in the various segments of IT industries.
Table 1. Distribution of women among the subsets of IT.
|S.No||IT Sector||F/M Ratio||Type of Work & skill requirements|
|1.||Software industry||19:81||Software development not just design, customization and adaptation of software|
|2.||Telecom Industry*||40:60||Technical and creative work. Required highly qualified engineers|
|80:20||Customer service. Required Communication, language & software skills|
|4.||IT-Enabled service sector||45:55||Demands linguistics and domain skill|
|5.||BPO**||49:51||Indian BPO is predominantly voice-based (outbound calls)|
Source: DATAQUEST, April 22, 2003
Though the above statistics has shown a rosy picture of women in this sector.
As, per the data there are many women involved in IT sector so as they should have some rights in digital era. Some of the mentioned below:
- Right to Speak on Social media – Social media has proved to be a powerful vehicle for bringing women’s rights issues to the attention of a wider public, galvanizing action on the streets of cities around the world and encouraging policy makers to step up commitments to gender equality. Recent cases in Turkey and India reflect the potential of social media to bridge the gap that often separates grassroots women’s activism from policy-making processes. The explosion of social media and unprecedented use by women of new technologies represents important opportunities to bring gender equality and women’s rights issues to the forefront of both policy making and media attention.
- Right to File Complaint Online – Women can file complaint on various portal’s such as National commission of women who gives right to file complain against crime related to domestic violence, harassment, dowry, torture, desertion, bigamy, rape, refusal to register FIR, cruelty by husband, deprivation, gender discrimination and sexual harassment at work place.
- Right to equal opportunity – In digital era women have right to demand to equal opportunity which comes with right to be heard. Right to equal opportunity include right to information which means access to knowledge which will help in empowerment as well as take the nation forward in this comitative digital era.
- Right to have access to internet –As governed by our constitution every citizen has right to education which includes right to access information and for information best source is internet so inherently right to education also includes right to have access to internet
While technology has the potential for leveling the playing field on a global scale, it is also responsible for contributing to the digital divide. Despite modernization and technological developments, the traditional women rights remain firmly entrenched in all levels of the Indian society. The research question is what is the impact of the socially constructed traits on women’s participation in information technology sector. As women rights are firmly enriched into the society, how women in India moved into the IT labor force, and how do they navigate between these spheres? These are the serious issues which needs further investigations. The goal of empowerment of women however, can be achieved only if the countries and states implement some adequate policies, which emphasize on enhanced female participation in education sector to get benefited from ICT.
Authored by Shubham Srivastava | Edited by Rini Mathew.
 Rajalakshmi,R (2003). The Emerging Trends of Women in Information Technology”. In: Women, Information and Communication Technology in India and China. The Hawke Research Institute, Adelaide, South Australia, November 5-7, 2003
 The discussion “Advancing women’s rights through social media: which strategies?” took place from 11-20 February 2015. See http://bit.ly/1FsUqK3 to read the contributions