Rights of Women In This Digital Era: A Challenge To The Society

Introduction

The Constitution of India has granted equal rights to men and women. According to Article 14– „The State shall not deny to any person equality before the 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 & 15 of the Indian Constitution provide the 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 women in the Digital Era, it is important to make some introductory remarks regarding the rights of the women in the pre-digital era.

Human Rights for Women 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 the pre-digital era. To under rights of women in the digital era. we should know what is digital era?

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According to the 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 the computer. So, it is important to discuss the condition of women in the IT sector.

Women in I.T. 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 up to 21 percent in 2002 (NASSCOM, 2002) and it is expected to go up to 35 percent by 2005. The following table illustrates the widespread participation of women in the various segments of the IT industries.

Table 1. Distribution of women among the subsets of IT.

S.NoIT SectorF/M RatioType of Work & skill requirements
1.Software industry19:81Software development not just design, customization and adaptation of software
2.Telecom Industry*40:60Technical and creative work.  Required highly qualified engineers
3.Airlines  80:20Customer service. Required Communication, language & software skills
4.IT-Enabled service sector45:55Demands linguistics and domain skill
5.BPO**49:51Indian BPO is predominantly voice-based (outbound calls)

                                     Source: DATAQUEST, April 22, 2003[1]

Rights of Women in I.T. Sector

As, per the data, there are many women involved in the IT sector so as they should have some rights in the digital era. Some of the mentioned below:

  1. 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 policymakers 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[2].
  2. Right to File Complaint Online – Women can file complaint on various portal’s such as National commission of women who give 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 workplace.
  3. Right to equal opportunity – In digital era women have the right to demand to an equal opportunity which comes with the right to be heard. Right to equal opportunity includes 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.
  4. Right to have access to the 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 the internet
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Conclusion

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 need 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 the education sector to get benefited from ICT.

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[1] 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

[2] 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

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