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Digital Villages For Rural Women

Rural BPOs are investing in inclusize and accountable companies for sustainable development in India. This has greatly helped in creating meaningful opportunities that create better and sustainable lives. Even though the focus is on providing high quality outsourced solutions to the clients, the companies also work towards larger social scenarios and thereby creating a positive socio-economic impact.

Some Rural BPOs have laid out programmes that specifically focus on women empowerment. This is because some women may not have the opportunities to move to cities compared to the men. Some Rural BPOs also focus on the disadvantaged individuals in the community, the minorities and the people with disabilities.

Every year on the 15th of October, the United Nations calls on all of us to celebrate the international day of rural women. Can the roads be equal for everybody where everyone gets the opportunity to be leaders accompanied with similar benefits?

By digitizing villages, rural women and girls can expand their horizons and connect with the rest of the world. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals present an opportunity for business-led solutions and technologies to be developed and implemented to address the world's biggest sustainable development challenges.

I thought of how a digital village can look like. Listed are the resources that need to be present to digitize a village to benefit rural women.
  • Internet connectivity through Wi-Fi hotspots as well as voice connectivity.
  • Affordable and reliable electricity.
  • Investing in Knowledge: Rural women could be taught how to make use of internet via smart phones so as to carry our business transactions online and to keep up with beneficial happenings on the global scale.
  • Presence of banks in villages that enable mobile phone transactions.
  • Availabilty of Automatic Teller Machines.
Gender inequality persists worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities. We know that women and girls are a powerful force for change since many of them are well educated and should be rewarded based on merit.

We need to create an environment where women feel it is through their merit that they have risen. When we uplift women and girls, we can break the cycle of poverty. We can help them delay their marriages, choose the timing and spacing of their pregnancies, access needed services and information, complete their education, and gain the knowledge and skills they need to participate in the global economy and in their country's development. 

The following pie chart illustrates the comparison between internet users in Urban India and Rural India based on gender.

There are opportunities for all of us to reflect upon the gains we have made and envision ways in which we can further work towards  the entrenchment of sustainable development goal number 5 of gender equality within our organizations and companies.

We have the opportunity to make the world more stable, secure and resilient. Rural women need to be economically empowered by creating formal employment in their villages. Digitizing the villages is one way that can create opportunities for them. Companies should be building issues of gender into their work-plans and supply chains.

Women should not just be treated as consumers of products and services but as part of the workforce. Women are symbols of hope and can contribute to thriving economies. Rural women can make extraordinary transformational change not just a dream but a reality. When we put women and girls at the center of development, we can see a positive ripple effect across their families, communities and nations.

The Author of this article is Susan Rujema. She is a Rwandan citizen who holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and a Master of Science degree in Procurement and Logistics. She is currently a SITA intern with DesiCrew Solutions working on aligning DesiCrew to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. She earlier worked in monitoring and evaluation in Kenya and communications in Rwanda. Her interest lies in entrepreneurship, peace building, gender development, children's advocacy, climate action and human rights.

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DesiCrew is a rural BPO company that sets up IT-enabled service centers in rural areas, employ and trains local people to meet the back office demands of clients.

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