Sheltered beneath a Peepal tree to escape the blistering sun, miles from any roads or power lines, a group of women MNREGA workers huddle around a Interactive White Board and experience the internet for the very first time in Kalathur village in Peravurani taluka (Tamil Nadu).
These women labourers live without electricity and other amenities while their children attend school in mud huts or tin sheds where they lack even the most basic learning supplies. Bringing digital literacy through CSC to this isolated region is no small feat, with communities scattered over thousands of square kilometres.
The Digital Classroom is powered by CSC VLE Sundar Raman to around 60 families living in Kalathur village in Peravurani taluka. Poverty and unemployment continue to plague the region, which has a limited infrastructure. Most residents are involved in agriculture and allied activities. The major occupation is agriculture, especially they are doing paddy and coconut tree cultivation, these two agriculture crops are feeding food and providing revenue for them.
The PMGDISHA training program organized by VLE Sundar Suman in the village Kalathur, Peravurani, Thanjavur district, Tamilnadu has transformed lives of migrant women labourers. Following training modules have been included by VLE: BHIM, USSD, AEPS, Access Government Services, Operate internet etc.
Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right. It is also a keystone of a prosperous, modern economy that provides sustainable inclusive growth. Recognising that gender equality is essential for ensuring that men and women can contribute fully for the betterment of societies and economies at large, VLE Sundar Suman is empowering women from marginalized communities through the PMGDISHA program.
Today the digital transformation through CSC in Kalathur village is providing new avenues for the economic empowerment of women and contributing to greater gender equality. The digital platforms and digital financial services through CSC Kalathur offer “leapfrog” opportunities for all and help bridge the divide by giving women the possibility to earn additional income, increasing their employment opportunities, and accessing knowledge and general information.
The VLE says, “We need to seize this opportunity to foster greater gender equality in the labour market, boost economic growth and build a more inclusive, Digital India. The digital gender divide needs to be resolved. There is no reason for women to trail behind in the digital transformation.” He adds, “The cost of inaction is high and in the face of sluggish growth in covid 19 pandemic, ageing societies and increasing educational attainment of young women, the economic case for digital gender equality is clear. Bridging the gender divide, also in the digital world, can provide new sources of economic growth in our country.”
Becoming technologically skilled for women in Kalathur village is playing a major role in getting jobs, being competitive in the job market and enabling these women to pull themselves out of poverty. “If this group is ignored, problems such as economic dependency, violence against women, and low self-esteem will also continue to be perpetuated”, VLE Sundar adds.