Transforming Rural Women’s Lives through Technology

Very few women have access to the Internet in India, especially women living in rural areas. National Family Health Survey-5 data [from 2019-2021] assessed men’s and women’s internet use for the first time and found that only one in three women in India (33%) have ever used the internet, compared to more than half (57%) of men. Women face social hurdles when accessing education, health, land rights, and technology. Women tend to question whether the digital realm is correct for them. In most households in rural regions, elders or husbands often expect women to seek permission for basic tasks, such as using technology.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals have elevated the internet access issue for women. Specifically, its goals that address gender equality (SDG 5) and the need to build infrastructure in least-developed countries highlight the importance of bridging the digital divide. 

With SDG 5 being one of Industree’s primary objectives, the Producer Owned Women Enterprises (POWER) Project, funded by USAID has been crucial in providing digital literacy for women in underserved communities. Digital tools have helped accelerate the development of women. These tools have helped increase access to information, overcome traditional barriers, ease personal and professional tasks, and improve financial autonomy. 

The digital space supports conducive economic opportunities for women under the POWER project, beyond skilling and training, to be essential players in the design process, market, and business ecosystem. The professional management team supports women leaders such as the MELs (Micro-Enterprise Leaders) and MBTLs (Mutual Benefit Trust Leaders) to streamline the operations of the enterprises, employing a range of digital tools to bring efficiency, traceability, and transparency to operations.

POWER has reached out to thousands of women, including women from tribal and disadvantaged communities to build the skills and capacity of rural women microentrepreneurs to transact in the digital economy. Digital Literacy has strengthened the understanding of financial planning, record keeping, product costing & pricing, etcetera- encouraging the digital empowerment of women entrepreneurs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s