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Lack of technical literacy and education leads to digital gender inequality: Unicef

According to Unicef if girls and women remain digitally illiterate, they risk becoming further marginalised in society and at home.

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Lack of technical literacy and education leads to digital gender inequality: Unicef
In India, only 29 per cent of all users are female. wikimedia commons
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  • A step towards digitalised Indian economy has been taken
  • The risk of becoming marginalised increases if girls and women remain digitally illiterate
  • In villages of Rajasthan and UP, they prohibit girls to have access to mobile phones

Kolkata, December 22, 2017: With less than one-third of India’s internet users being females, the country’s girls and women risk becoming further marginalised in society and at home if they remain digitally illiterate in the backdrop of the country making a public push towards a more digitalised economy, a Unicef report says.

“There is a digital gender gap as well. Globally, 12 per cent more men than women used the internet in 2017. In India, less than one third of internet users are female.

“… Recently, India has made a public push towards a more digitalised economy, including reducing dependency on physical cash. If girls and women remain digitally illiterate, they risk becoming further marginalised in society and at home,” says the 2017 edition of Unicef’s annual flagship publication “the State of the World’s Children Report” launched here on Thursday.

Themed “Children in a digital world”, the latest report provides country-level examples to give a sense of the kinds of barriers girls and women confront.

In India, where only 29 per cent of all internet users are female, girls in rural areas often face restrictions on their use of ICTs solely because of their gender, it says.

Citing examples, the report quotes a village governing body in rural Rajasthan as stating that “girls were not to use mobile phones or social media”.

“Another village in Uttar Pradesh banned unmarried girls from using mobile phones along with a ban on wearing certain kinds of clothing, such as jeans and T-shirts.”

Pointing out that digital connection and literacy offer advantages in a knowledge-based society, improving children’s lives and their future earning potential, the report says: “At the same time, connectivity doesn’t always equalise opportunity.”

“Digital divides can mirror broader societal divides — between rich and poor, cities and rural areas, between those with or without an education — and between women and men.

“India is one place in which the digital divide highlights society’s deep chasms,” says the report, calling for addressing the disparity at the highest levels for universal, safe access to be realised.

It says the digital gender divide is caused by a number of factors — “social norms, education levels, lack of technical literacy and lack of confidence among them — but is often rooted in parents’ concern for the safety of their daughters.

“Many fear that allowing girls to use the internet will lead to liaisons with men, bringing shame on the family. For most girls, if they are allowed to use the internet, their every move is monitored by their parents or brothers.

“In a society that is still largely patriarchal, for girls, traits like deference and obedience are often valued over intelligence and curiosity. In some households, technology is not seen as necessary or beneficial for girls and women,” the report says. (IANS)

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Infant Mortality Rate declined in 2016, shows Health Ministry data

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country's IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas

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Infant Mortality Rate in India
Infant Mortality Rate declines in India. Pixabay
  • The Infant Mortality Rate in India has declined from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016
  • The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR
  • According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival

New Delhi, October 2, 2017: The Infant Mortality Rate, IMR in India has declined by three points, from 37 per 1000 live births in 2015 to 34 per 1000 live births in 2016, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family welfare’s data released on Friday.

This is indeed a progress looking at the two points decline last year. The 2019 target of IMR 28 per 1000 births, however, is still a long way to go.

The Sample Registration System showed a significant 8% decline in country’s IMR, despite the death of infants being more in rural areas. India has also recorded a remarkable drop in birth cohort, which has come down to below 25 million for the first time, according to the system.

I90000 fewer infant deaths were registered by India in 2016 as compared to 2015. The total estimated drop in the number of infant deaths have come down from 930000 (9.3 Lakhs) in 2015 to 840000 (8.4 lakhs) in 2016, mentions the Hans India report.

According to the SRS Bulletin there has been a steady decline in the gender gap in India for child survival. There has been reduction in the gender difference between female and male IMR.

“We are meeting our targets faster than the global targets, which means our efforts are showing results,” Union health minister JP Nadda had said during a post Cabinet briefing recently, according to the Hindustan Times report.

Also readSafe Rest Practices for Infants made Readily Available to New Parents through Emails and Texts!

“The results signify that the strategic approach of the ministry has started yielding dividends and the efforts of focusing on low performing states is paying off,” stated a health ministry statement.

“The countrywide efforts to increase the health service coverage through various initiatives, including strengthening of service delivery and drugs and diagnostics have worked well,” it further said.

All the states except Uttarakhand, among the Empowered Action Group (EAG) States and Assam have reported decline in IMR in comparison to 2015.

The report suggests this decline as of 4 points in Bihar, 3 in Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and decline of two points in Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha.

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha