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Google India launches campaign to help 50 million women get online

A mass media campaign targeted at women includes a TVC and a specially designed website www.hwgo.com

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | November 21, 2013

Click on the image to watch the TVC.

With over 200 million Internet users in the country and growing, India is on its way to become the second largest Internet market in the world overtaking US. But only one third of India’s online users are women. Internet can play a very important role in empowering women in India and help them to transform their lives.

Research and studies conducted by various organisations prove that Internet can help Indian women overcome many challenges. It can help women achieve self esteem, express their views freely, open up new opportunities and help them to gain education. On the macro level, these benefits can translate into lowering maternal and infant mortality rates, uplift in GDP of the country and improve their standard of living and status in the society.

“Lack of easy access to Internet, lack of knowledge on how to use the Internet and its relevance in their daily lives are the biggest barriers for women to get online. ‘Helping women get online’ is an initiative that aims to overcome these barriers and empower women to improve their lives. With this initiative we are aiming to help 50 million additional women to get online by end of 2014 by undertaking a variety of initiatives across India. We have already seen many cases of women benefiting greatly by using the Internet and we are really delighted to partner with leading brands in the country to join us in this ambitious project.” said Rajan Anandan, MD and VP Sales & Operations for Google India.

The initiative will focus on creating awareness about the benefits of Internet for women, educate women to use the Internet to improve their lives and work with partners to enable easy Internet access points for women in the country. In the first stage of the initiative, Google will launch a mass media campaign including a TVC targeted at women and promote the specially designed website www.hwgo.com which will host content covering the very basics of Internet and special content that is relevant for women in India, available both in Hindi and English. Women will also be able to call a toll free helpline number 1800 41 999 77 to get answers for any queries that they may have about the Internet.

The TVC:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqvO4hqu-xs&rel=0[/youtube]

Yonca Brunini - Global lead, Tech For Good and VP, Marketing Google said, “We are very excited to launch this first of its kind campaign in India. At Google, we want to contribute our knowledge and skills to help use technology to address humanity’s greatest challenges. I am delighted to share the success of a pilot program that was carried out by us at a village in Bhilwara, Rajasthan. With this project we successfully completed a digital literacy effort of training over 100,000 women in Bhilwara and trained them on how to use the basic applications on the Internet. The learnings from the pilot will help us to work on a framework which we will use to roll out in other parts of India. Internet as a medium can be extremely empowering for women and this is especially true for women in developing countries like India. We strongly believe that Internet can greatly benefit and transform the lives of women in India.”

The program will be supported by Intel, HUL and Axis Bank who have committed to drive this initiative through the joint outreach efforts including Internet training in their digital literacy efforts. Intel is also launching a mobile app called “Easy Step” for women which would be available on Android playstore.

Debjani Ghosh, Managing Director- Sales and Marketing group, Intel South Asia says, “As part of our National Digital Literacy Mission, Intel has been working with the government to enhance technology adoption and digital literacy for boosting productivity and impacting livelihoods in a phased manner across the country. We are extremely encouraged by the findings of the first phase of the program where we saw over 52% women participants and it was heartening to see them use the newly acquired knowledge and skills to better support their families. Given the size and diversity of our country, we as an industry, need to do a lot more and hence we feel Google’s helping women get online (HWGO) program will help them use technology for a better life.”

Hemant Bakshi, Executive Director - Home and Personal Care, Hindustan Unilever said, “At HUL we give high priority to improving the lives of our consumers. We believe that the host of information a woman can get because of access to the internet can help improve her life in many ways. When Google approached us to partner for this initiative, we were more than keen to do so, and are very positive and hopeful that through this initiative we can bring about a significant change in the lives of women in India."

On the occasion of the launch, Manisha Lath Gupta, Executive Vice President & Head of Marketing, Retail Liabilities and Electronic Banking Group, Axis Bank said -"Axis Bank's brand philosophy is that of a Partner in Progress. Progress is what we stand for and believe in. Google's 'Help Women Get Online' is a unique initiative that is aimed at empowering women and thereby contributing to the progress of society as a whole. We are happy to partner with Google in this initiative as we have ourselves embarked on a journey to educate women on the advantages of banking and money management to make them more self-reliant."

Google has also partnered with host of different companies who will create and share content relevant for Indian women on the www.hwgo.com website. These partners include Johnson & Johnson, Indiatimes.com, Healthkart.com and Babyoye.com. IMRB has also come on board as the research partner for the initiative and will help track the impact of the initiative on women in India.

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