One of the core problems faced across the South Asia region is the trivial representation of women in the online space. A recent survey by GSMA, found that women in South Asia are 38% less likely to own a mobile phone, and that only about 25% women in the world use the internet. As a per a 2015 report by Internet and Mobile Association of India and IMRB, there is a huge gender gap in terms of Internet usage in India. Men account for 71 per cent of Internet users, while women account for just 29 per cent. The gap is slightly lower in urban India, with men accounting for 62 per cent and women 38 per cent. The gap is quite stark in rural India where the men to women Internet user ratio stand at 88:12. To bridge this gap and encourage more women to feel empowered, CSR with the support of Facebook, has started our #SocialSurfing initiative.
#SocialSurfing, a collaborative effort by CSR & Facebook, intends to develop positive, constructive online spaces, where users are safe, informed and are able to use the power of social media and internet to achieve their goals and dreams.
As a part of #SocialSurfing, we have completed 28 workshops, in 14 cities across India and trained over 3000 ambassadors who will use social media for social change. We have reached out to over 200,000 people raising awareness about online safety. It’s a dream come true project for Centre for Social Research, and at the juncture of completing our first phase, we really want to thank Facebook for supporting this initiative in the most amazing way possible and our director Dr Ranjana Kumari for providing us guidance and support at each and every step.
Our workshops focused on the youth, have trained college students in aspects of Online safety, discussing the safety features present on Facebook in detail, which helps user control their online information. We worked together with them on the concept of #CounterSpeech and the importance of sensitive, informed communication. The last session of our workshop focused on how to create social media campaigns.
A truly inspiring aspect of our #SocialSurfing workshops was the excitement of the participants towards Facebook. There was a unanimous positive response from the students, as well as the faculty. Based on which we are in the process of creating the second phase of #SocialSurfing. The youth of India, has really found its voice on social media platforms and they want to inform themselves, to debate and contribute in local and national issues. In this scenario it becomes the responsibility of the Government, Civil Society, Corporates, Educational Institutions to embrace this positivity and ensure our youth achieve their maximum potential using social media as a tool for social change.
Facebook has been a true partner in the #SocialSurfing mission, we look forward to achieving many milestones together.
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