Indian women face ‘digital purdah’

Excerpt from this article on Warc (thanks for sharing Rina!):

India has one of the world’s wider gender gaps as regards phone ownership as 43% of men have one compared to just 28% of women; the proportions are broadly equal in other major regional markets such as China (49% v 48%) and Indonesia (43% v 38%).

…There is a reluctance among parts of a socially conservative male population to see wives and daughters carrying phones, which they regard with suspicion when in female hands.

“Mobile phones are really dangerous for women,” according to an elder in one Uttar Pradesh village which has confiscated mobile phones from every woman under the age of 18. “Girls are more susceptible to bringing shame upon themselves,” he added.

 

Putting Technology in Its Place

Excerpt from this article:

Kentaro Toyama went to India with noble intentions for using technology to improve people’s lives. Now he’s wrestling with why the impact was so small.

…I ultimately took stock of 50-odd projects that I had either been directly involved with or supervised. Very few were the kind where we felt, “This is working so well that we should really expand it.” Very often, it was because there were just limits to the human and institutional capacity on the ground that could take advantage of the technology.

For example, in education, one of the most difficult things to overcome is the way in which education is done—everything from how the public school system is managed to how it’s administered to how the government interacts with it. In India, we found instances where teachers were often called away by the government. The government feels that they’re government employees and, therefore, can be called upon to help with other government tasks.

Another example is the health-care system. If you go to a typical rural clinic, it’s not the kind of place that anybody from the United States would think of as a decent place to get health care. Bringing along a laptop, connecting it to wireless, and providing Internet so you can do telemedicine is just an incredibly thin cover. It’s a thin, superficial change.

 

Facebook users in the Middle East and Africa use the site in some surprisingly different ways

M-Pesa

Excerpt from this article:

Facebook now has 191 million users in the Middle East and Africa, 85% of who are visiting via mobile.

Mendelsohn described what a difference that makes: “I was in Nairobi, Kenya, earlier this year and their whole payment system there is mobile. M-Pesa is unbelievable. So you can be walking down the streets of a market, and the market will be no different to something that you could have been in a thousand years ago, but everyone is trading by using their mobile phone. And you kind of go, ‘well how come I can go shopping on the streets of London and it’s unfathomable [to be able to do that]?’ So there’s a lot we can learn from being over there.”

…Mendelsohn told us she met a number of female entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia through an organization called Glowork. They’re using Facebook as way to sell their products.

…In 2014, Facebook introduced “missed call” units in India. When a user in India sees an ad on Facebook they can place a “missed call,” by clicking that ad from their mobile. In return, they’ll receive a call such as music, cricket scores, or messages from celebrities, from the advertiser.

Is it right to ‘Facebook shame’ alleged harassers?

A partial screenshot of Jasleen Kaur's Facebook post about an alleged harassment incident.

Excerpt from this article:

The Facebook post has sparked a heated debate in India about the “shaming” of alleged harassers on the internet. In her post earlier this week, Kaur said a man on a motorbike made obscene remarks to her at a traffic light in Delhi. She reported the incident to the police but also uploaded a picture of the man, which has since been shared more than 130,000 times.

Unusually, the police acted on her post: they arrested a man, Sarvjeet Singh, and charged him with sexual harassment, criminal intimidation, and insulting the modesty of a woman, according to local reports.

The public mood initially seemed to be supportive of Kaur… Then came a twist in the story. The alleged harasser, Singh, who has been released on bail, denies the allegations and went public too, to accuse Kaur of courting publicity and using the incident to further her own political causes.

Snapchat frees sex abuse survivors to talk

SnapChat filters

Excerpt from this article:

Staring into the lens, the survivors have found themselves able to speak candidly, without fear of identification or repercussions.

Yusuf Omar, the mobile editor at the Hindustan Times has been using the filters to disguise the faces of women he interviews, while still allowing facial expressions to be visible.

“Eyes are the window to the soul,” says Yusuf. “And because of the face-mapping technology that Snapchat uses to make these filters work you don’t lose that.

“The dragon filter one of the girls used actually exaggerated them, so you can clearly see her expressions as she speaks.

 

5 Things You Can Get in India With a Missed Call

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Excerpt from this article:

Want to transfer funds from your account? Give your bank a missed call. Want to hear Bollywood music? Dial a number and hang up.

Making a missed call by calling a number and letting it ring is a popular way of communicating in India because the caller doesn’t have to spend money. Marketing companies, politicians, banks and others now use this practice to reach millions who have cellphones but limited means.

Here are five things you can do in India by ringing a number and hanging up.