A research conducted by Media Matters for Democracy (MMfD) has revealed that 6 out of 10 women face limitations when accessing the internet. The study was conducted with the title ‘Women Disconnected: Feminist Case Studies on the Gender Digital Divide Amidst Covid-19’ was carried out to observe the effect of gender digital divide on women in the country during the global pandemic.
The women who were part of the survey reported that they were only given internet access for online classes and to talk to their families through WhatsApp. 16% of the respondents revealed that girls could not use it at all, and more than one-third acknowledged the limitations to be higher than boys.
The need to use the internet was seen to increase among the participants during the lockdown period. However, many of them could not use it since they couldn’t go to schools and workplaces to access it. Due to lack of connectivity, women belonging from the newly-merged tribal districts couldn’t use emergency health services. The lack of local emergency healthcare facilities has seen to cause deaths among women.
Statistics revealed that about 80% of the respondents who had no internet usage were from South Waziristan.
The cost of the internet is also a big concern in the country. More than 75% of the women who were a part of the research said that the internet is pretty expensive, and a normal person can not access it.
Hija Kamran, one of the researchers, commented on the study saying that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure every citizen can access the internet and make it affordable and safe. Gender digital divide makes it unable for women to grow and avail opportunities.
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