Digital world benefits for women and girls: the case of digital learning

Current research is increasingly pointing out to the fact that digital access can reduce face-to-face barriers that women endure more than men.[1]

With the digital applications booming, especially with the onset of COVID19 in various sectors including (but not limited to) health, education, lifestyle, etc, has made it possible for women and girls to access their own data and information. Girls are very often portrayed as homogenous group; however, the reality is that girls face multiple intersecting identities and situations. Girls do face unequal opportunities but they are also privy to opportunities and family support, even among those that are situated in rural contexts.

Inclusion and participation

An interesting factor to consider in favour of Turn the Bus model is that the technology design is spearheaded by female leader. Female-led  technology  (also  known  as femtech) is better at providing solutions that cater to girl’s and women’s needs, but is still considered niche.[2] TTB leadership understands that the digital learning, specifically needs to take into account not only ‘opportunity’ for girls to complete their education K12; they also need to promote learning from a lens of digital equality between girls and boys in rural India. The partnership with ‘Jeevika’ which is a massive women workforce in rural Bihar (supported by the government of Bihar and World Bank) engage with the digital learning platform created by TTB with microscopic lens of saturating the ‘girl students’ in areas of operation. They dialogue and convince the parents to support girl’s education through the mobile application designed by TTB.

What more can follow to enhance inclusion and participation

Many organizations in the digital learning space frequently conduct client surveys and feedback drives. In case of EdTech based learning, it is important to develop tools that can help assess digital literacy and skills and further, develop versions of digital products that support participants according to their skill levels. Implementation  research  [research on how the government system can integrate and adopt this initiative] is   required   to   study   the   barriers   to   deployment  and  effectively scale this intervention. New  technologies  enable  potential  detection  of  non-performers or poor performers in the learning arena and Turn the Bus is making an effort to recognise these challenges in the field. This possibility has powerful implications for the area of policy and programmes in the area of education as it reveals invaluable data which can throw light on gender context, marginalization and poverty implications in terms of resources and ownership of phones in rural India. As this understanding becomes clear, the programmes can be changed and altered to feed into ground reality. TTB improvises the application based on feedback and research and integrates Human Centric design is their educational model. Therefore, integration of AI based learning component is new on the cards for TTB, based on organic feedback from the students engaged thus far.

[1] The need for feminist intersectionality in digital health, the Lancet, Vol 3 August 2021

[2] Ibid

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