Smartphones Change Lives of Rural Women in India

28-year old Manisha Badekar runs a design and tailoring shop in Supane, a village in India’s western state of Maharashtra. Though she is well-versed in basic tailoring, Badekar has never been to a design school. Yet, her advanced design learning has been via a smartphone, which she uses to look up designs and re-create them. She is the first both in her family, and among the women in Supane from her generation, to use a smartphone and access the Internet. Badekar also keeps in touch with friends on WhatsApp which she accesses on a 4G connection. She says, “I think everybody should learn how to use the Internet. ”

Another 28-year old from the same region, Monali Shinde, spouse of a soldier in the Indian Army, is excited about the smartphone. Though she doesn’t own one herself, she uses one belonging to Asha Kamle, a well-respected woman in the village who has taught many women how to use smartphones. Shinde is an Arts graduate and a teacher by profession. Interested in design, she learned how to cut fabrics, and paper, and also how to fashion mehendi (henna) designs, and clothes designs. “I used to be so excited, every evening, when I had time for a half hour or an hour, I used to come sit with Tai (Kamle is respectfully referred to as ‘older sister’) and learn,” Shinde says. Aside from learning about possible home businesses, she wants to use the Internet to teach her children. “It is a really a useful way for them to learn, with pictures, and videos,” she says.

Nubia Smartphone

In the same village of Supane, is 33-year old Pallavi Kamble, whose husband is a daily wage earner. She has discovered recipes on the smartphone which she tries out at home to entice her children to eat their vegetables (which they hate)! She doesn’t own a smartphone buts looks forward to a time when smartphones will be available in a range of $38 – $45 so that she can buy one, reports The Hindu.

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Posted on by Gunjan Bagla
Gunjan Bagla
California-based management consultant Gunjan Bagla runs Amritt, a consulting firm helping American companies to succeed in India. Amritt is the trusted advisor for India market research, India business development, India market entry, Global Engineering, Global Technology Scouting, India R&D and Open Innovation. Gunjan is author of "Business in 21st Century India: How to Profit Today from Tomorrow’s Most Exciting Market" (Hachette Book Group, 2008), Amazon's top rated title on the subject. He has appeared as the India Expert on BBC Television, Bloomberg TV, Fox Cable Business and has been quoted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Hollywood Reporter and Business Week for his expertise on India.

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