From online gaming to e-commerce, rapid growth witnessed affecting social and economic conditions for women
India’s online economy is developing at a rapid rate, enabled by accelerating digitalization, broadband internet access, and market demand. And it is heartening to see many women at the forefront of this digital boom. Trailblazers in the skill gaming industry such as Winzo co-founder Saumya Singh Rathore and Sequoia’s Public Policy Chief Shweta Rajpal Kohli are a strong testament to the impact that digitization can have for the economic and social empowerment of Indian women.
The rapid growth we are witnessing in online commerce is affecting social and economic conditions for women in developing Asian countries as well as changing the user demographic in countries such as India. Women are increasingly becoming a part of traditional avenues such as online retail as well as sunrise sectors such as online skill gaming and esports.
Notably, women make up nearly 43% of the mobile gaming audience in India.
Covid-19, which has propelled digitization in every aspect of commercial life, has also amplified another key factor that impedes India’s women from accessing the unlimited opportunities that the online economy provides: the gender digital divide. South Asia continues to have the widest mobile gender gaps globally, with the gender digital adoption divide being as high as 82.5 percent in low-income countries. In 2020, the proportion of the total adult female population that owned a smartphone was 25 percent versus 41 percent of adult men.
A conducive ecosystem for onboarding women into India’s online economy is therefore crucial to their economic empowerment. It will allow them to take advantage of flexible work arrangements to balance work and caregiving responsibilities and offer financial security through an additional source of income. In addition, the relatively low entry barriers mean that female entrepreneurship can prosper.For women to have greater representation, it is imperative that we break the stereotypes regarding their leadership style.
Women should not be bundled into stereotypes of being ‘too bossy’, ‘too soft’ or ‘a queen’ – traits which are rarely, if at all, associated with male counterparts or easily discounted
Notions such as these feed into the dominant narrative of women being incapable of being complete professionals, which undermines their leadership. Further, there is a need to include females in top roles in verticals such as tech development and product management, where they are conspicuously underrepresented. While most organizations today have formulated internal policies that empower female thought leaders and make them integral players in the company’s growth story, it is equally incumbent on every working professional to cultivate a holistic and unbiased perspective on what it means to be a female leader.
It is hoped that by next year the online skill gaming industry will see more female representation in leadership roles, to make the industry truly democratic. While we are building products for women, it will be truly significant to see them built by women as well!
[author title=”Namratha Swamy” image=”http://”]Namratha is the Mobile Premier League’s Country Head for India. She is the owner of the P&L and is in charge of the total business in India.[/author]