Cannes Lions

HELPING WOMEN GET ONLINE (HWGO)

GOOGLE INDIA, Gurgaon / GOOGLE / 2015

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Overview

Description

While India has the 2nd largest Internet user base in the world, only 30% of these users are women. With more men coming online than women, the online gender disparity will only increase. Google took it upon itself to build a gender ­neutral online space in India, which is currently very skewed towards men.

Google launched Helping Women Get Online, with the goal of bringing 50 million Indian women online.

Our campaign was spread across the Internet through digital awareness campaigns, on ground through activations and training seminars and on television for a mass awareness. We also partnered with influencers like Farhan Akhtar, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia for specific elements of the campaign.

Execution

We identified three barriers preventing women from getting online - knowledge, access and awareness, and developed a 3 pronged strategy to address these challenges - inspire, engage, enable. We executed this approach across the internet, on ground and on television.

Online, we kicked off with hwgo.com, a website that acts as a gateway for first time internet users and features success stories of women who used the Internet to benefit their lives. On-ground, we conducted training workshops for women on how to use the internet. On Television, we launched the ‘Internet Moms’ campaign, focused on getting mothers online.

And to further engage our audience we collaborated with Farhan Akhtar and the MARD Foundation to create awareness through a music video. However inaccessibility to the internet remained an obstacle. So, we created an Internet Cart- which travels across villages with internet enabled devices to create an access point and to show women how to use the Internet. To incentivize use of the internet we launched India’s first ever Internet Sample Plan that gave women free internet access for a day.

The Internet can greatly empower women through the information, opportunities and the convenience the medium provides. The 'Intel Women and Web' study has shown that women using the Internet feel more liberated and equitable in the society. More women using the Internet is also known to have a positive impact on the society and economy of the country.

As the saying goes, “You teach a man you teach an individual, you teach a woman you teach a generation.” Keeping the above in mind this initiative helps bring to the forefront Google’s commitment towards tech for good.

Outcome

By February 2015, we’d hosted training sessions for 1.5 million women across 5 states.

In the past year, for the first time in India’s history, more women have come online than men.

The overall campaign has communicated the benefits of getting online to over 40 million women across India. Over time, we hope to translate this knowledge to action, and ensure the number of women online in India is equal to or almost equal to the number of men online.

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