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Reaching Remote Women Through Inclusive Technology

Creating inclusive technology. Credit: UnSplash / Pongsawat P.
  • by Fairuz Ahmed (new york)
  • Inter Press Service

Despite a myriad of negative impacts, it has opened doors to career reboots and gaining skills for people who otherwise would have been left out.

COVID19 has made work from home the ‘new normal’, and around the globe, people are adapting to a life where a significant portion is spent online.

About two-thirds of businesses that have adopted remote work policies and plan to keep at least some of those policies in place long-term or permanently.

Research published in Business Insider in June 2020 stated that about 67% of companies polled in and work from home is expected to be permanent or long-lasting.

The report also noted that where offices that do remain will probably shrink: 47% of respondents said their organisations were likely to reduce their physical office footprint.

While this creates opportunities online, rural and poor communities, the technology gap exists could be locked out.

Companies that were already working in the career growth sector like Udemy and Coursera have gained incredible traction and growth during the pandemic.

The San Francisco-based company, Udemy.co which one of the prominent platforms in the “massively open online course” (MOOC) movement, released its data highlights that it saw a more than 400% spike in course enrolments for individuals between February and March.

Business and government use increased by 80%, while instructors created 55% more new courses.

Coursera Blog mentions similar proceedings as well. They have already activated more than 220 programs for governments across 70+ countries and 25 US states, and these programs have benefited more than 200,000 learners.

Another similar platform, Fuzia also delivers value-added methods to boost and empower creative women through the fusion of cultures and ideas.

They are working to provide people from all walks of life a means to gain essential knowledge to ramp up their careers and find new alternatives to traditional options.

Anyone with access to the internet can have access to training facilities for free from this platform. Besides career development training, this platform also helps with hobby building, turn a passion into a side business, and entrepreneurs to launch their dream initiatives.

A teacher, artist, and calligrapher Fuziaite, Ravleen Kaur from Delhi, India, who participated during the lockdown comments: “Fuzia is a significant platform in my life. It helped me in promoting my work. Being the winner, in one of the contests, is a dream come true.”

Due to the switch to internet-based education, business and work, a study carried out by Statista on Digital users Worldwide shows that almost 4.57 billion people were active internet users as of July 2020, encompassing 59 percent of the global population.

In the case of Fuzia, users come from South Asian countries. For example, in India alone, there are over 560 million internet users. India is the second-largest online market in the world, ranked only behind China. It is estimated that by 2023, there would be over 650 million internet users in the country.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) estimated that about 60% of Indian internet users viewed vernacular content, and only about a quarter of internet users were over the age of 35 years in 2019.

The WEF also estimated that 1.1 billion Indians would have access to the internet by 2030, with 80% of the subscriber base primarily accessing the internet on mobile devices. The profile of India’s internet user base was predicted to diversify by 2030 with 80% of users accessing vernacular content and with users over 25 years, making up 45% of the total subscriber base.

Fuzia (https://www.fuzia.com), a platform founded by Riya Sinha and Shraddha Varma, has created a space where users can network, have a conversation, share their creativity, find work opportunities and study online provides a safe space for their community.

They ensure that profanity and hate speech is eliminated and so the engagement, which includes pre-teens to seniors, is affirming and positive.

They too provide an opportunity for people wishing to develop skills in various ways. Their English courses are popular, including short courses on spoken English, 70 common English phrases, daily vocabulary, common mistakes, and ways to improve with online English courses. All are fully supported by video content.

Those who do the courses find it fun and engaging. Sanna Sher (21) from Pakistan who is a native Urdu speaker, living in the United States comments that: “Learning to speak English confidently and fluently has been my goal for a long time. I found Fuzia, and this has made my learning much easier. The video clips and instructions are easy to understand, and I can access these anytime I wish, from the comfort of my home.”

There are speakers from various nations and various dialects who use the Fuzia platform. Under the discussion topics and threads, the users also help each other with tips to learn a lesson well.

The courses are also supported by video clips, provided by trained teachers and instructors.

“I was hesitant and worried that I might be judged for not understanding English well. But I see that there are many, in similar situations like me. This has given me the courage to reach out for help and engage in discussion. During COVID19 lockdown, I have made multiple friends, and together with Fuzia, we have learned to speak better,” Sher says.

As the majority of users use mobile phones the content has been designed to be short and practical. In fact, a mobile phone with a basic connection and a pair of headphones is enough to study, work, or learn from any location even while travelling, working at home, or carrying on with daily activities.

They have teamed up with industry leaders to provide free, state-of-the-art courses including practical skills like writing and others which can assist with societal issues like identifying and managing domestic abuse and violence, LGBTQI issues and others.

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© Inter Press Service (2020) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service



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