New Delhi: In India, access to the internet is still a privilege, at least for women. The ratio of men to women with access to the internet remains heavily skewed in favour of men. For every 10 internet users in India, 7 are men, while just 3 are women.
This however, is changing and changing fast. A major catalyst driving this change are new age social media apps in regional Indian languages, removing barriers of entry, especially for women.
ShareChat, a regional social media app with 40 million users, offers content across 14 regional languages. User case studies have now begun to emerge with clear patterns of change evolving. The patterns are similar to how English social media users have behaved in the past as well, using the platform for not just social interactions, but to display talent, find users, create spheres of influence and even conduct full-fledged businesses.
Take the example of Shana Nazrin from Mallapuram in Kerala. Shahana is a young entrepreneur from Malappuram who sells fashion related stuff on ShareChat mainly dresses and accessories with around 16K followers. She was a homemaker but she wanted to be a business woman sitting at home. She initially tried Facebook and Instagram but she did not receive the intended traction from these platforms mainly because of language barrier. When she heard about ShareChat, she believed that ShareChat would be the most comfortable platform for her to run business.
Platforms such as ShareChat are catering to this new internet audience, which is aspirational and isn’t afraid to go out there and interact with strangers, even if that means going against that standard bounds of patriarchy and conservatism. An example is Sakshi Bharat Jadhav (Name changed on request). Sakshi runs a business by the name of @shoppingalltime. A homemaker from Solapur City in Maharashtra, Sakshi mainly sells different types of sarees, hand crafts, one-gram plating jewelry. Her husband isn’t aware Sakshi is on the platform. In just under 2 years Sakshi has done business for Rs. 400,000 via ShareChat. Sakshi she has around 21K followers on ShareChat.
“I have regained my confidence that i can do something of my own through Sharechat. Being on the platform has helped me build my business from the core and two years down the lane, i am still getting good response from ShareChat users and I am excited about building it further. ShareChat has helped getting business across cities,” Sakshi said.
Users are also leveraging these platforms in innovative ways as far as talent showcase is concerned. Pooja SriDevi was a young girl when an accident caused debilitating injury. Today Pooja has over 3.5K followers on Sharechat and spends her time on ShareChat creating lyrical videos in Telugu.