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Let Indian women do IT their way

Anand Parthasarathy

‘Live IT’ magazine targets contemporary women — not just technology professionals



WOMEN’S WORLD: (Clockwise from top left) An IT monthly for women and Internet portals SitaGita, Zapak Girls, Snehithi, mMyself and Glam.com.

BANGALORE: IT had to happen: an Information Technology magazine exclusively for Indian women.

Last month, the Delhi Press group, publisher of Woman’s Era and its sister editions in Indian languages, launched a monthly aimed at helping women ‘blend IT’ in their lifestyle. The glossy Rs.50-magazine, ‘Live IT,’ targets contemporary women — not just technology professionals.

The inaugural issue has a cover feature on Home automation solution; ‘Spouse with a mouse’: a feature on finding a spouse on the Internet; hints on cyber safety for kids --and in the best traditions of Woman’s Era, a short story with a cyber slant, “Hacker’s Cube.”

The magazine is only the latest in a series of initiatives reaching out to cyber-savvy women — or just homemakers who have access to a ‘connected’ computer and want to harness it to enrich their lives.

One of the oldest web portals catering for Indian women SitaGita.com, recently launched a BPO Blog for women in the contact centre industry. It offers a downloadable handbook, “Late nights, Coffee and BPO,” addressing various issues faced by women employees. ( www.sitagita.com)

Another women-centred Indian portal, Snehithi, features a Work At Home Opportunities (WAHO) page. Started in 2006 by a Bangalore-based team, it addresses a broad range of issues that will interest women, including fashion, recipes and festivals ( http://www.snehithi.com/).

When it comes to shopping for lingerie or seeking contraceptive products, many Indian women like to discuss their needs in privacy and are reluctant to walk into shops for these. From Delhi Navin Pandey has created mMyself ( www.mmyself.com), a web portal to address just this, with friendly advice, and a discreet online shopping service.

Web analysts have found that women-oriented sites are among the fastest growing and most visited sites on the Internet. The biggest such offering world-wide is Glam Media, which has just been credited with over 43 million unique visitors a month. The group with its flagship www.glam.com and a number of other fashion and style portals, is headed by the U.S.-based Indian Samir Arora.

Within the IT profession too, Indian women are carving out a separate space for themselves. The global fraternity of “Women in Animation” has an India chapter since 2006 and held its first national get together in Pune in June this year. The WiA-India blog ( http://www.womeninanimation.in/blog/), regularly features training and tutorial events in animation and multimedia, for and by women. And last week, IBM organised the first ever conference in India, focussed on “Women in Technology.” The IBM’s Indian researchers, interacted with a large number of women students in Bangalore, motivating them to consider a career in technology.

And where else in the world will one find a ‘women only’ online gaming site? Zapak, India’s largest web-based games portal, has a separate portal for women (http: // www.zapakgirls.com/).

Clearly, whether at work or at play, Indian women like to do IT their way.

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