I conducted the 'Women Digital Skills Training' of women who are sales professionals in a leading direct sales company, Amway here in Bangalore, India. We assembled together, each one of us travelling a sizable distance, it was extraordinarily hot (summers are here and this year it is unbearably hot with many power cuts in a day!) but we managed well. We chose a space that was like being home together and learning something together.It was an effective training consisting of an introduction to digital skills, what women are missing out on if they lack these skills,the purpose of the training being to empower women and girls through use of digital skills and internet, enhancing their ability to access information and opportunities and tell them about World Pulseas a great source of empowerment for women. We played games, did few exercises together, learnt the skills and did a roll-out together opening new e-mail accounts, setting up Skype on smartphones and laptop. The participants enjoyed the training so much that I might just have another planned by them of a larger sales group in the coming few days. The best part was my World Pulse sister from Nigeria, Busayo Obisakin from Women Inspiration Development Center was a guest speaker in my session and I demonstrated how two women can connect using digital skills and support each other in spirit and work. Sister Busayo infused my trainees with motivation and delivered a powerful personal account of how digital skills had enhanced the quality of her life and relationships.
While establishing the thumb rule and the benefits of acquiring digital skills I found that my participants like most women in Indiafeel digital skills is a man's domain. I heard one participant reveal, 'My male colleagues often talk about LinkedIn but I never found out what it is !' Another participant shared her apprehension of being online out of fear of online abuse or misuse of her personal pictures.
During the course of the training, power went off suddenly. We were in a dark house. Internet stopped connecting(the house was at the end of a lane and connectivity is a problem in few houses). We moved to a room that had more natural light.Repeated calls to guest speaker ,Busayo Obisakinfailed. I used my experience to keep trying using different mediums and applications and Busayo on the other hand had thesensitivity as a Global Digital Trainer that connectivity and quality are always issues and hung on for us on the other side, waiting for connecting again, sending us voice messages so that we could bank on them if nothing worked out. With persistence and skills, we were finally able to connect to Busayo after a 20-minute struggle.
It shared with my participants that it is going to take time to begin using digital tools but what was most important is to decide in their minds to begin the journey and do away with all the pre-conceived notions that the world of internet is a man's domain only.
I think I can never forget whatBusayo Obisakin said in the training-
' What I have achieved in the last 6 years due to digital skills and connecting to the world through internet, I have not been able to achieve without it in 40 years.'
Five women in Bangalore in India embraced digital skills and internet into their lives. Training women on digital skills is a solution to bridge the gender digital divide that exists in the world today. Like I have Busayo Obisakin and she has me, every woman too can earn a friend, confidante and supporter if becomes digital savvy. And that is just the beginning of a great journey.