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The Internet Is In Danger of Becoming A Lonely Wasteland For Indian Men

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Millions of Indian men and women rely on online matrimonial sites to find a suitable match through arranged marriages. That’s not all, online dating, while being a relatively new trend, is catching on in urban centres. However, the business of matching Indian men and women online has a serious problem that could grow worse in the coming years.

It appears women are not keen on using these sites and the men that sign up are finding it difficult to meet women who meet their expectations.

I saw this issue first hand!

Let me rewind to 2016. I launched Jodi Logik to help men and women create a marriage biodata. In about a year’s time, over 15000 people have created their marriage biodata using my site. They found my site mostly through search engines like Google. I did not target men or women separately through ads or other forms of paid promotions using social media.

When I looked at the customer data, only 32% of those that signed up in a 12-month period were women. This data has no relevance for my business as I don’t offer matchmaking services. But if I were to offer matchmaking services, the 7:3 ratio of male and female customers would annoy the largest chunk of my customer base (i.e. male) and probably creep out the female customers who receive a deluge of responses from anybody and everybody.

The last thing dating sites and matrimony sites want is a hoard of young men logging on to their sites only to log out disappointed. In fact, some of the dating sites shut shop or pivoted their business model precisely for the same reason.

Alarm bells started ringing in my mind and I decided to dig into the issue a little more. Luckily, I stumbled onto data that told me that the lopsided sex ratio was not unique to my business alone.

Indian Women Are Indeed Scarce Online

WomenWill is an initiative by Google that aims to provide tools for women to leverage the internet. They surveyed over 828 women in India (in the 18-55 years age group) on their Internet habits and here are some findings:

  1. 49% of women surveyed don’t see any reason to access the internet
  2. 43% of women are not interested in anything that the internet offers
  3. 42% need help or guidance to use the internet

The survey also highlighted some of the access barriers women faced.

According to the survey report, “Both users and non-users of internet (women) are wary of undesirable content online. Other barriers include connection issues, affordability and time — many of our respondents said managing their household left little time for what’s perceived to be a leisure activity.”

The report also highlights the problem of shared devices in a family and lack of privacy for women to use the Internet without being judged by other family members.

Are There More Reasons?

I felt that the Google WomenWill study only highlighted the symptoms of a malady. I was determined to dig to the bottom of this issue. Next, I reviewed data on the overall internet penetration in India and here is what I found.

According to the ‘Digital In 2017′ report by We Are Social and Hootsuite, India has India has amongst the lowest internet penetration. All the hype about Digital India notwithstanding, India, with just 35% Internet penetration, trails behind countries such as Egypt and Nigeria.

Image Credit: Hootsuite and we are social

The problem of a small base of Internet users in India is compounded by the shockingly huge online gender disparity. Case in point is the gender distribution of Facebook. Out of the 190 Million Facebook users, only 24% of the users are women!

It’s just not Facebook, other popular social media platforms face the same issue. The Observer Research Foundation studied 23,350 tweets in an eight-day period to conclude that women in India are significantly underrepresented in conversations on platforms like Twitter.

This lopsided Internet user data is a reflection of the real India

Sobering Facts

I soon realised that the real issue is not just the adverse online gender ratio in India. It is the adverse gender disparity that women in India endure across the board in almost every social domain.

  • According to the 2011 Census data, India has 943 females for every 1000 males in the population. This is just the start. Child sex ratio (the number of girls for every 1000 boys up to the age of 6 years) is actually declining!


  • 82.14% of males are literate, while only 65.46% of females are literate as per the 2011 Census data. India has over 3.7 million girls out of school. The gender disparity in education eventually leads to fewer opportunities to get online.


  • According to the UN, the average age of Indian women at the time of marriage is 20.2 years. This places the status of Indian women in the league of least developed nations in Africa. This data also explains the constraints women face in accessing the Internet as they are busy raising children or tending to the needs of the husband.

In summary, what started as a project to learn about a potential business challenge eventually led me to a fundamental issue that India needs to address – the issue of gender inequality. Unless and until gender disparity is tackled on a war footing, the dream of a prosperous and vibrant India will remain just that – a dream.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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