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Girls just wanna have fun

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DQW Bureau
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Traditionally, women have lagged behind men in the adoption of Internet-based

technologies, but a recent study released by the Pew Internet & American Life

Project has found that women below the age of 30 have outpowered men in Internet

usage.

The Washington-based organization, which has been conducting surveys on

different aspects of technology and Internet usage for several years, has

demystified the disparity across age groups. The report found that 86 percent of

women between 18-29 were online, compared to 80 percent of men in the same age

group.

Back home, according to an IAMAI-IMRB survey, March 2008 saw 43 million

active users online. It also revealed that 38 percent of Indian Internet users

(14 mn) spent an average of eight hours per week online. While working women

spent an average of 535 minutes a week on the Internet, non-working women spent

334 minutes a week.

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The urban woman is surely giving stiff competition to her rural counterpart

and vice versa-online. Web 2.0's final frontier, before it morphs itself into

Mobile 2.0 or something else, seems to be luring the independent Indian woman to

embracing the power of the Internet, to connect with one another. Ladies-only

networking sites are suddenly gaining mass acceptance and online gaming sites

are dedicating separate sections for women. We even came across a site dedicated

to women jamming up and planning foreign holidays together.

Home Networking


www.sitagita.com

According to Nirmal Mirza, CEO of Sitagita.com, a ladies-only networking site

which has been around for more than eight years, women from all over the country

are doing small but significant businesses from home, and her website hopes to

connect all of them. She explains: “Every working woman goes through a stage in

her life when she takes an extended maternity leave, when she keeps off work and

embarks on her hobbies seriously. These hobbies could be anything: jewelry

designing, saree patterns, or interior decoration.

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Sitagita.com has created an extensive business directory in order to connect

them with each other. In other words, it is both a B2B and B2C site dedicated to

women. The site's Women's Home Business Directory has categories like beauty,

food and entertainment, flowers, health, music/dance, and tuitions. Each section

has a huge number of listings from women who post their profiles, contact

details, and brief descriptions of nature of work. “Suppose there is a saree

designer in Salem, and a woman in Mumbai wants to purchase her designs, this

forum will help them connect with each other. In the course of time, with

broadband connectivity becoming widespread, Sitagita hopes to cater more to the

rural market, since we feel the real motto of the website-empowering women

through the Web-will be realized there,” says Mirza.

Cyberspace seems to be

luring the women in India with everything from home jobs to online gaming

and everything in between

All-women Getaways


www.wowsumitra.com

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Sumitra Senapaty's WOW Club, which stands for Women on Wanderlust, is

probably India's first travel site for women. Sumitra, a travel enthusiast,

embarked on the idea of WOW when she was holidaying in Kerala with her extended

family. “As a strange coincidence, each and every male member of the family

happened to drop out of the trip, leaving about a dozen women alone. We went

ahead as planned, and were quite surprised to find out that though our age group

ranged between 16-60, we still had common topics to talk about. This is when the

idea of WOW dawned on me,” says Sumitra.

WOW members have traveled to locations like Egypt, South Africa, China, and

Ladakh. The site features photos and blogs of WOW travails besides the tour

calendar for the next year. All one needs to do to become a member is register

herself with the website. Sumitra says, “In today's age, a woman need not always

travel with her spouse or family. The new age woman, who works hard through the

day and takes on the role of a wife or daughter post work, deserves a break once

in a while. This is the sentiment behind WOW.”

Play Your Games


www.zapak.com/zapakgirls

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Zapak, the country's first online gaming portal, recently announced an

impressive chunk of space for Zapak Girls, a section dedicated to young women

who have a passion for massively multiplayer online games (MMOG), including

strategy games, arcade games, even select war games, and puzzle games.

Zapak has created exclusive content for this section-virtual casinos,

cooking-based games, home management games, besides a regular dose of popular

Indian and international titles that are updated every week. The Indian lineup

is quite impressive too, with comic games like Akhiyon Se Goli Maare, a game

where you device strategies to deal with goonda-mawalis who tease you as you

travel along the cyber highway. Another example is the woman against man or

woman against woman Panja games where the strongest elbow wins.

In order to complete the girlie experience, the site also features an offer

by a cosmetic brand that helps you replicate Deepika Padukone's Om Shanti Om

look.

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Gang Up


www.sunsilkgangofgirls.com

Initially, this website comes across as a desperate attempt by a shampoo

manufacturer to appeal to the teenybopper audience using the Internet, but a

serious evaluation of the portal makes us realize that it is one of the very few

that have taken women seriously. It features things like women-only blogs,

in-house job portal exclusively for women, and discussion forums on home

improvement, adventure sports, and relationship management.

Men, however, are restricted to only 'viewing' the pages. They cannot

participate in discussions, can't even access the blog section, and to make

matters worse, if one logs in as a male, he is automatically classified as a

'desperate man'.

Vishnu Anand



maildqindia@cybermedia.co.in

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