Indian women who used social media to drive change and social impact
The breadth and power of social media may alter the path of a civilization, and its impact was particularly obvious during the epidemic, which was unparalleled in its scope.
Platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp bridged the gap and connected people and organizations with the necessary information at a time when social alienation caused many to stay indoors.
And now, months after the pandemic, the age of social media influencers has arrived, as they set about not only impressing but also influencing society, as they tackle social taboos with science and reasoning.
Women who have harnessed social media tools to help people across India.
When COVID-19 instances rose in India during the second wave in April 2021, Arpita Chowdhury, a twenty-year-old undergraduate student at Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi, was quick to use social media platforms to launch the #LetsFightCovidTogether campaign.
Arpita witnessed the pandemic's direct impact on kids from low-income and tribal communities. With the aid of her mother and uncle, as well as her NGO Jazbaat Foundation, she was able to assist a few Delhi-based students remaining in the capital and continuing their studies by providing them with housing, internet connection, and computers through the #educationforall campaign. Arpita and several other volunteers are providing coaching lessons and organising cash and in-kind gifts to children, allowing them to sit for board examinations and competitive JEE tests during the school year.
Arpita – recognised as COVID Sheroes by Twitter India – then maintained a live database of information around resources including hospital beds, oxygen supplies, medical aid, among others. Along with her friends Aarushi Raj and Shivani Singhal who are also college students, they verified the information coming their way and helped more than a thousand people.
Tanaya Narendra, popularly known as Dr Cuterus on Instagram, provides bite-sized sexual health information, one post at a time. She addresses everything from period discomfort, PCOS/PCOD, sex, reproductive health for both men and women, menstrual health, and hysterectomy, among other topics, as an Oxford-trained medical expert who believes in the importance of sexual well-being for overall health. She used her social media presence with over 500,000 followers during COVID-19 to highlight emergency requirements, such as medical beds and oxygen, and connect them with the appropriate services.
The influencer also promotes body positivity and calls out incidents of body and fat-shaming to educate the public about their social connections.
Opening up on social media apps was not unusual for many Indians in the
thick of the brutal second wave of COVID-19 earlier this year. When
Opening up on social media apps was not unusual for many Indians in the thick of the brutal second wave of COVID-19 earlier this year.
21-year-old Aanya Wig saw this, she felt helpless and anxious, so she acted quickly and formed the Covid Fighters (India) WhatsApp group alongside Arnab Biswas. She also distributed a spreadsheet outlining all available resources, such as hospital beds, oxygen support, ambulances, and food, and had volunteers verify their availability every few hours. Between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., they verified all of the information available on the internet, then responded to distress and SOS calls with roughly 500 volunteers.
She is now engaged in other social activities as the founder of Girl UpRise and a member of the Women’s Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WICCI) Anti Sexual Harassment Council.
Seema Mishra is well known for her social impact work and was awarded the Influencer of Ghaziabad title by Womennovator. The 47-year-old registrar and academic head of the ICR ILAM group mentor several companies and founded the Develop India Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to education and environmental issues.
When COVID-19 hit, Seema joined forces with a group of volunteers to assist migrants on their long trek back home during the initial statewide lockdown. She's also used her social media network to gather food, hospital beds, and other medical supplies.
To ensure that the coronavirus spread is controlled, Seema is raising vaccine awareness to quell people’s hesitancy towards taking the jab.
Maggie Inbamuthiah is a Bengaluru-based environmentalist who is also interested in inclusion and diversity, and the intersection of technology and society.
She coordinated a team of volunteers in South Bangalore to answer more than 40 SOS calls per day during the COVID-19 crisis in India. Maggie and her team used social media to spread the word about the need for hospital beds and EMCO equipment and ensured pregnant women sending requests found appropriate medical help. She was recognised by Twitter India as COVID Sheroes.
Maggie is the founder of Mandram, an NGO that supports regional language conversation, and Happifeet, a startup that connects people with nature... She is also an outspoken supporter of women in STEM.