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Empowering Indian women will add millions of businesses, jobs: Facebook

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New Delhi, March 1 

As four out of five women in India wish to become entrepreneurs, the country is missing out on a potential 15.5 million new businesses and 64 million additional jobs by not addressing the challenges facing such women, a new Facebook study said on Wednesday.

The study revealed that if just 52 percent of women were empowered to start a business today, it would not only boost economic growth, but also help to build 15.5 million new businesses, and create 64 million additional jobs — all by the end of 2021.

“If we were to harness the largely untapped potential of women’s entrepreneurship and provide them greater support, it could lead to more jobs being created, economic growth and more diverse and representative small business communities,” Ankhi Das, Director of Public Policy, Facebook India, South and Central Asia, told reporters here.

Women have had tremendous potential but often lacked platforms that can harness their potential, but Facebook is opening up great opportunities for them, added Aruna Sundarajan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).

“We are very optimistic about partnering with platforms like Facebook to empower women. We are trying to forge deep partnerships with platforms like Google, Cisco and Intel for the betterment of woman’s livelihood through technology,” Sundarajan told the gathering.

Ahead of the International Women’s Day that falls on March 8, Facebook also launched “SheLeadsTech”, a programme that will give women-founded/co-founded start-ups access to a year-long programme that provides tools, mentorship and resources to help overcome some of the barriers they face.

“Facebook, with its two powerful initiatives #SheMeansBusiness and the new #SheLeadsTech programme, has opened up lot of opportunities for young woman entrepreneurs whether in small towns (with access to internet) or suburban areas — with or without access to financial resources,” Sundarajan emphasised.

The year-long #SheLeadsTech programme will include access to “FBStart” which grants access to FBStart tools and resources and mentorship through a regular cadence of interactions with a pool of mentors.

According to the findings, the most commonly cited reason that prevents women from setting up their business in India is the constraint of family responsibilities or commitments (38 percent).

Other key barriers are lack of access to finance (29 percent), worry over personal financial security (30 percent), and having an idea but not knowing where to get started (30 percent).

Interestingly, small businesses on Facebook tell a different story.

There are more than two million active small businesses Pages on Facebook in India — and an increasing number of women are using this community to start and grow successful businesses.

In the last five years (between 2012 and 2016), the number of new women-owned SMB Pages on Facebook in India has increased seven-fold, growing 85 percent year on year from 2015 to 2016.

Nearly 87 percent of women surveyed also agree that having access to the right digital tools and support would help them get their business off the ground.

“We see amazing examples of how digital can be the equalizer on Facebook every day. How it gives women access to new opportunities, new markets, new ideas, all from their own home,” Das added.

Facebook’s SheMeansBusiness was launched on International Women’s Day in 2016.

Through this initiative, Facebook has visited 18 cities across six states in India, providing skills training to more than 14,000 small business and self-help groups including 4,500 women entrepreneurs across the country.

This year, Facebook is targeting eight new states including Jammu and Kashmir.

“With technology empowering Indians all over, women can benefit the most. It is because traditionally women do not have access to other forms of support. The easiest way to reach out is technology platforms which gives them ascess to best practices, mentors as well as help in crowdfunding,” Sundarajan said.

(IANS)

Health

Radiation from smartphones may up miscarriage risk: Study

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New York, Dec 14: Pregnant women’s exposure to non-ionising radiation from smartphones, Bluetooth devices and laptops may more than double the risk of miscarriage, a study has showed.

Non-ionising radiation — radiation that produces enough energy to move around atoms in a molecule, but not enough to remove electrons completely — from magnetic fields is produced when electric devices are in use and electricity is flowing.

It can be generated by a number of environmental sources, including electric appliances, power lines and transformers, wireless devices and wireless networks.

While the health hazards from ionising radiation are well-established and include radiation sickness, cancer and genetic damage, the evidence of health risks to humans from non-ionising radiation remains limited, said De-Kun Li, a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente — a US-based health care firm.

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, the team asked for 913 pregnant women over age 18 to wear a small (a bit larger than a deck of cards) magnetic-field monitoring device for 24 hours.

After controlling for multiple other factors, women who were exposed to higher magnetic fields levels had 2.72 times the risk of miscarriage than those with lower magnetic fields exposure.

The increased risk of miscarriage associated with high magnetic fields was consistently observed regardless of the sources of high magnetic fields. The association was much stronger if magnetic fields was measured on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.

The finding also demonstrated that accurate measurement of magnetic field exposure is vital for examining magnetic field health effects.

“This study provides evidence from a human population that magnetic field non-ionising radiation could have adverse biological impacts on human health,” Li noted.

“We hope that the finding from this study will stimulate much-needed additional studies into the potential environmental hazards to human health, including the health of pregnant women,” he said.

IANS
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Samsung likely to lose ground in smartphone market in 2018

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Seoul, Dec 14: Tech major Samsung Electronics Co may lose ground in the smartphone segment in 2018 due to surge of Chinese smartphone manufacturers, an industry tracker said on Thursday.

“Strategy Analytics said the company is expected to post a market share of 19.2 per cent in the global smartphone industry in 2018 by shipping 315 million units, down from 20.5 per cent estimated for this year”, IANS quoted citing Yonhap News Agency reported.

According to the experts, the weaker outlook comes as rival Apple Inc is anticipated to expand its presence in the high-end segment, while Chinese companies are quickly making inroads to the industry with affordable devices.

“While the iOS-powered smartphones do not have competitors, Samsung will face tougher challenges in the Android segment,” said Park Nam-gyoo, a professor of business at Seoul National University.

With this, for the very first time Samsung will post a decline in smartphone shipments on-year, excluding 2016, when the company suspended the production of Galaxy Note 7 because of safety issues.

However, Samsung Electronics did not reacted on the outlook yet.

In the meantime, Apple is predicted to take up 14.3 per cent of the market in 2018 by shipping 234 million units, up from 14 per cent posted this year.

China-based Huawei Technologies Co and OPPO Electronics Corp are also expected to expand their shares to account for 10 per cent and 7.8 per cent, respectively in 2018, the data revealed.

WeForNews 

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Twitter launches live stream of Gujarat assembly elections

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New Delhi, Dec 14: Social media giant Twitter on Wednesday announced that it will live stream the conversations related to the high stakes Gujarat assembly elections on its platform as the political interest and discourse on the polls generated over 800,000 tweets in the last week on the microblogging website.

The live stream of elections will be available in English and Hindi, and will take place on Thursday when the second phase of polling is being held, and on counting day December 18, news agency IANS quoted citing the company said in a statement.

“We are excited to launch the first live stream of elections in India providing people with the opportunity to follow all the election-related action in real-time, with the best analysis and commentary in the business,” said Amrita Tripathi, Acting Head for News Partnerships, Twitter India.

The live stream is available for free to logged-in and logged-out users on the microblogging website and connected devices globally.

Each stream will be accompanied by a Twitter timeline depicting in real time Gujarat Election-related conversation.

In November, Twitter observed a growing interest in Gujarat politics as conversations related to the Assembly election climbed to 20 per cent.

The social media titan also introduced initiatives like real-time updates on the campaign trail and connect electors to politicians on key issues.

The company also revealed an emoji, available till December 22, which can be activated using hashtags such as #GujaratElection2017, #GujaratElection, #BattleforGujarat or #ElectionCaravan.

WeForNews 

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