Indian Village Bans Unmarried Women And Girls From Using Mobile Phones

from the sexist,-moi? dept

It’s fairly widely accepted that the key digital device in the future will be the mobile phone, not the desktop computer that has had such an impact on Western society for the last few decades. That’s partly a question of cost — if devices are to reach even the poorest in emerging economies, they must be very cheap. But there are also other factors, such as the mobile phone’s small size and portability; its rugged design and ability to cope with intermittent power supplies; and the built-in Net connectivity that more or less comes as standard.

But not everyone is delighted at the prospect of this powerful technology becoming pervasive. Here, for instance, is a depressing tale from India:

A village council in the state of Bihar this week prohibited unmarried women and girls from using mobile phones, saying that they promote extramarital affairs and unsanctioned marriages and erode the moral fabric of society. Married women will be allowed to use them only indoors and in the presence of a relative.

Well, perhaps mobile phones have indeed contributed to affairs, but logic dictates that there was probably a man at the other end of the conversation, and it’s quite likely he was using a mobile phone too: why not ban all unmarried men and boys from using them, and only allow married ones to make calls under supervision of their relatives? The answer, of course, is that this is not about “eroding the moral fabric of society”, but about power, and in particular the erosion of traditional male power in the village:

Many villagers, male and female, attended a village meeting Sunday about the ban, and most favored it, particularly older people, Mr. Alam said. He presided over the meeting. The panchayat [unelected council], which is made up entirely of men, also barred women from bathing outdoors, at water pumps or in ponds or canals.


The village’s top elected official, Shamina Khatoon, a woman, was not invited to the panchayat’s meeting on Sunday.

Which is pretty strange, since she is both the top official in the village and a woman, and so might be expected to offer a useful perspective on the proposal.

Other comments from the New York Times article indicate that Indian officials are investigating the matter, which at least offers some hope that the ban will be rescinded. Whatever happens, this incident confirms that one of the best ways of empowering women and weakening the grip of patriarchal power is to help them acquire them mobiles cheaply. Moore’s Law and mobile companies eager to sell phones and contracts to anyone, whatever their gender, will make sure that happens whether the village elders like it or not.

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Comments on “Indian Village Bans Unmarried Women And Girls From Using Mobile Phones”

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Tunnen (profile) says:

Seriously, I think I’ve far exceeded the amount of BS I can absorb in one day… I just don’t understand how the human race as a whole can be this idiotic… From bank robbers with no common sense, to abuse of power by officials, out of control greed, PC vs Christmas, political childishness, and all this racism and sexism… It’s too much! I’m going to go curl up under a rock for the rest of the week for fear of what will happen next…

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:


Orly? It’s the same crap that’s been going on forever: “Chess will lead the the downfall of society” “Electric lights will only promote rape” “Rock and roll music is the leading cause of moral bankruptcy” “Violent video games create psychopathic murders” “Teleportation will be the leading cause of bank theft” (etc etc ad nauseaum).

Seriously, same shit, different day. Never ending cycle, apparently.

out_of_the_bob says:

Are they sexist? or prepared?

How typical of Michael Masnick (who did not write this article but i’m certain maintains a psychic link with Moody) to advocate more innocent people to become subject of the mental drain perpetuated by the great Googlenet. Much like a yoke saddles an ox, Google saddles the human race with their cleverly disguised mobile tracking devices which wirelessly drain the human psyche with the power of their reptilian influence. Even now google’s satellites are understanding, coming to full terms with the mental influence that thousands of enslaved humans all around the world as they plan their eventual leap from google-enabled technology into our spirits to permanently close our third eye (Apple users will be forced to use the web version of this app).

Of course the Yurimnars and Yorgps of Techdirt wouldn’t understand the true intentions of the google L’serbauns. They have already been enslaved by the google mental network, preventing those just like these commenters from connecting the dots and seeing how Google is truly enslaving the human race one techdirt story at a time. It’s a common tactic on calling these village elders sexist, when we should be thanking them for having the spiritual insight of seeing straight through the google conspiracy and protecting their women from the vile influence of Google. It is comforting to know that even people halfway around the world are taking measures to protect themselves from the various Google arms that are stealing portions of our lives, bit by bit. When the great yarmpnt happens and we become little more than slaves to the reptile elder gods who permeate time and space, the only ones left with a free spirit will be the hoarders of tin-foil, me, and the women of Bihar.


lfroen (profile) says:

Yes, they are sexists. So what?

Not every society on face of Earth is developed in same way. Some went forward, some little late, while others are stuck in equivalent-to-medieval.
What’s so new about it? Go to Africa and see tribes hunting with spears and/or praying to totems. Or go to some muslim countries and see local Inquisition version in action.

In short – give them 100 years and they will change many of their ways.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Don't Feel Too 'Holier Than Thou'

Before we get to feeling too superior to these backwoods, retrograde, patriarchal idiots…let’s not be too cocksure.

(I loved using that word here.)

Lets we forget, we’re the country of “legitimate rape”, mandatory internal ultrasounds, and other such fundamentalist fantasy.

We may be ahead of Sunderbari Bihar, on an evolutionary scale, but not by much.

Now, what I say we do to solve this problem is to send Kevin Bacon into their town, and baby, just start danciiiin.

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