“India now signals that we are moving from women's development to women led development. Women represent almost half the population in our country and have the capacity to drive and strengthen the economy. The Government of India is therefore, committed to creating an inclusive society for them and ensuring adolescent girls have access to resources as well as opportunities,” said Smt Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister of Women and Child Development, Government of India, speaking at the Session on Women’s Economic Empowerment: Inclusive Prosperity at the Indo-Pacific Business Summit organized by CII in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Government of India.
Recognizing that a nation can truly achieve its potential when its women become self-reliant, the government is working on sustained action that helps women participate, the Minister added. She stated that owing to the focus on education as well as skills for this section, there has been an emergence of women not just in traditional sectors like garments and textiles, but also non-traditional sectors focused on innovation and software.
Ms Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mauritius mentioned that nations need to develop smart macroeconomic policies which help in exploiting the women’s potential to the fullest as the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionally affected the women engaged in caregiving and informal sectors. She said that the present economic architecture of the Indo-Pacific region must focus on formulation of policies that promote shared prosperity via economic independence and autonomy of women.
Ms Angélica Romero, Director General for Economic Multilateral Affairs, Chile, stated that the focus of the authorities has been on adoption of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that promote and advocate for gender equality. These agreements have detailed work plans that focus on providing access to capital, leadership positions, and skillset development among women.
Ms Änjali Kaur, Deputy Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Asia, USAID stated that USAID has been working aggressively with governments and donors to provide finance, education, and proper training to women for helping them transition from the informal to formal work segment.
Ms Radhika Prabhu, Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, US Department of State remarked that the US government is actively engaged in working with other nations, the private sector, and civil society to bolster women's economic investment across the Indo-Pacific region.
Dr Mukesh Aghi, President & CEO, US India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) noted that as the employment is picking up, there must be greater focus on women’s participation in the economic landscape. Dr Aghi mentioned that there is a need to address wage discrimination to truly ensure an inclusive growth.
Ms Patricia Saenz, Managing Partner, EWA Capital, Colombia stated that in an endeavour to promote women entrepreneurship, EWA Capital decided to invest 80% of the funds where women were co-founders, at C-levels or where women were customers. Highlighting the need to adopt a gender smart approach, she mentioned that investors were encouraged to create an inclusive work culture and provide women with unbiased opportunities.
Ms Tulsi Mirchandaney, Managing Director, Blue Dart Aviation, India, focussing on the aviation sector, stated that conventionally it was a male dominated sector but now there are 8% women pilot which is a commendable development.
Ms Shobana Kamineni, Past President, CII & Chairperson, CII Internal Leadership Initiative and Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals highlighted that with the participation of women falling in the workforce post the COVID-19 pandemic, timely and critical policy interventions are needed. She stated that as women are losing their livelihoods in the current scenario, there is a greater need for inculcating inclusivity and enhancing accountability in the private sector.
Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, earlier in his opening remarks mentioned that women’s economic empowerment is crucial for every nation’s holistic prosperity, especially in the post pandemic era and it is imperative to address the deep-rooted structural inequality which prevents female participation in the workforce.
8 July 2021