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Driving gender-responsive sustainable transformation

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Sangita Reddy

G20 EMPOWER is a global initiative that brings together government entities and private organisations from the G20 nations to propel women’s empowerment through education and economic participation.

The narrative of women’s empowerment took a significant turn when Prime Minister NarendraModi introduced the concept of ‘women-led development’. This innovative approach, specific to India, has now become part of the shared lexicon of G20 EMPOWER. It has shifted the focus from merely empowering women to fostering an environment where women are not just beneficiaries but also leaders of development.

Under India’s G20 EMPOWER Chairship, we have embraced this concept wholeheartedly and have strived to create a roadmap reflecting this narrative shift. Our focus is threefold: Education, Women’s Entrepreneurship, and Creating a Partnership for Promoting Women’s Leadership at All Levels. We believe that digital inclusion is a cross-cutting theme across these areas, and we are committed to ensuring that women have equal access to the digital tools and resources they need to succeed.

In the realm of education, we are advocating for enhanced access for women to STEM education and high-growth job opportunities. We encourage corporations to invest in apprenticeship programs and future-ready, inclusive curriculums. We are also urging governments to adopt a “whole-of-government” approach, with clear policies and legal frameworks that encourage continuous learning for women and girls.

In terms of Women’s Entrepreneurship, we have developed a comprehensive strategy to uplift women entrepreneurs, particularly those within micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). We believe that enabling women entrepreneurs to become strong pillars of the economy is a win-win scenario – a thriving economy coupled with enhanced gender equality. We are encouraging the private sector to step up, not only as financiers and procurers but also as mentors and enablers of growth.

We are also committed to promoting women’s leadership at all levels. We are developing capacity-building programmes to boost women’s progression to decision-making levels, introducing inclusive workplace policies, conducting regular reviews and publications of gender diversity metrics, and ensuring the safety and well-being of female employees. To empower women truly, we need to nurture their roles in leadership and decision-making across all levels of society.

We are particularly proud to spotlight the six tangible outcomes under India’s chairship of the initiative. Firstly, we have launched the TechEquity Platform, a unique digital platform designed to help women stay ahead through knowledge. Available in 120 languages, the platform is expected to reach at least one million women in the next six months.

Secondly, we have developed a KPI dashboard that provides a measurable and systematic way to track women’s empowerment and representation progress. By consistently tracking these figures using robust methodologies, we can identify patterns, root causes, and potential interventions to enhance women’s participation in all sectors.

Thirdly, we have created a Best Practices Playbook, a survey-based analytical tool that compiles best practices and is designed to share effective strategies and practices from around the globe. The 2023 edition of the playbook comprises 149 best practices from 19 G20 and guest countries.

Fourthly, we have curated a special section on inspirational stories on the G20 EMPOWER Website to highlight success stories of women achievers from across G20 nations and guest countries. As many as 73 inspirational stories from 10 countries are showcased on the G20 EMPOWER website.

Fifth, under our Presidency, India has continued to support the G20 EMPOWER initiative to expand the network of Advocates and adoption of the Pledge. G20 EMPOWER’s Advocates Network, which comprises influential organisations committed to promoting gender parity, has continued its expansion, reaching over 500 Advocates across the G20 nations.

In addition to these initiatives, we have also introduced the Gandhinagar Proclamation, a significant commitment from the private sector to gender equity.

Under this proclamation, companies pledge to ensure that at least 30 per cent of their workforce will be women. For sectors that already have a 30 per cent women workforce, the pledge extends to ensuring that women constitute 30 per cent of all levels of the organisation.

This powerful 30 by 30 declaration, aimed to be achieved by 2030, is a testament to our collective commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive workforce.

(The author is Chair of G20 EMPOWER and former president of FICCI; views are personal)


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