Women entrepreneurs are significant contributors to the global economy. In India, about 15% of unicorn startups have at least one-woman founder. The combined value of these women-led unicorns is over 40 billion dollars. This was said by Prime Minister Narendra Modi while addressing the G20 Ministerial Conference on Women Empowerment in Gandhinagar, Gujarat via video message today.
PM Modi highlighted the significant contributions of women entrepreneurs to the global economy.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Addressing the G20 Ministerial Conference on Women Empowerment. <a href="https://twitter.com/g20org?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@g20org</a> <a href="https://t.co/mR5omtFHZf">https://t.co/mR5omtFHZf</a></p>— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) <a href="https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/1686611212048736256?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">August 2, 2023</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Creating a Level Platform for Women Achievers
In his address, Prime Minister Modi emphasized the need to create a level platform where women achievers become the norm. He stressed the importance of removing barriers that restrict women's access to markets, global value-chains, and affordable finance.
Furthermore, he acknowledged the necessity of addressing the burden of care and domestic work to enable women to focus on their entrepreneurial pursuits.
“However, our goal should be to create a level platform where women achievers become the norm. We must work to remove the barriers that restrict their access to markets, global value-chains, and affordable finance. At the same time, we need to ensure that the burden of care and domestic work is appropriately addressed,” he said.
G20 Ministerial Conference on Women Empowerment
The ministerial conference, under India's G20 presidency, commenced in Gandhinagar with the aim of discussing gender parity and finding ways to tackle critical global issues, including climate change and sustainable development. The conference, chaired by Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Irani, sought to draw attention to the insufficient progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the uneven recovery from the pandemic while emphasizing the need for women-led development.
Empowering Women for Global Progress
Prime Minister Modi emphasized the vital role of women in driving global progress. He highlighted that when women prosper, the world prospers. Their economic empowerment fuels growth, access to education drives progress, their leadership fosters inclusivity, and their voices inspire positive change.
Women Empowerment in India's Democracy
India's President, Shrimati Droupadi Murmu, sets an inspiring example as she comes from a humble tribal background and now leads the world's largest democracy while serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the world's second-largest defence force. India granted equal voting rights to all citizens, including women, from the beginning of its constitution. Women representatives in elected bodies have been key agents of economic, environmental, and social change, with 46% of elected representatives in rural local bodies being women, the Prime Minister said.
Women-led Development in India
PM Modi highlighted that India has been prioritizing women-led development, evident from various government initiatives. Around 70% of loans under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, supporting micro-level units, have been sanctioned to women. Similarly, 80% of beneficiaries under Stand-Up India, availing bank loans for greenfield projects, are women. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has provided nearly 100 million cooking gas connections to rural women, positively impacting the environment and women's health.
Women at the Forefront of Science, Technology, and Space
Modi said that India has witnessed a remarkable rise of women in technical education, with nearly 43% of STEM graduates being women. Approximately one-fourth of space scientists in India are women, contributing to the success of flagship space programs like Chandrayaan, Gaganyaan, and Mission Mars. Women have also excelled in aviation, with a high percentage of female pilots in civil aviation, including those flying fighter aircraft in the Indian Air Force.
Women's Role in Environmental Conservation
Women in India have historically played a crucial role in environmental conservation. In the 18th century, the Bishnoi community led the 'Chipko movement' to protect trees from unregulated logging, led by Amrita Devi, who sacrificed her life for the cause. Modern initiatives, such as 'Mission LiFE,' have women acting as ambassadors for lifestyle changes based on traditional wisdom, focusing on reducing, reusing, recycling, and repurposing.
Modi said, “Under various initiatives, women are actively getting trained in making solar panels and lights. The 'Solar Mamas' have been successful collaborators with our partner countries in the Global South.”
Women Empowerment and Cooperative Movements
The Prime Minister highlighted inspiring stories of women's entrepreneurial success in India, such as the historic cooperative movement 'Shri Mahila Grih Udyog' initiated by seven Gujarati women in 1959, transforming the lives of millions through products like Lijjat Papad. Women have also been the driving force in the dairy sector, with 3.6 million women involved in the dairy industry in Gujarat alone.
Launching Tech-Equity Platform and Establishing a Working Group on Women Empowerment
The Prime Minister commended the focus on women's entrepreneurship, leadership, and education in the conference and expressed delight at the launch of the 'Tech-Equity Platform' to enhance digital and financial literacy for women. He also announced the establishment of a new Working Group on 'Women Empowerment' under India's G20 presidency.
Prime Minister Modi praised the efforts of the conference in Gandhinagar, expressing confidence that their untiring efforts would inspire and empower women worldwide. With a focus on women-led development and increased support for women entrepreneurs, India aims to create an inclusive and prosperous future for all.