Smriti Irani to launch an initiative to improve female participation in workforce
Business Journal , Jun 19, 2020
Women should not merely be the users of technology but the owners of technology, said women and child development minister Smriti Irani, during a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry-FLO (FICCI-FLO) event on Friday.
Pushing for women empowerment, the minister said women should be encouraged to participate in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and should be taught how to handle personal finances and investments in order to be more self-reliant.
Irani was speaking at a video conference to launch FICCI-FLO’s ‘The Greater 50%’ initiative that focuses on improving the participation of women in the workforce, right from self-help groups (SHGs) to board members of large companies.
“The Economic Survey found that 60% of women in India in the productive age were just engaged in house work. Their participation in the labour force had reduced from 36% (2015) to 26% (2019). And in India’s 158 largest companies, women hold only 15% of board seats,” said Sangita Reddy, President of FICCI.
The initiative will focus on a number of objectives which include impacting the lives of 1 lakh women over the next 12-18 months, the acceleration of women-owned businesses, increase in women participation in the workforce, improving the ratio of women in leadership roles on corporate boards and favourable policy changes.
“Increasing women’s labour force participation by 10 percentage points could add $70 billion to India’s GDP by 2025 – highest relative GDP growth of 18 per cent above business as usual,” Reddy said.
The minister highlighted the government’s efforts that focuses on women including the gender responsive procurement initiative in which certain government procurement is reserved for women-owned enterprises and the more recently the measures in the Atmanirbhar Bharat package.