Women need to be at centre of decisions for future-ready society: Smriti Irani

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Agra: Union minister Smriti Irani on Saturday said women have to be at the centre of any discourse and decision for a future-ready society.

Speaking at the G-20 Empower Inception meeting, the women and child development minister said India is keen to play a key role in finding pragmatic global solutions for the well-being of all and, in doing so, manifest the true spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one family).

Irani particularly emphasised the scale of India’s self-help group (SHG) story and highlighted the importance of women’s leadership at the grassroots levels and efforts towards ensuring the availability of banking and financial services to every woman.

“If you want to get your future right, if you want to be future-ready, make sure that women are at the centre of the discourse and that women are at the centre of your decisions,” the minister said on the first day of the two-day meet.

Besides, she also cited the quest for gender justice in India through a gender inclusion fund in the National Education Policy, construction of toilets for every household and introduction of a menstrual hygiene protocol.

The summit aims to provide an opportunity to develop a roadmap, frame policies and for mobilising common strengths towards promoting equality and women-led development.

Irani also underlined that the three focus areas under India’s G20 presidency are — “Women’s Entrepreneurship: A win-win for Equity and Economy”, “Partnership for promoting women’s leadership at all levels including at grassroots” and “Education, the key to women’s empowerment and equal workforce participation”.

In his special address, G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant focused on how India holds the G20 presidency at a time the world is facing several challenges such as those of recession, climate change, the need for climate finance and more.

Kant said India’s G20 presidency will be inclusive, decisive, outcome-oriented and action-oriented and nobody can achieve this more than the women of the world.

He said to further increase India’s rate of growth, it would be essential to raise the per capita income of women and put them in positions of leadership.

Kant talked about various initiatives taken by India that have been driving women’s empowerment, such as the Jan Dhan Yojana, the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana as well as recent budgetary provisions aiming to scale up the SHGs.

He said the recommendations of the G20 Empower initiative may find a place in the Leaders’ Communique and shall resonate with India’s ambitious outcomes.

Women and Child Development Secretary Indevar Pandey said in the 21st century, global growth will come from the countries of the South and India has the potential to demonstrate the leadership of the Global South by showcasing women’s leadership and innovation and highlighting their concerns and potential.

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( With inputs from )

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