G20 Thematic Workshop on Nari Shakti: Towards Women-Led Development organised by NITI Aayog and IWWAGE
A workshop on the theme of Nari Shakti: Towards Women-led Development, emanating from the New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration 2023 (NDLD 2023), was held on 8 November 2023 at New Delhi. The workshop was organized by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Institute of What Works to Advance Gender Equality (IWWAGE). This workshop was part of the series of thematic workshops steered and anchored by the NITI Aayog towards action items in the NDLD 2023.
The workshop focused on specific themes for enhancing the role of women in economy through economic and social empowerment. Discussions were held of topics of strengthening women’s collectives like Self-Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs); bridging gender skills gap and promoting women entrepreneurs; and strengthening legal safeguards for women’s empowerment.
The Workshop commenced with inaugural remarks by Dr. V.K Paul, Member NITI Aayog, where he highlighted that women-led development has been emphasized by our Hon’ble Prime Minister through various initiatives and programmes over the last few years. However, he underscored the challenge of low female labour force participation and stressed upon leveraging their social capital by providing them an enabling ecosystem. He called to synergize pathways of G20 priorities and national agendas, and create actionable strategies to achieve the same.
Dr. Preetam B Yashvant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Development, emphasized of the paradigm shift where women are no longer recipients but active participants in the development discourse. He further highlighted that G20 was truly a Peoples’ Presidency where women-led development was showcased through ‘Jan Bhagdari’ activities.
Dr Sandhya Purecha, Chair W20 India, highlighted that Nari Shakti encapsulates the strength that women embody and women-led development is a moral obligation necessary for equitable society.
The theme on Women in the Economy: Enhancing Women’s Economic and Social Empowerment delved into increasing women’s labour force participation to achieve women-led development. Issues like recognizing gender disparity in domestic and care work; and increasing investment in this sector to enable more women to participate meaningfully in the workforce; exploring the potential of gig economy; bridging gender skill gaps and social security for women; enhancing policies to create gender inclusive and supportive workplaces; and role of private sector to enhance and retain female workforce, were discussed.
The theme on Women’s Collectives: Strengthening SHGs, Women led FPOs and Rural Women’s Leadership Abilities focused on sharing the best practices in the women’s collectives’ space and strategies to scale them pan-India. The segment engaged in developing strategies to enable these women’s collectives reach the next stage of economic empowerment through formation of large producer enterprises or collectives and fostering leadership abilities among rural women.
The theme on Women and the Future of Work: Bridging Digital and Skilling Gaps for Access to Jobs and Strengthening Women’s Entrepreneurship concentrated on enhancing women’s access to digital skills and infrastructure, prioritizing quality and safety, to ensure a secure and inclusive digital literacy experience, fostering greater participation in the digital ecosystem. It also focused on incentivizing employers to promote women’s participation in non-traditional sectors by addressing structural issues that shape gender roles, thereby encouraging women’s entrepreneurship and diversification of career aspirations.
In the segment of Legal Safeguards for the Empowerment of Women, discussions focused on creating an enabling ecosystem by prioritizing women’s safety through improved public infrastructure, strengthening the implementation of gender-friendly laws by effective monitoring, evaluation and placing accountability system, and developing gender-disaggregated data for more evidence-based policy for women-led development.
This workshop provided a platform for experts, academics, experts, and civil society and think tank representatives working on gender empowerment to collaborate and design a roadmap for comprehensive gender equality and empowerment.