India Unveils Several Initiatives to Attain Gender Parity

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India has introduced several initiatives to attain gender parity in various sectors

Gender parity in businesses is one of the most important things most of developing nations focus on and India is no exception. To give an impetus towards gender equity various initiatives have been floated.

In two major developments, technology giants Google and Visa have announced individual initiatives (respectively) that will help women entrepreneurs gain skills and investments for their businesses. And in a third instance, the Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM) launched an initiative to strengthen the efforts of scientifically inclined women. It is a special drive for supporting Women in Engineering, Science & Technology (WEST).

Google announced the first cohort of 20 women-founded/co-founded startups, selected from close to 400 applications under its ‘Google for Startups Accelerator[1]India Women Founders’ programme. It further stated that its women-focused accelerator program would help these startups in areas such as — access to capital, resolving problems in hiring talent, mentorship and other allied challenges faced by women entrepreneurs.

The project, to be implemented in 170 villages/towns across Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, will train over 8,500 women. It will focus on creating sustainable, long-term skills for entrepreneurship among participants and provide women entrepreneurs with financial services relevant to their enterprises and communities.

Google India’s accelerator program will also host workshops and provide support to startups in areas such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud, UX, Android, web, product strategy and growth. It will further connect them with a global community of women entrepreneurs.

In another initiative, Visa has pledged USD 1 million to United Way Mumbai (UWM) to empower women-owned and women-focused businesses over the next three years The project, to be implemented in 170 villages/towns across Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Maharashtra, and Karnataka, will train over 8,500 women. It will focus on creating sustainable, long-term skills for entrepreneurship among participants and provide women entrepreneurs with financial services relevant to their enterprises and communities.

“At Visa, we have strongly advocated and supported the growth of small businesses particularly those focused on women,” Sandeep Ghosh, Group Country Manager, India & South Asia, Visa, said while speaking to media. He further added that this partnership with United Way Mumbai will impart financial and entrepreneurship skills to women from communities that do not enjoy the same access and privileges as many others.

The Visa-UWM project has been created to target three core impact areas: access to knowledge and services for financial inclusion, entrepreneurship development, and the formation of sustainable self-help groups.

Through the WEST initiative, women will get more opportunities to enhance their skills and with this experience, more women can become consultants or even entrepreneurs. In addition, a digital consortium “Connect Quickly” for online discussion and immediate support has also been established through the I-STEM WhatsApp and Telegram platforms. A dedicated team of women will ensure the successful implementation of the WEST initiative.

The new WEST initiative strengthens the idea of “Equal Opportunities to All”. As it has been seen in the past that women have remained aloof from the technology sector. With fewer opportunities, the gap was critical to the bridge. But now with a targeted appeal, it would invite more engagement to scientifically inclined women.

And would also give a push to the women who took a career break from the S&T domain.

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