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‘Women can add as much as USD 28 trillion to the world’s GDP by 2025’

Monday, January 23, 2017
By Dominic Rebello

“Research reports have clearly indicated that if we can increase women’s involvement in mainstream economic activity by completely bridging the gender gap, it could add as much as USD 28 trillion to the world’s GDP by 2025!” said Rupa Naik, Executive Director, AIAI at a panel discussion on 'Technology propelling women's foray into business' held at World Trade Centre Mumbai last week.

Social media, technology, Startup India initiative of the government, entrepreneurship skills have made it easy for women to foray into different streams of business and make a name for themselves.

“Empowerment of women in any society starts with political will and leadership, as legislative actions, self-regulatory frameworks and implementation measures are all necessary to achieve desirable results,” said Ulrika Sundberg, Consul General of Sweden, at the precursor event of the 6th Global Economic Summit on Women’s Empowerment (March 27-29), being organized by All India Industries Association (AIAI) and World Trade Centre Mumbai.

Deputy High Commissioner of Bangladesh Samina Naz said that technology had a positive impact on the economic empowerment of women. She added that advancement and empowerment of women in Bangladesh had a long track record and the United Nations had acknowledged the country’s remarkable achievements, with Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina receiving the UN 50-50 award in 2016.

Saroja Sirisena, Consul General of Sri Lanka said that though most women-led businesses in her country were not tech-driven or tech-intensive, all of them had easy and equal access to technology. More and more Sri Lankan women were now addressing issues using social media. She said Sri Lanka had a great tradition of treating women as equals, longer than most countries, and could achieve a lot without much affirmative action.

Rosimar Suzano, Consul General of Brazil said that the government in her country was trying to reach out to the poorest using technology. She said Brazil had made great strides in furthering women’s causes and that people in the country were now discussing the concept of shared parenthood.” She said that companies going through tough times used to fire women first but now supporting legislation was changing the paradigm.

Jennifer Larson, Deputy Principal Officer of the US Consulate said that though technology in the US had played a gender-neutral role, it had also empowered women in various innovative ways to participate in the economy. She said that education held the key to true empowerment. “When you educate girls, they participate in economic activity and the GDP goes up.”

Novelist and Activist Tuhin Sinha said it was an interesting time to be born a woman in India, as the society was at the cusp of a progressive revolution leading to gender-neutral perspectives. The Indian society needed a lot more role-reversal to empower women.”

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