Hope W20 could help promote women-led businesses: Union Minister

Aurangabad: Union Minister Smriti Irani on Monday said she hopes that W20, an amalgam of best minds across the world, could guide how to use best practices from each country to leverage technology to encourage women-led businesses.

The women and child development minister inaugurated the two-day W20 (Women 20) inception meeting in Aurangabad in Maharashtra being held as part of India’s presidency of the G20 forum.

The W20 is an official engagement group under G20 and was established during the Turkish presidency in 2015. Its primary objective is to ensure gender considerations are main-streamed into discussions of G20 and get translated into the G20 Leaders’ Declaration as policies and commitments that foster gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

While talking about women’s participation in the agrarian sector, Irani said, “Today we have a 100 million women workforce in our agrarian society that envelops close to 6,22,000 villages in the country. We have 17 million women who are particularly devoting their time to animal husbandry.”

India has 800 million users of Internet. Will we reduce women only to users of technology, or shall we “leverage technology to bring equity”, she said. “I hope W20, the amalgam of best minds across the world, can also give us guidance on how to use best practices from each country so that we can leverage technology to build more on women-led businesses, for women in agrarian societies,” Irani said.

Out of three million women who are elected to political offices in the world, 1.4 million are Indian, she noted. The minister said 320 million loans were given under the MUDRA scheme, which was not a gender financial scheme, and 230 million of the beneficiaries turned out to be women.

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Speaking about climate change, she expressed the need of a first response framework for helping women and children in the climate change impact.

G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant, Chair of W20 Sandhya Purecha, Union ministers Raosaheb Danve, Dr Bhagwat Karad, state minister Atul Save and W20 chief co-ordinator Dharitri Patnaik were present during the event.

W20 India took over the presidency from W20 Indonesia on December 12, 2022.

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