Hon’ble Union Cabinet Minister Smriti Irani, along with Amitabh Shah – Founder, Yuva Unstoppable and team
New Delhi (India), February 22: Invest in the girl child, it will take the county far ahead was the clear and simple message shared by Union Cabinet Minister and Head of Ministry of Women & Child Development Smriti Irani when she received and hosted a delegation of philanthropists and patrons of Yuva Unstoppable led by its Founder Amitabh Shah on 1st February 2023 in New Delhi. The team of 15 philanthropists included leading corporate and NGO representatives who shared their work and experiences in the development sector in India with the Hon’ble Minister.
|“I urge all corporate houses to look at gender equity not only from a philanthropic lens but include it into the ethos and running of your companies. Increased women representation on boards, management and into the workforce will pave the way for a prosperous and successful India” – Smriti Irani, Union Cabinet Minister|
The Hon’ble Minister Smriti Irani shared her vision of a gender-equal India with the delegation, wherein she urged corporate houses to give equal emphasis and importance to gender equity. It is estimated that roughly 33% of the workforce in India belongs to women; this number needs to reach a formidable figure. The recent Wheelbox India Skills Report has shown that the percentage of employable women has grown to 52%, with the largest concentration coming in from the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh. Despite this figure, participation in the workforce remains low due to fewer jobs available despite sometimes being more qualified than their male counterparts. The need is to invest in identifying talent and providing skilling and creating the adequate infrastructure and support mechanisms necessary to ensure women are equally represented in the workforce. The power of the media and advertising can also be used towards this aim; the Hon’ble Minister felt that making branding and advertising more female-centric will lead to further empowerment. A recently published EY Report holds some good news for ‘Diversity in the Boardroom’, with nearly 95% of the NIFTY 500 companies having one female board member. A concentrated effort on the part of the government as well as the corporate sector to increase this number further was one of the key takeaways for the delegation.
|“I was left extremely impressed and humbled by this interaction and insights from Smritiji. We know we are on the right track at Yuva Unstoppable as we send a message out to all the young girls who aspire to achieve the success that self-belief and a little guidance and support from institutions such as Yuva Unstoppable will make them indeed UNSTOPABBLE!” – Amitabh Shah, Founder – Yuva Unstoppable|
This unique opportunity of interacting with and learning from the Union Cabinet Minister was also presented to two girl students who are both Yuva Unstoppable Scholarship recipients. After going through a rigorous selection process which includes personal interviews, background checks, and home visits, needy and meritorious students are selected for the Yuva Unstoppable Scholarship Scheme. The Hon’ble Minister heard the story and journeys of these students and encouraged them to believe in themselves, dream and aspire to be successful and contributing members of society. During the pandemic, Yuva Unstoppable empowered young girls through the provision of tablets, ensuring there was no break in their education.
Taking this lead forward, RITES CSR Head – Mr. Mahesh Sreenivasan, who was part of the delegation, shared the transformational work being carried out by his company in partnership with Yuva Unstoppable in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The program focuses on transforming anganwadis through a multi-dimensional approach focusing on nutrition, sanitation, health and education for women and children.
The delegation led by Amitabh Shah resonated with the suggestions put forth by the Hon’ble Minister of her vision for a more equitable and developed India. This unique opportunity for interaction across various ecosystem players will go a long way in advancing the cause of empowerment further.
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