A Global Alliance to Bridge the Gender Equity Gap

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    Syllabus: GS 1/Women Empowerment 

    Context

    •  India has successfully established the “Global Alliance for Global Good- Gender Equity and Equality” during 54th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

    About the Alliance 

    • It was anchored by the CII Centre for Women Leadership, guided by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Government of India and supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    • It will have a global network of experts, think-tanks, industry and country leadership that will drive collective actions to augment women empowerment. 
    • The initiative builds on the commitments of the G20 Leaders’ Declaration and India’s dedication to women-led development.

    Importance of Alliance

    • Women play an integral part in society; without their progress, the overall progress of society comes to a halt.
    • Societies in which women see consistent growth have been known to prosper themselves. 
    • It is through the empowerment of women that societies can ensure their growth as well.
    • Their economic empowerment drives development, and their access to education drives global progress. Their leadership promotes inclusivity, and their voices inspire positive change.
    • Therefore, Global Alliance for Global Good- Gender Equity and Equality aims to bring together global best practices, foster knowledge sharing, and attract investments in key areas such as women’s health, education, and enterprise.

    Achieving Gender Parity is Considered Important for Several Reasons

    • Human Rights and Equality: Gender parity is rooted in the principles of human rights and equality. It emphasizes that all individuals, regardless of their gender, should have equal opportunities, rights, and responsibilities.
    • Social Justice: Gender inequality has been a long-standing issue, and addressing it is essential for promoting social justice. It aims to eliminate discrimination and bias based on gender, allowing individuals to be treated fairly and with dignity.
    • Economic Growth: Research suggests that gender diversity in the workforce contributes to economic growth. Companies with diverse leadership and workforce tend to be more innovative, make better decisions, and outperform their less diverse counterparts.
    • Improved Governance: Gender-balanced representation in political and decision-making processes leads to more inclusive governance. Policies and decisions are likely to reflect a broader range of perspectives, contributing to more comprehensive and effective solutions.
    • Health and Education: Gender parity is closely linked to improvements in health and education outcomes. Ensuring equal access to education and healthcare for both genders can lead to healthier and more educated populations.
    • Social Stability: Societies with greater gender equality tend to be more stable. Reducing gender-based discrimination and violence contributes to social harmony and cohesion.
    • Role Modelling: Achieving gender parity provides positive role models for future generations, challenging stereotypes and encouraging young individuals to pursue their aspirations without limitations based on gender norms.
    • Global Development Goals: Gender equality is a key component of several international development goals, including the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Working towards gender parity contributes to the achievement of broader development objectives.
    Present Scenario in India
    – There has been an increase in India’s female labour force participation rate, from 23.3% in 2017-18 to 37% in 2022-23 (data from the annual Periodic Labour Force Surveys). 
    Female enrolment in higher education has gone up by 28% in the last 10 years. 
    – In terms of enrolment in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) courses, the share of women is a significant 43%, which is one of the highest enrolment rates in the world. 
    – Even within rural India, there is a participation of over nine crore women in 83 lakh self-help groups, improving the socio-economic conditions in rural areas. 
    a. All these provide a glimpse of women-led development that India is witnessing.
    About one-fourth of the space scientists in India are women. The talent and hard work of women scientists are behind the success of our flagship programmes like Chandrayaan, Gaganyaan, and Mission Mangal.

    Issues and Challenges

    • The development models adopted by countries describing themselves as democracies (mainly developed countries in the West) have led to obscene inequalities between countries, between the rich and the poor within countries, and between men and women.
    • A crucial obstacle to the progress and advancement of women and girls across geographies is the pronounced gender-based digital divide
    • There is a decreasing government investment in projects and schemes meant for women’s development. 
    • Another wicked challenge disproportionately impacting women across the globe is the climate crisis.
    • Women entrepreneurs hurdle more barriers compared to their male counterparts in starting, operating, and growing enterprises
    • These obstacles include poor access to capital, markets, and skills, as well as technological, social, cultural, and psychological constraints.

    Related Steps of India 

    • Mainstreaming gender equality and equity has been a key development area for the Government of India for over a decade now.
    • The passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill, ensuring reservation of a third of seats for women in Parliament and the State Assemblies, is a revolutionary tool for women’s empowerment and is expected to contribute extensively to improving the processes of India’s governance. 
    • Allocations of nearly $27 billion under the gender budget in 2023-24 are a manifestation of the commitment of the government to advancing women-led development.
    • Stand-Up India aims to promote entrepreneurship amongst Women, Scheduled Castes (SC) & Scheduled Tribes (ST) categories and help them in starting a greenfield enterprise
      • 80% of the beneficiaries under Stand-Up India are women
    • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) :PMMY was launched for providing loans up to Rs. 10 Lakhs to non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises
      • Around 70% of the loans have been sanctioned to women entrepreneurs under PMMY  
    • It has been decided to set up a new working group on the empowerment of women under the chairmanship of India in the G20 summit.

    Conclusion and Way Forward 

    • The most effective way to empower women is through a women-led development approach. India is taking steps in this direction. 
    • India took the mission for gender equity several steps ahead with the launch of the ‘Alliance for Global Good – Gender Equity and Equality’.
      • It  is an opportunity to learn and develop solutions with the global community to advance our commitment to increased engagement and leadership of women within the economy, through increased access to health care, education opportunities and economic opportunities
    • We must work to remove barriers that restrict women’s access to markets and global value chains. 
    • At the same time, we need to ensure that the burden of caregiving and domestic work is addressed appropriately.
    • There is also a need to reduce the burden of unpaid care work, boosting demand for women’s employment, promoting digital skills, and enhancing urban infrastructure to facilitate women’s mobility and economic engagement.

    Source:TH

    Mains Practise Question 
    [Q] Equality and inclusion are the cornerstones of India’s development journey.In the light of the statement above, discuss the importance of Alliance for Global Good – Gender Equity and Equality.