Path for Women-Led Development


    In Context

    The Prime Minister of India urged G20 Ministers to adopt a “game-changing action plan for women-led development.

    About Women-Led Development

    • It is a gender-transformative approach that foregrounds the role of women’s leadership for achieving progress.
    • The G20 Summit in Delhi adopted a Declaration which resolved to set up a “working group on the empowerment of women.” 
    • Need 
      • 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.
    • The Government of India considers women led development a central dimension of India’s progress and a necessity for strengthening India. 

    Status and Progress  in India 

    • India has been at the forefront of advancing women-led development and promoting gender equality. 
    • India has been advocating for the inclusion of gender considerations in policy making and creating a world of equity and dignity for all women.
    • India has also made significant progress in the realm of women’s rights at the global level.
      • In September 2020, India was elected a member of the prestigious UN Commission on the Status of Women
      • India also appointed its first woman President of the Council during its Presidency of the UN Security Council in December 2022.
    • India has signed several UN Conventions, including the Convention on Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), Beijing Platform for Action, and the Convention on Rights of the Child, among others. 

    Data Analysis 

    • The presence of girls/ women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is 43%, which is one of highest in the world.
      • 46% of elected representatives in rural local bodies in India are women.
      • More than 80% of nurses and midwives in India are women. 
      • Around 70% of the loans under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana have been sanctioned to women. 
      • Similarly, 80% of beneficiaries under Stand-Up India are women, availing bank loans for green field projects.
      • About one-fourth of space scientists in India are women.
        • Behind the success of our flagship programmes like Chandrayaan, Gaganyaan and Mission Mars lies the talent and hardwork of women scientists
      • In India, about 15% of unicorn start-ups have at least one-woman founder. The combined value of these women-led unicorns is over 40 billion dollars.


    • the Central government has launched numerous welfare schemes that have aimed to empower women and make them lead India’s development journey
    • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana(G): It was launched in 2016, with the objective of constructing 2.95 crore house

    As of February, 2023 ,over 69% of houses are either solely or jointly owned by women.

    • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:It was started in May, 2016 with an objective to provide clean cooking fuel to poor households across the country.  
    • Under PMUY, a deposit free LPG connection is provided to adult women from poor households.
    • Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) : Realising the problems faced by women and children on account of the lack of toilets, Prime Minister launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in  2014 for providing toilets to all households in the country over a time period of five years
    • women have been the biggest beneficiaries of this programme.
    • Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM): Launched by Prime Minister in  2019, the core objective of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is to improve the lives of people, especially women and children, by ensuring clean tap water supply to every rural household and public institutions in villages by 2024.
    • Mission Shakti: It is an Umbrella Scheme for Safety, Security and Empowerment of Women .
    •  Stand-Up India, POSHAN Abhiyaan, and PM Mudra Yojana have contributed to increasing the scope of women’s entrepreneurship.
    •  The National Education Policy (NEP), 2020 prioritises gender equity.


    • The Sustainable Development Goals have specific targets to address gender gaps.
      • However, “At the midway point to 2030, the global progress on SDGs is off-track with only 12% of the targets on track.”
    • South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa see a disproportionate number of adolescent girls and women struggling with underweight and anaemia
    • India shows only 43% women having used the internet, thus it hampers women’s empowerment through learning digital skills. 
    • It is known that women’s entrepreneurship lags globally. 
    • Women-led development schemes conceal the reality of decreasing government investment in projects and schemes meant for women’s development. 
    • The Gender Budget was started in 2005-2006.
      • The total Gender Budget for 2023-2024 was reduced from 5.2% of the total expenditure the previous year to 5%.
    • The share of women in regular waged work fell in India, according to an analysis of the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), from 21.9% in 2018-2019 to 15.9% in 2022-2023. 
    • Over 90% of women are in the unorganised sector with no job or income security.
      • According to the PLFS survey, the share of women engaged in agriculture has increased to 64.3% in 2022-23 from 55.3% in 2018-19. 

    Conclusion and Way Forward

    • With India’s G-20 Presidency initiating the transition to Women Led Development, the formation of a working group on Women’s Empowerment is particularly promising for continued focus on entrepreneurship, job creation in STEM and green sectors, better financial access, increased leadership opportunities, and improved health outcomes.
    • There is a need for a fundamental shift: viewing women as architects of progress rather than passive recipients. 
    •  It is a rallying call to ensure that no woman is left behind in the stride towards progress and equality, in line with the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development.  
    • Sensitising communities about discriminatory practices, fostering the impact of women empowerment, and creating awareness around the value of women across sectors is pivotal. 
    • To truly empower women, systemic alterations are essential. This includes policy interventions, diverse diet sources, nutrition counselling, and ensuring inclusive decision-making bodies. 
    • 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.


    Mains Practice Question 
    [Q] Around the world, a new discourse on women-led development (WLD) has begun to emerge. In the light of the statement above examine women’s condition in India .