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Google India committed to mentoring 1 million Indian women entrepreneurs: Blinken
Washington: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday (local time) said that Google India has committed to mentoring 1 million Indian women entrepreneurs at the launch of the US Strategy on Global Women's Economic Security.
"At the alliance's launch, Google India committed to mentoring 1 million Indian women entrepreneurs; we're working with other partners to increase that number. That would have a remarkable impact," said Blinken. Highlighting US-India Alliance for Women's Economic Empowerment, he said, "We're working to both create and also, as appropriate, replicate efforts like the US-India Alliance for Women's Economic Empowerment. That connects the private sector and civil society to provide Indian women with technical skills and networking opportunities to help them grow their businesses."
Blinken also vowed to promote women's entrepreneurship by addressing some of the challenges that too often hold women back, including a lack of membership - of mentorship and training opportunities.
This was his first event of the year 2023. He said that President Biden came into office with a commitment to gender equality and equity because, as he put it, and I quote: "governments, economies, and communities are stronger when they include the full participation of women."
Blinken laid down some strategies for creating a world in which all women and girls everywhere can contribute to and benefit from economic growth and global prosperity.
"Closing the gender gap in the workforce by 2025, as you've heard, would add up to USD 28 trillion to the global economy. Especially at a time when we are working to recover from COVID, deal with the impact of climate, address the many conflicts that are also holding back the global economy, that contribution is more vital than ever," added US State Secy.
The strategy focuses on breaking down some of the barriers that stand in the way of women to full economic participation - discriminatory policies that perpetuate unequal pay or limit access to credit that women entrepreneurs and innovators need to start and grow businesses; laws that ban women from energy, manufacturing, and other industries in certain countries; attitudes and practices that drive women out of education and out of the labor market.
Speaking about Afghanistan and the recent decree of the Taliban that disallowed university education and working of women in NGOs, he said, "we're committed to standing up for women wherever their rights are threatened, including in Afghanistan, as unfortunately, we continue to see deepen and get worse."
He focused on supporting women and girls in all of their diversity, including the women who most often face the greatest and highest barriers, such as those from marginalized backgrounds, religious minorities, those with disabilities, and LGBTQI+ people.
Explaining the strategies, Blinken said that the US will advance women's economic competitiveness so that more women can fully participate and lead in all sectors, in all industries - including as CEOs and board members.
"One way we're helping to do that is through programs like WE-Champs, which will provide technical assistance and training to women's chambers of commerce and business associations in 18 countries across Europe to support women-owned small businesses," said Blinken.
Regarding strengthening the foundational support - child care, elder care - that allows women to participate equitably in the economy, he said, "COVID-19 forced millions of women around the world to withdraw from the workforce to take on caregiving responsibilities for their families. So we will expand access to options so that caregivers, most of whom are women, can actually return to work. To do that, we're supporting programs like the World Bank's Invest in Childcare initiative, which will help improve access to quality, affordable child care in low- and middle-income countries around the world."
He also emphasized dismantling some of the societal, legal, and regulatory barriers that stand in the way of having a level playing field, like laws that make it more challenging for women to work in certain roles, limiting their career progression.
He gave the example of gender equality in the World Bank and said, "World Bank - women have equal legal economic standing with men in 12 countries around the world - 12 countries around the world - including through equal pay and legal protections in the workplace." (ANI)