With the demographic dividend being designated as one of the five interrelated pillars of the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan, India needs to strive for women-led development that makes women the leading force of our development trajectory.
The rationality of the focus on youth and women is premised on the role this segment plays in pushing the country’s agenda for sustainable development by 2030 and its ambition of a $5 trillion GDP by 2025.Women, in particular, have the potential to generate 150–170 million jobs by 2030 and add $700 billion to the GDP by 2025 through workforce participation.
But the present context indicates there is work to be done before we reach there. Gender gap unemployment has expanded. Women joining the workforce has dropped from 32.2 percent in 2005 to 23.4 percent in 2019. The scene looks grimmer in the current COVID scenario with job loss for women standing at 26.3 percent while the same for men is at 23.3 percent.
Evidently, women’s participation in the economic process needs to be intensified if India were to truly become an ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat.’ Education and empowerment are the two critical pillars in this pursuit. Special focus should be placed on women from economically backward section whose access to learning and economic resources is meagre, further limiting livelihood opportunities.
Smile Foundation has been working for over 18 years now to prepare a cadre of educated, confident, trained, aware and healthy women through our initiatives in education, healthcare, community engagement and livelihood. We believe that when women are empowered, families get healthier, communities become prosperous and the nation progresses.
- Over 4 million girls and women have been benefited in total.
- Around 180,000 girls have been provided education and nutrition under our Mission Education programme. Over 5000 adolescent girls have received scholarship support to complete their schooling and higher studies.
- More than 3.5 million women have received healthcare services with focus on maternal and child health.
- Nearly half a million women and girls empowered with awareness and life skills on a varied range of topics including reproductive health, menstruation, healthy eating, self defence, etc to navigate everyday life with enhanced ability and confidence.
- Over 25,000 girls have received skill training for employ-ability. In addition to this, projects on vocational training, entrepreneurship and financial literacy have enabled thousands of women to become economically independent.
- Through door to door visits and counselling, male engagement and community involvement, awareness sessions and rallies, street plays and talks, lakhs of community members have been sensitised to create a women and girl child friendly society
To support Smile Foundation’s women empowerment programme and to know more visit https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/she-can-fly/