Empowering women social entrepreneurs in India

Adam Pillsbury  – The Guardian News – Friday, 08 November 2013 (originally published 05 Nov)

Women gathering India
Women gather together inside India to work toward sustainability and empowerment. The new ‘Young Women Social Entrepreneurship Development Programme’ is now also working to bring women the skills they need to become active members at the highest level of of India’s society. Image: Paul Prescott/Alamy

New ‘Young Women Social Entrepreneurship Development Programme’ in India is to identify women working in social enterprises and train them to become ‘Master Trainers’

The economic reforms India launched in 1991 have led to a quadrupling of its GDP, a doubling of hourly wages and the emergence of a new middle class. However, 350 million Indians still live below the poverty line and struggle to access basic education, health care or proper nutrition.

Social enterprises offer a way for more poor Indians to share in the country’s growth and provide innovative, sustainable solutions to its entrenched social problems. Hope for the future is also invested in India’s women. Currently, only 39% of Indian women are formally employed, compared to 81% of Indian men and 71% of Chinese women. Moreover, India scored second to last, behind Egypt and Morocco, in a Gender GEDI Female Entrepreneurship Index measuring women entrepreneurs in 17 countries. Increasing Indian women’s participation in the labour force will enhance productivity and growth. It will also help to reduce the gender-based inequalities and social pressures that restrain female employment and entrepreneurship.

This is the context in which the British Council and partner Diageo launched a ‘Young Women Social Entrepreneurship Development Programme’ in India last month. . .

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