Empowering Women for a Brighter Future: Catalyzing Change Through CSR

BusinessEmpowering Women for a Brighter Future: Catalyzing Change Through CSR

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By Simrat Bishnoi, Vice President – Content Mktg & Comms, PR, Social & CSR Amway India

With women comprising 53% of the employable population in India, we stand at the threshold of women’s empowerment, poised to unlock unprecedented opportunities for their advancement and societal progress. In the realm of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in countries like India, there is a strong focus on community-based development, particularly in empowering women. Corporations, regardless of size, are launching programs, forming partnerships, and implementing policies to uplift, educate, upskill, support, and enhance healthcare for women. These efforts not only demonstrate a commitment to gender equality but also contribute to socio-economic progress. At its core, CSR prioritizes empowering women, nurturing their entrepreneurial spirit, enhancing healthcare, and facilitating upskilling—all essential for fostering inclusive and equitable societies.

The Indian economy could experience a substantial 60 percent growth by 2025, adding a significant US $2.9 trillion, provided women are fairly represented. The Skill India Mission, launched in 2015, has empowered over 35.56 lakh women through skill training, enhancing their livelihood prospects. For sustainable progress, it is crucial for corporations to align with the government by prioritizing up-skilling to empower women to rejoin the workforce and spur new economic sectors. Empowering women is key to building thriving communities. Companies should prioritize women’s empowerment in their CSR efforts by breaking barriers and fostering opportunities for women to realize their full potential. This not only liberates them from traditional roles but also cultivates self-reliance, enabling them to actively contribute to vibrant and sustainable communities.

Economic opportunities play a pivotal role in driving socio-economic development and fostering inclusive growth. The Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation report shows that women constitute just 13.76% of entrepreneurs in India, underscoring ample opportunities for their economic independence. Consequently, the Government of India has substantially ramped up investment in skill development and employability training through its National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (2015).  This has led to the creation of additional opportunities for women and the integration of gender mainstreaming into the delivery of skill development programs. One such project that has been enabling women from several small villages in Sohna, Haryana, to build an entrepreneurial ecosystem is ‘Pehal’, which is part of the Nari Shakti initiative on livelihood development driven by Amway India. Operated by women beneficiaries, it’s a production and retail hub offering handmade products. Empowering women with resources can create a ripple effect, breaking the cycle of poverty and paving the way for a more equitable future through skill development investments.

Health stands as a critical pillar of CSR, especially in the realm of women’s wellbeing. Offering access to healthcare services, education on health issues, and facilitating preventive screenings empower women to proactively manage their health and enhance their overall wellbeing. Empowered women are more likely to have better health outcomes for themselves and their families. Notably, another community-based program, Power of 5 by Amway India, has made a significant impact by reaching over 4 lakh mothers and caregivers with nutrition-related interventions to address childhood malnutrition. Organizations can play a crucial role in improving the quality of life for women and their communities by addressing health disparities and promoting healthy behaviors.

To summarize, the effectiveness of CSR relies on collaboration with local communities, NGOs, and stakeholders to address women’s primary challenges. Through CSR initiatives, companies can promote gender equality, uphold women’s rights, and propel their social and economic progress, fostering a fairer, more inclusive society.

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