In her remarks yesterday during the session dedicated to women's economic empowerment at the Indo Pacific Business Summit being held over a virtual platform, the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Devi Koonjoo-Shah, underlined the need to accelerate actions for enhanced inclusive economic empowerment of women.
The Minister stated that while the Government of the Republic of Mauritius has made remarkable stride on the overall status of women, namely regarding social power, the score for economic power on the African Gender Development Index Report indicated the persistence of gender disparities.
On this account, Mrs Koonjoo-Shah welcomed the focused session on the theme Women's Economic Empowerment: Inclusive Prosperity, which, according to her, provided a platform for eminent personalities and experts to find new pathways within the Indo-Pacific and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) regions to address, and meet head on, various challenges. She affirmed that women's economic empowerment remains a prerequisite for sustainable development.
Speaking of the way that women have been impacted more disproportionately by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister appealed for a collaborative approach to cope with the situation. "We are duty bound to implement smart macro-economic policies whereby women's potential skills and talents are fully exploited", she said.
Also participating in the session, the Minister of Women and Child Development and Textiles of the Government of India, Mrs Smriti Zubin Irani, highlighted the progress achieved in India regarding women's empowerment. She cited as one of the many examples, the latest Cabinet reshuffle where more women were given ministerial responsibilities, thus leading to an equitable representation of gender across India. She is of the view that India is now rapidly moving towards women-led development.
Moreover, Mrs Irani underscored that a nation can only be truly great and maximise its potential when women in that country get the opportunity to realise their whole potential and become economically self-reliant. She added that bold and sustained actions are required for women's voices to be heard.
Furthering the gender equality agenda though women empowerment
Discussions, during the dedicated session, focussed on the various aspects of gender equality and what needs to be done from an economic perspective. Participants stressed that gender diversity has a positive impact on society and brings a competitive advantage to any organisation. They also talked of the necessity to increase women participation and leadership role with a view to achieving development objectives, and of the rights of women to self-determination and individual choice.
It is recalled that the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, is organising the first edition of the Indo Pacific Business Summit from 6 to 8 July 2021, over a virtual platform. Representatives of Governments, Enterprises, Business Chambers, Think Tanks and Academia from some 21 countries of the Indo-Pacific region, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Chile, Colombia, France, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Maldives, Mauritius, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, the United Arab Emirates and the United States of America, are exploring the avenues to enhance economic partnership and collaborate for future economic development.