July 10, 2024

Delivering the Vision of Women-Led Development in India

How WEConnect International is Supporting India’s New Approach to Gender Equality

In 2023, during India’s G20 Presidency, the country led a pivot from “women’s development” to “women-led development,” reaffirming the fundamental importance of gender equality and underscoring that an investment in women is key to yielding significant social and economic impact worldwide.

WEConnect International applauds this shift and has been working hand-in-hand with global and regional partners in India to support women business owners and amplify buyers committed to gender inclusive sourcing.

In February, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, WEConnect International convened a series of summits in three cities across India, bringing together more than 450 government officials, corporate leaders, women business owners, and other champions of women’s economic inclusion in India. The Empowering Inclusion–Advancing Sustainable Value Chains Summits were designed to facilitate discussion on inclusive sourcing and explore how governments and corporations could strategically harness their purchasing power and leverage new policies to cultivate more inclusive supply chains.

To build on that progress, WEConnect International CEO and Co-Founder, Elizabeth Vazquez, penned an op-ed for Forbes India in May, calling on the Indian government to undertake policy reforms to support women and accelerate women’s economic empowerment. Read it here.

“While India is among the fastest-growing global economies and has the third-largest startup ecosystem, it currently ranks 57th out of 65 nations according to the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) and 70th among 77 countries on the Female Entrepreneurship Index,” Vazquez wrote. “These rankings demonstrate the urgent need for further policy-level actions to enable more women-owned businesses to contribute to India’s economic growth.  Policy makers must do more to work with the private sector and civil society to deliver on the powerful vision of Women-Led Development as a model for the rest of the world.”

The work continues – WEConnect International is gearing up for another major regional conference in Bangalore, India, on August 7. The event will feature discussions with major corporations on how to disrupt global supply chains to make them more inclusive for women in India, spotlights of Indian women-owned businesses, business matchmaking, inspirational speakers, networking opportunities, and more. Learn more.

To learn more about WEConnect International and our work on the ground in India and South Asia, click here.

Are you interested in supporting our efforts in India? Contact Eroshan Alagaretnam, Regional Director for South Asia, at: ealagaretnam@weconnectinternational.org.