Set-up quotas for women to enhance their decision making role, says MoS Anupriya Patel

New Delhi [India], Jan 13 : Establish quotas to increase women's willingness to compete in competitive mixed-gender environments result in more qualified candidates for competitive positions, said Minister of State Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ms.

Anupriya Patel at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today. "Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability.

It will not only improve the quality of life of women, but for men, families, and communities as well.

Empowerment of women has proven time and again across the world, to be the most efficient catalyst for rapid socio economic growth," said Patel.

She further said that modelling female leadership can go a long way. The important factor is financial inclusion of women which can create gender equality by empowering them and giving them gender control over their financial lives.

She said, 42 percent of women worldwide- approximately 1.1 billion- remain outside the formal financial system, according to the Global Findex database.

Despite recent progress in financial inclusion rates in general, the gender gap has not narrowed. While women represents a larger share of the self employed in developing countries and thus are less likely to secure bank credit according to the research by the World Bank.

"When it comes to female labour force participation the situation is not very encouraging either. The South Asian Region has some of the lowest female labour force participation rates in the world," added Patel.

It is therefore the need of the hour that we strive collectively for participation of women of south Asia region in all spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life as equal partners, said Patel.

She also said there is need for "increasing funding and sustained advocacy for quality literacy programmes that empower women as literate women have a positive ripple effect on all development indicators." Addressing the summit, Mridula Sinha Governor of Goa said the planned agenda of this forum is very critical as there is indeed an urgent need to locate strategies and develop systems that support women's entrepreneurship, education, empowerment, their financial inclusion, IT literacy and enhance their role in decision making.

But we also should not ignore social empowerment of women as well because economic empowerment has to go hand with social change to make the vision of this forum a reality.

Preeti Saran, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs said for South Asia, we have also established a Gender policy advocacy group (GPAG), that works along with UN-ESCAP and UN women, for economic empowerment of small scale women entrepreneurs.

Work is also underway to reach goals of gender equality as per the Beijing Platform for Action. A SAARC Gender information base (SGIB), a comprehensive pool of data/ information on gender issues in different formats, including multimedia for quick access, has also been initiated.

Source: ANI