Empowering women social entrepreneurs in India
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
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 aGender 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. The programme will identify women working in social enterprises and organisations that support women and train them to become ’Master Trainers’. It will assess their development needs and design and deliver a training course for them that uses innovative methodologies and draws on UK expertise and best practices. In a second phase, the programme will support these Master Trainers as they provide social enterprise training to approximately 1,000 young women in India.