‘Leadership must be promoted among women at grassroots for better economy’

Bhubaneswar: Women play a crucial role in care economy. But they face time poverty which is a major hurdle for them, in contrast with men. We should devise methods to bring them forward so as to promote leadership at grassroots, Mission Shakti Director Sujata Karthikeyan said.

The bureaucrat was deliberating on the sidelines of a webinar on women empowerment as part of ‘Odisha 50’ organized by Sambad Group in association with FICCI and Khimji Foundation.

Commending the role of Sambad Group and FICCI, Karthikeyan said: “Whether its women empowerment or other issues, government alone can not resolve them. For that we need like-minded individuals, institutions or organizations to join hands.”

Speaking about the uniqueness of Mission Shakti as compared to similar programmes launched in other states, she said that the primary objective was to promote leadership among women at grassroots. Thrift and credit was not the sole objective.

“During COVID-19 pandemic, women SHGs came forward on their own to take leadership. The women folks created awareness to follow Covid appropriate behavior and maintain hand hygiene. This apart, over 70 lakh masks have been produced by SHGs. They even donated to CMRF,” she added.

Elaborating further, she said SHG women have been appointed as banking correspondents so that they can bring other women into banking fold. By this March, we aim to train more 500 women.

“It is a matter of great pride that SHG women in Kalahandi, Sambalpur and Bargarh districts are engaged in paddy procurement with the aid of digital equipment like iris scanner, computer and biometric scanners,” she added.

Renowned economist and Dean of KIIT School of Management Prof Dr SN Mishra put forth his views on the occasion.

“We should know about the trends of gender justice and gender equality trends. As per the Human development report 2020, female workforce participation in the market is very low i.e, 23.5 percent, as compared to male counterparts which is 76 percent. If we compare this with China, women constitute 60 percent as compared to 67 percent in men. On the whole, female participation in India is very low. If you consider this year’s Economic Survey, a meager 22 percent female workforce participation is there in Odisha. However, it was 35 percent 10 years ago. It has gone down in the last decade,” Mishra said.

Citing a recent NITI Aayog report, Mishra said around around 4 percent women are being imparted engineering education as compared to about 30 percent men. Skilling, participation and wage gap between the genders is significant.

Sambad Group Chairman lauded BJD government’s initiative to accord 50 percent reservation to women in local bodies.

Emphasizing on the need for women empowerment, Patnaik said even Lenin was of the view for empowering women.

“Lenin was aggrieved that if we cannot see half of the world then any revolution will go in vain. From half of the world, he meant women. If women will be empowered, it will have a positive impact on the society. Unless financial empowerment is attained, empowerment in real sense cannot be achieved,” Patnaik said.

The Khandapada MLA interacted with successful women entrepreneurs – Samima Begum from Sundargarh, Chandramani Jani from Koraput and Bijaylakshmi Pradhan from Kandhamal.

Addressing the participants, FICCI Odisha State Council chairperson Monica Nayyar Patnaik said that our main objective is to empower around 5000 women in the coming one to two months.

“We have prepared training modules to train women entrepreneurs. We had launched a pilot programme and feedback was solicited from successful women entrepreneurs. We would submit a report to the government on empowering women,” Patnaik expressed.

FICCI state head Himanshu Sekhar Sahu thanked Sambad Group for its proactive support to the initiative.

“FICCI thanks Sambad Group for such an initiative. We do not have such a vast network. Without Sambad we couldn’t have gone so far,” Sahu said.

Sambad DGM (News) Arabinda Das moderated the session. DGM (HR) Baijayanti Kar, edition chiefs and women from various SHGs participated in the webinar.

The women entrepreneurs will be trained by litterateur Dash Benhur and Ama Odisha Secretary Swaraj Mishra. While Dash Benhur will be taking sessions on productivity and performance, Swaraj Mishra will be taking modules on finance, computer and mobile technology.


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