The world is leapfrogging in women’s empowerment, World Bank President David Malpass has said and praised India’s efforts, especially that of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying he is “deeply interested and concerned.”
Participating in a panel discussion on “Empowering Women as Entrepreneurs and Leaders” organised by the World Bank on the sidelines of its spring meetings here on Thursday, Malpass and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, along with other panelists, discussed the development and empowerment of women in India and the world.
“We should continue all that we are doing now for women,” Sitharaman said in response to a question as she explained in detail the steps the Modi Government has undertaken for the economic empowerment of women in India.
Malpass commended the efforts of Prime Minister Modi in India, where the World Bank has a massive programme.
The prime minister, he said, is “deeply interested and concerned and pushing on this issue.”
The world is leapfrogging in empowerment, the World Bank president said.
For women to be able to communicate, to have digital transactions without having to go to the bank where there might be a male clerk, that doesn’t really receive them well, is hugely empowering, he said. “And also just the source of information that women can get on how other women are operating in other parts of the world, that’s huge. And so, I think we should push that along as fast as we can,” Malpass said.
“I’ll give you the example of skilling programmes, which are happening in India wherein, I don’t know what I can make out of this. If a hundred people are trained and they’re trained in such skills which are useful for employment, immediate recruitment potential, 68 per cent of all those who have been recruited are women.
“It just says a lot more about how women are ready once they have the skills in their hands to get going,” Sitharaman said.
“So, we have to invest in skilling women and legislative support is something which is very important for countries like India. For instance, we had given 12 weeks of paid maternity leave for women, but now we have enhanced it to 26 weeks so that till 26 weeks, you are completely paid, you can take care of maternity duties, and then of course you can, we also have this thing now paternity leave also being provided,” she said.
Sitharaman said many of the companies which are now in the private sector, want to benefit from this skilled set of women who are willing to come out there and do it.
“Particularly in STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics) now, I find a lot of women coming in and qualifying, but they, the employability is not so good a news for me, because if there are an equal number of boys and girls in universities doing sciences or technology engineering and medicine, nearly 60 per cent of the women do not apply for jobs after that.”
“So I wonder what happens after that. It is important to have them come back to jobs,” she said.
“The recruitment patterns are now saying that with the right legislative support, having got skills, women going into jobs are far more productive, are far more part of the team, and therefore companies stand to benefit. So, we should do this even more,” Sitharaman said.
The minister said a lot of things are happening in different parts of the world and positively for women.
“So all of us should go back to say, let me be part of this huge change, huge activity, which is going on to empower women. Each of us should be a part of it,” Sitharaman said.