Smriti Irani cites technology as the new 'leveller' and route to women empowerment

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Women and child development minister Smriti Irani (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: At the launch of the FICCI-FLO initiative - "Empowering the Greater 50%", women and child development minister Smriti Irani asserted that the circumstances arising from Covid-19 call for focussing on "building back better" as technology emerges as a new “leveller." She said that from users of technology women need to be enabled to become owners of technology start-ups.
Irani highlighted that “Work from Home" always seen from a gender lens linking it to women and often associated with loss in productivity by work places, is no longer the case, as technology has emerged as the new “leveller” with men also working from home as part of Covid-19 related preventive measures.
Irani emphasised that now technology has become a leveller in terms of reducing the bias that only women when they work from home lose out on opportunities as companies presumed that productivity will be reduced. She went on to point that with men also working from home now, it is no longer categorised as a female work culture. She pointed that it is also seen that productivity is not diminished and it is something many in the corporate sector are now compelled to recognise.
The WCD minister said this change in perception must be leveraged to strengthen women's participation in workforce by “enabling women to move from being users of technology to owners of technology”. She pointed that more Indian e-commerce requirements will be required in the coming times and it is here that women need to be prepared for taking up the challenge.
“There need to be more women in technology start-ups , in research and development and innovation,” Irani added emphasising that the “quintessential shaping of the future of girls needs equal emphasis with an added focus on science and technology.”
On the FICCI-FLO initiative to reach out to over 1 lakh women over three years to enhance entrepreneurial skills, Irani spoke of the importance of convergence of efforts by various stakeholders including government and private sector to deliver results on ground.
President, FICCI, Dr Sangita Reddy said, “women in entrepreneurship can generate transformational employment in India with 150-170 million job opportunities, which is more than 25% of the new jobs required for the entire working age population by 2030".

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