The 3rd Development Working Group (DWG) meeting kickstarted with an enriching side event on women-led development, a key focus area for the Indian G20 presidency organized by the G20 Secretariat in collaboration with Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
India envisions “Women-led development” as a paradigm shift in the role of women from being mere passive recipients of the fruits of development to substantially and actively contributing to global growth and by positioning women as solutions-providers to critical developmental Schallenges.
The participants included several high-profile experts and speakers such as Samir Saran, President, ORF; Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM; Samantha Hung, Chief, Gender Equality Thematic Group, Asian Development Bank; María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, Executive Director, GWL Voices and Former President of the 73rd session of UNGA; Charu Malhotra, MD, Primus Partners; Baratang Miya, Founder and CEO, Girlhype and Women Who Code; Susan Ferguson, Country Representative, UN Women; Kajal Ilmi, Founder, MD and CEO, Aviom India Housing Finance; Suranjali Tandon, National Institute of Public Finance and Policy; Vera Helena Thorstensen, Head, Centre for Global Trade and Investment Studies in Brazil; and Indian Navy officers Lt Cdr Shazia Khan, Lt Cdr Swati Bhandari, Lt Cdr Tavishi Singh, Lt Cdr Disha Amrith, Roopa, and Lt Cdr Dilna.
The event began with an enlightening address by Samir Saran, emphasizing the importance of inclusivity, empowerment, and new leadership for women. Nagaraj Naidu, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, highlighted the significance of unlocking women's potential through a women-led development approach, emphasizing the need for women's equal participation in markets, access to resources, decent work, autonomy, and economic decision-making.
The first session delved into crucial topics such as reimagining systems to ensure equal access to STEM education and digital skill development, addressing the burden of care work on women from a policy standpoint, even as women occupy leadership roles in the formal economy, and investing in reskilling, upskilling, and capacity building to prepare women for future jobs.
The spotlight session titled "Women's Leadership in the Uniformed Services" focused on women's contributions to the Indian Navy, spanning roles in the medical corps, aviation, logistics, education, and even leading the Republic Day Parade with insightful accounts from women officers in Indian navy.
The final session, "Agents of Change: Climate Resilience and Food Systems," shed light on the significance of women's participation and leadership in building climate resilience and robust food systems. The panelists discussed the need for planning, development, and financing of gender-transformative climate policies, programs and interventions, supporting their engagement in climate-smart food systems and expanded food supply chains and promoting women's entrepreneurship in green sectors at all levels.
The event concluded with closing remarks by Eenam Gambhir, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, highlighting that investing in women as leaders is a critical long-term endeavor that yields organizational success, national prosperity, and an improved quality of life.
In closing, panelists underlined the need for actionable outcomes that contribute to building generational equality and unleash the full potential of women through a women-led development approach. This approach calls for women's complete, equal, effective, and meaningful participation as decision-makers in addressing global challenges with effectiveness, decisiveness, and inclusivity.