8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day across the globe since 1911 to mark a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The day is observed to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
Studies have shown that the disasters induced by nature or climate do not affect all men and women in a similar manner. The prevalence of patriarchy in society causes women to suffer much more than men. The scenario is amplified in the current times because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The women have lost the most number of jobs and are most burdened with unpaid household work at the time of this crisis. In addition to this, many women have been subjected to domestic violence, as their significant others have been staying at home amid lockdown. The economic struggles in families have negatively affected the educational needs of female children in the country. In such circumstances, International Women’s Day is very significant to address this inequality and raise the standing of women across the world.
In order to bridge the deeply embedded inequality in society, the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is “Choose to Challenge”. Let us see how India Inc. is celebrating International Women’s Day 2021.
Month-long activities at Canon India
Accelerating women equality, Canon India has announced a slew of initiatives for women in their adopted communities on the occasion of International Women’s Day 2021. Leading the charge towards women empowerment, Canon has organized month-long initiatives panned out in March that include Employee Engagement activities & interactive sessions with the community women from its adopted villages in Annadodi near Bengaluru and Maheshwari in Haryana.
The CSR initiatives include an interactive session on women’s menstrual health and sanitation that will address the importance to break the taboo around menstruation. The virtual session will involve Canon’s women employees educating the women from its adopted villages on the discriminatory practices that needs to be ended to ensure that menstrual health of women and girls is protected. Additionally, Canon employees will also conduct a session across Annadodi and Maheshwari villages to impart the importance of gender diversity in these evolving times and how the world is becoming gender agnostic with greater equality. These sessions will be organised with the youth community, with an objective to teach them at an early age, to bring about a societal difference in current and upcoming generations.
Further, in line with its focus on ‘Empowerment’ under its 4Es CSR policy, Canon through its NGO partner will be imparting basic stitching skills to women in Annadodi village. The sessions will train them to create face masks, with a good thrust on women entrepreneurship.
Google CEO Announces US$25 million global funding for Women and Girls
Google announced a series of efforts to support the economic empowerment of women at a virtual edition of Google for India event called Women Will on the occasion of International Women’s Day. The event also marked the completion of the joint effort with Tata Trusts to empower women across rural India with digital literacy skills and bridge the digital gender divide with the Internet Saathi program. Launched in 2015 by Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, the programme was designed to impart digital literacy training to women across 300,000 villages in India. Over six years, this pan-India effort has benefitted over 30 million women across India through training provided by over 80,000 Internet Saathis.
Speaking at the event, Sundar Pichai said, “Building on the Internet Saathi programme success, we’re making a new commitment to help 1 million women in rural villages in India to become entrepreneurs through business tutorials, tools, and mentorship.” He also announced a global Google.org Impact Challenge for Women and Girls, under which Google.org will provide $25 million in grants to nonprofits and social enterprises in India and around the world that are doing important work to help women and girls reach their full potential. “Women are almost twice as likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic and an estimated 20 million girls are at risk of not returning to school. We have the opportunity to build a future that is more equal and more inclusive—and we must take it,” he added.
Based on learnings from the Internet Saathi program, and to continue to support women in rural India to pursue their ambitions and improve their livelihoods through entrepreneurship, Google has launched the Women Will web platform. This will be complemented by community support, mentorship and accelerator programs for rural women entrepreneurs.
Available in English and Hindi, the Women Will platform is designed especially for women aspiring to explore entrepreneurship. Through a “how to” curriculum on turning an interest into a business, managing an enterprise, and promoting it for growth, the platform will provide guidance and support to women who want to convert an existing hobby or talent such as tailoring, beauty services, home tuition, food processing, etc. into some income. To begin with, Google will work with 2,000 Internet Saathis to help other women gain from this resource and start on their entrepreneurial journey.
Google.org will provide $25 million in overall funding to nonprofits and social organizations in India and around the world that are working to advance women and girls’ economic empowerment and create pathways to prosperity. Selected Impact Challenge grantees will also receive mentoring from Googlers, Ad Grants, and additional support to bring their ideas to life. Visit g.co/womenandgirlschallenge to learn more about the Challenge and apply before the April 10th deadline.
For many entrepreneurs, Search and Maps are their storefront. In order to make it easier for people to support women-led businesses, Google will enable search in English for “women-led” — “women-led restaurants,” “women-led clothing stores” and more — on Google Search and Maps. This is based on an opt-in feature on Google My Business where women-led businesses can identify as such on their Business Profiles. This will not only enhance the online presence of hundreds of women-owned businesses but customers can easily extend their support by purchasing from them, leaving a great review, and sharing their Business Profile.
To empower homepreneurs, the vast majority of whom are women, Google Pay announced the launch of Business Pages which enables them to create easy catalogues of their products and services and direct people to them through a unique URL. Interested buyers can chat with the homepreneur about their order and pay within the chat based interface on Google Pay.
Kellogg and TechnoServe empowering women farmers in UP
In 2020, Kellogg and TechnoServe launched the “Improving Livelihoods for Smallholder Farming Households” program to empower smallholder wheat farmers in five districts across Uttar Pradesh. The program’s approach to making agriculture more sustainable and profitable – especially as COVID-19 severely impacted smallholder farmer economics in the region – included enrolling women in local Farmer Interest Groups (FIGs) and Farmer Field Schools (FFSs) to provide training in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and promote their participation in agriculture. The program successfully trained 2,719 farmers in 2020, 88% of whom are women.
The program expanded TechnoServe and Kellogg’s partnership in India, which started in 2015 with an award-winning program to train more than 12,000 smallholder farmers in Madhya Pradesh in climate-smart practices. The longstanding collaboration is also one of more than 40 Kellogg’s Origins programs under the company’s global Better Days platform.
Jagriti Initiative by Himalaya Drug Company
Menstrual hygiene still remains amongst the most challenging development issues today. Almost 88% of women still don’t use menstrual products, and about 4 million women face barriers to comfortable and accessible menstrual hygiene. Additionally, maintaining proper menstrual hygiene practices has also gained prominence in recent times since the Govt of India has included it under their Swachh Bharat Mission Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. Addressing the lack of awareness and breaking the ignorance and taboo related to menstrual hygiene, The Himalaya Drug Company under its initiative Jagriti have been conducting sensitization workshops through classroom sessions, video screening and interactions with experts in Maharashtra. Himalaya began the journey of creating awareness around menstruation in India recently. About, 1300 women were benefited from this initiative. Among those, about 700 women were trained to make reusable, environment-friendly and hygienic menstrual cotton cloth pads for personal use. They continue to spread awareness on the subject and make cotton cloth pads for themselves and other women in the community. Jagriti is strongly focused on making women and girls self-reliant and building a community of women changemakers to take a lead in building healthy communities.
Adani Wilmar’s Fortune SuPoshan Movement Wilmar
Fortune SuPoshan movement, an initiative by Adani Wilmar and implemented by Adani
Foundation is aimed at improving the nutritional status of children of up to five years, adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating mothers. Its activities are carried out at 23 locations in 12 states, covering 1,268 villages, and 106 slums.
In less than five years, the movement has touched the lives of around 16 lakh people and reached out to over 1 lakh children, more than 96,000 adolescent girls and 2.68 lakh women in reproductive age.
The SuPoshan Sanginis are resource persons at the village level for malnutrition and anaemia and complement the role of Anganwadi workers. They are usually the first contact person for awareness generation and community mobilization. Their activities include visiting households aims to reduce the occurrence of malnutrition among children, to reduce malnutrition and anaemia among adolescent girls and women in the reproductive age group, to support efforts in reducing Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) & Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR). They ensure beneficiaries have a proper food intake regime, providing necessary counselling, and conducting group meetings and discussions for subjects related to malnutrition and anaemia.
Because of the scale and scope, the work is challenging to say the least, and it was more so during the lockdown. However, the Sanginis ensured their work was not affected and came out with flying colours.
Since personal meetings and household visits were not possible, they offered telephonic counselling to thousands of beneficiaries, including mothers of malnourished children, pregnant women and adolescent girls, on issues such as exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding, nutrition needs of malnourished children, proper diet for adolescent girls, pregnant women, and lactating mothers, COVID-19 awareness, etc.
The SuPoshan team also marked various important occasions during the year through a host of activities. It marked the World Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28 with telephonic counselling to adolescent girls and women, stressing the importance of menstrual hygiene.
The team also utilized the time and opportunity to upgrade their own skills. Nearly 300 staff and SuPoshan Sanginis completed courses and modules on relevant topics such as basic nutrition, mother’s health, infant and your child feeding anemia, food fortification, immunization, etc.
NASSCOM Foundation, supported with a $500,000 Google.org empower Women Farmers through Entrepreneurship Skills
NASSCOM Foundation, supported with a $500,000 from Google.org, Google’s philanthropy, is launching its “Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship” Program. Agriculture Census and Economic surveys validate that with growing rural to urban migration by men in the past decade, there is a ‘feminization’ of the agriculture sector, with an increasing number of women in multiple roles in farming as cultivators and labourers. NASSCOM Foundation, with Google.org’s support, hopes to train the women workforce in agriculture on digital literacy, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship skills to help improve their income potential and reduce the gender-based wage gap in the sector.
In its pilot phase, the program will reach over one Lakh women farmers from across the regions of Chamoli and Rudraprayag in Uttarakhand, Solan and Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, Agra, Bulandshahr and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Chittorgarh and Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Muzaffarpur in Bihar, and Mewat in Haryana.
The program will begin by training master trainers. These master trainers will then train more women from within their communities. The program will also set up two call centres where the women will be able to call and get further counselling on any of their entrepreneurship related queries.
Once trained, the women farmers will be able to operate smartphones with ease, use social media for their benefit, and find reliable government apps and websites for relevant schemes. They will also be able to save, protect and grow their personal finances and transact digitally. In addition, they will be able to create direct market linkages for both buying raw material and for selling produce and will be able to streamline their operations and logistics.
Havmor Ice Cream Gives Away a Scoop of Free Ice Cream to Women on IWD
On the occasion of International Womens Day, Havmor Ice Cream, will give a free scoop of ice cream to all women visiting their exclusive brand outlets; HavFunn and for every free scoop, the brand will donate Re.1 towards educating the girl child.
Celebrating the day, Havmor Ice Cream is encouraging its female consumers to be a part of a profound deed by visiting their store. This year to make it even more special the brand invites its women consumers, to come to their parlour and enjoy a scoop of free ice-cream. Havmor will then collect all the proceedings from each of these scoop received from 180 plus outlets, and donate the amount to Rotary International working towards educating a girl child. Through this initiative the brand is targeting to atleast gather enough funds to sponsor a years education cost for 100 girls.
On this day, women can visit any outlet in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Jaipur, Hyderabad & Bangalore, between 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Among the many relishing flavours that they can choose from are Almond Carnival, Chocolate Chips or Alphonso Mango.
Galaxy Surfactants #HumansBeforeWomen
Galaxy Surfactants Ltd, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, has taken-up initiative – a campaign #HumanBeforeWomen. The company has created a video of their own women staff, which is their testimony on how this job has brought changes in their lives. The company through this campaign wants to create awareness about the lack of women workforce in the manufacturing sector and invite more and more women participation into the manufacturing sector, by making the sector more welcoming and better workplace for the women workforce.
Through this campaign Galaxy Surfactants, aims to make their workplace welcoming and accommodating for women working professional. The company wishes to do this through a variety of interventions such as, hiring through gender-neutral practices, women leadership assessment and development, process-focused gender diversity agenda, unique benefits for women and hiring women who have taken sabbaticals etc.
Okinawa’s ‘Marvellous March’
Okinawa Autotech has announced an exciting ‘Scratch & Win assured gifts’ offer on the purchase of its best-selling electric scooters – Okinawa Lite, Okinawa Ridge+, and Okinawa R30. With the idea to celebrate womanhood and at the same time, contribute in a larger way to the environment, Okinawa encourages individuals to opt for electric scooters and drive the change.
With this initiative, Okinawa is empowering people from all walks of life to give the gift of freedom to women in their lives to travel places and become self-dependent with smart mobility.
Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management launches special all-female batch for underprivileged girls
Thadomal Shahani Centre for Management (TSCFM), one of India’s premier management business schools and part of The Shahani Group of Institutions, is set to launch a special online batch of their Professional Diploma in Banking Program for underprivileged girls, on 8th March 2021 i.e. International Women’s day. The all-female batch is being created bearing in mind the social challenges some young Indian women encounter in engaging and interacting in a male-dominated environment.
Admissions will open on March 7, 2021 and the last day to apply for the course is 15th April 2021. The goal of launching the special banking course batch for women is to help them develop English communication and other soft skills, without feeling overwhelmed in a classroom setting where men may dominate class discussions. The school will provide placement support to the students, ensuring employment opportunities in leading companies like HDFC Bank, Kotak Bank, ICICI Securities etc.. Since banking and finance is a female-friendly industry in India, graduates can expect a large number of job opportunities. Additional guidance and counselling sessions will be held to assist the girls in making the best career decisions possible.
ITC Vivel Talks to the Women of Tomorrow
A more gender-equal inclusive world begins with how individuals choose to challenge biases and stereotypes. The confidence to think free and own the life choices for a woman is a perspective that needs to be instilled at a young age. This International Women’s Day, ITC Vivel changes the narrative with its unique interpretation and rendition of this year’s global theme ‘Choose to Challenge’. In line with its philosophy of Ab Samjhauta Nahin, Vivel presents the Women of Tomorrow in an encouraging conversation that reimagines an unbiased, ungendered, bright and confident future for young women.
Women since their childhood have conformed to a prescriptive behavioural norm which perpetuates stereotypes and gender-based biases. Vivel’s initiative this women’s day is to enable parents to break free and consciously begin a transformative journey to nurture a child, especially a girl child’s individuality and confidence with positive affirmations from a young age.
The campaign demonstrates the importance of this transformative journey and encourages everyone to nurture their dreams and aspirations. The conversation starter is portrayed in a digital film that lays emphasis on having positive conversations with children about their own choices, likes and aspirations irrespective of their gender. Children don’t define their ambitions or qualities from a gender lens nor do they limit their thinking. Why then should this innate free-thinking process be moulded into a gendered prescriptive patriarchal narrative as they grow? ITC Vivel catalyzes this much-needed change in attitude towards instilling confidence and nurturing freedom of choice at a young age.
Some lessons are truly taught young and this campaign also marks the launch of ‘Vivel Voice of Art Junior’ edition. The theme of conditioning, its many faces and implications in everyday life was examined by the brand’s ‘Voice of Art’ campaign last year. It brought together a large collective of young artists to weave a new age narrative on Equality through Art. This year, the brand welcomes children into this fold of ‘unconditioning’. The brand urges parents to help their children create ‘confidence’ boards wherein children affirm what makes them strong, unique and beautiful. Parents can then turn these boards into art and share it on the brand’s social media pages to motivate other parents to help nurture this thought in a unique and endearing way of exploring life’s colours together.
India Exim Bank felicitates Mumbai Policewomen under its ‘Protect the Protectors’ initiative
The coronavirus pandemic has posed unprecedented problems. Despite the challenges of daily life in the metropolis of Mumbai, police personnel continue to work as Corona warriors tirelessly and selflessly. In a novel way to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 08, India Exim Bank felicitated policewomen of Mumbai in two events by gifting them organic honey under its initiative ‘Protect the Protectors.’
Mi India launches #ShaktiHarHaath in partnership with Sonu Sood and Inali foundation
Mi India has announced a new initiative – #ShaktiHarHaath, in collaboration with real-life hero Sonu Sood and Inali Foundation. This partnership is in continuation with the brand’s mission of enabling the underprivileged sections to pursue their dreams without any roadblocks.
The initiative will look at helping 500 girls who have lost their hands and are unable to fulfil their ambition. As part of the collaboration, Mi India has pledged to empower these girls by providing them with prosthetic arms. The brand has partnered with Inali foundation that aims at providing affordable prosthetics or any medical assistance related to disability to those who have lost them in an accident or don’t have them by birth.
#MeraGourav initiative by Gourav Luminaries Pvt. Ltd.
Gourav, one of the leading consumer electrical goods brand has introduced a social-media initiative called #DeshKaGourav. DeshKaGourav is Gourav’s community voice for women empowerment spread across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Youtube that salutes the grit, triumph, and pride of Indian women. This International Women’s Day, Gourav launches its #MeraGourav campaign celebrating the victory of women in India.
Gourav has been sharing some truly inspirational stories #Yodhhas – women who have made a real difference to society at the grassroots level – through their campaigns.#MeraGourav is an eight-day celebration starting from the 1st March to commemorate women from across the country. Women from different walks of life participated in raising their voice and came forward to share their #MeraGourav journey inspiring thousands of women.
Followed by an enlightening panel discussion with women achievers who came forward to share their journey, failures and success, and to motivate other women. The #MeraGourav panel discussion series was moderated by Women Inspiring Network in association with DeshKaGourav. WIN is an inspirational storytelling network that creates, shares, informs and inspires women. The panel consisted of Rashi Mal – Actor Dancer and Singer, who shared her #MeraGourav moment as quoted, “I’m proud of my own resilience but in a time when we are surrounded by so much of negativity, anger and hate. I try to introspect and try to make this world a better place by holding my values and ideals.” Prachi Trehlan – Former Captain of the Indian Netball Team which represented India in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and in other major Asian Championships in 2010-11, Actor and Entrepreneur, added “Basketball will always remain my first love, the feeling of representing your country and holding the national flag onto your chest with your family’s name at the back and the moment of pride when the national anthem starts off is irreplaceable.” Aavriti Jain – Founder of Dhora and Teatro Dhora, shared her positivity as “I always look for things to do that can make me proud everyday because everyday you have to tell yourself to be happy and you did something proud worthy to feel the same.” Naina Ruhail – Co Founder of Vanity Wagon quoted, “I followed my passion and overcame all the challenges, I just didn’t stop from achieving my goals and the fact that nothing has stopped me yet, just keeps me going.” along with Stuti Jalan Founder of WIN who has been hosting such insightful sessions and sharing women achievers’ journey through her initiative quips, “The time I founded crosshairs when I was 23 in Bombay, when you don’t think so much so I believe, If you have the drive, perseverance and passion, you can do anything and I’m very proud that how the women inspiring network has shaped and the way it is, it keeps us motivated and keeps inspiring us in many ways. We are really excited to unleash inspiration from untold stories of women from across the country this International Women’s Day.”
Gourav also introduced a new range of switchgears – Yodha. Women across the world are known for their strength, positive attitude, integrity, strong mind, the determination to overcome obstacles and this International Women’s Day, Gourav celebrates these women by dedicating and honouring them as the true Yodha’s of India. A commitment to protect its consumers, the brand introduces this collection to honour all women warriors who protect their families against all odds like Gourav have been over the years.
The new ‘Yodha’ range highlights the safety of its users by providing good quality installations at home. The product range comprises of Mcbs, Distribution Box, ChangeOvers and MainSwitch. In words of Mr Pankaj Khanna, CSO, Gourav Luminaries Pvt ltd, “Yodha is an introduction by Gourav to celebrate the women warriors of our country who can fight the world to protect their family and never fail to provide protection to them. With similar ideology, Yodha Switchgears is launched as these provide 100% protection that not only meets the quality expectations of our customer but is also particularly affordable. DeshKaGourav is our small bit way of highlighting women achievers, change-makers and pioneers our country is proud of. A community that thrives on inspiration and appreciation. Its mission is to create real on-ground impact through positive engagement on social-media as opposed to the rampant hate and negativity. We hope that with our small initiative we are able to bring to light the true heroes of our country.”
With 70% of their labour workforce comprising of women, the brand is committed to take steps to empower women. Recently it got Mary Kom, the boxing legend, as its brand ambassador to send out a strong message. From working in paddy fields to becoming six-times world champion in boxing, Mary Kom is a true icon for #DeshKaGourav. She chose a male-only sport, brought an Olympic medal for India, won titles like Padma Vibushan, got nominated by the President as an MP at the parliament, continued her career post motherhood, and adopted a daughter despite having three sons. In her life’s journey she has broken many stereotypes and established a glorious example for women. The #DeshKaGourav initiative is dedicated to inspire many Mary-Koms-in-making in various fields of work. The brand believes in bringing to the forefront stories of such women who have dared to dream and achieve new heights, who break the stereotypes and foray into unchartered fields.