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International Women’s Day: Top Companies for CSR in Women Empowerment in India in 2023

International Women's Day 2024
Women’s economic empowerment is a key driver of social and economic development, as well as a fundamental human right. However, women in India still face many barriers and challenges in accessing education, health, finance, and employment opportunities.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2023, India ranked 140th out of 156 countries in terms of gender parity, with a score of 0.621. This indicates a wide gap between men and women in terms of economic participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. To address this gap, many corporate entities in India have taken up the mantle of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and initiated various projects and programs to empower women and girls in rural and urban areas.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we present a list of the top 10 companies in India that have excelled in CSR and women empowerment in 2023. These companies have implemented innovative and impactful projects that have enhanced the income, skills, confidence, and well-being of millions of women in India. These companies have also received recognition and awards for their CSR efforts and have set an example for other businesses to follow.
The top 10 companies for CSR and women empowerment in India in 2023 are:

Reliance Industries

Reliance’s women empowerment programmes are a set of initiatives that aim to enhance the leadership, economic, and social opportunities for women in India. Some of the programmes are:
– The WomenLead India Fellowship, powered by Reliance Foundation and Vital Voices, is a 10-month long fellowship that strengthens the leadership capacity of 50 inspirational Indian women leaders who are addressing urgent economic and social issues across the key areas of Rural Transformation, Education, Sports for Development, and Arts, Culture and Heritage. The fellowship provides mentoring, peer-to-peer engagement, and visibility to the fellows, as well as training in leadership skills, such as strategic planning, communication, advocacy, and fundraising. The fellowship also connects the fellows with a global network of women leaders and experts from various fields.
– The WomenConnect Challenge India, a partnership between Reliance Foundation and USAID, is a challenge that identifies and supports innovative solutions from not-for-profit organisations that empower women through access to and the use of digital technology to drive positive education and livelihood outcomes for themselves and their families. The challenge awards grants to the selected organisations, as well as provides technical assistance, mentoring, and networking opportunities. The challenge focuses on solutions that address the barriers that prevent women from accessing and using digital technology, such as affordability, accessibility, relevance, and social norms.
– The Women Empowerment Programme, which works with rural communities across India to enable women-inclusive development planning and decision-making, strengthen entrepreneurial and livelihood capabilities for women, and enhance access to basic entitlements for social security. The programme covers various interventions, such as increasing women’s participation in households, institutions, and community decision-making; supporting sustainable agriculture practices and climate resilience for food and nutrition security of women and children; enabling better quality of life with improved access to drinking water; increasing access to knowledge, livelihood skills, productive assets, markets, finance, and technologies; promoting women entrepreneurship on diverse livelihood options both farm and non-farm and increasing participation of women in various value chains; and supporting access to information, skills, and resources securing basic entitlements and social security schemes.

State Bank of India

The State Bank of India is committed to empowering women in India by providing them with financial and non-financial support. Through the SBI Women Empowerment Scheme, the company offers loans of up to Rs 2 lakh to women entrepreneurs who want to start or expand their businesses in various sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing, retail, and services. The loans are given at a concessional interest rate of 7.5% and have a flexible repayment period of up to 5 years.
The company also supports the SBI Foundation, a public trust that works for the benefit of the society at large. The SBI Foundation runs various programmes for women empowerment, such as the SBI Youth for India Fellowship, which enables India’s bright young minds to join hands with rural communities; the SBI Gram Seva, which empowers the villages of India through integrated development initiatives; and the SBI Skill Development Initiative, which provides vocational training and placement assistance to rural women. Through these initiatives, the company aims to create a positive impact on the lives of millions of women across the country.

ITC Limited

ITC Limited is committed to corporate social responsibility (CSR), with a focus on generating livelihoods and environmental capital for rural communities and enhancing societal sustainability. One of the key areas of ITC’s CSR engagement is women empowerment, which aims to provide opportunities for rural women to earn independent incomes, improve their socio-economic status and contribute to their families and communities. ITC’s Women Empowerment Programme has four main strategies and interventions:

Overcoming financial inadequacy through micro-credit, seed money, loans and other forms of financial support

ITC helps women to form self-help groups (SHGs), where they can pool their savings, access credit and finance their self-employment, small businesses and micro-enterprises. ITC also provides seed money for women to start and run income-generating enterprises, such as sanitation, waste management and agarbatti (incense stick) production.

Promoting co-operative action and collective enterprises

ITC supports women to establish and manage women-managed agri-enterprises, such as dairy, poultry, vermicomposting and food processing. These enterprises enable women to earn regular, higher incomes, leverage economies of scale and benefit from collective bargaining power. They also give women confidence and a sense of solidarity from working together.

Expanding skills and know-how for better opportunities

ITC provides appropriate training for all programme participants, such as entrepreneurial, managerial, technical and vocational skills. For example, micro-credit SHG members learn to create and manage common funds, handle bank accounts, maintain documentation, etc. Waste management SHG members learn to communicate the benefits of source segregation, reduce-reuse-recycle, etc. Agri-enterprise members learn to improve the quality and productivity of their products, adopt best practices and comply with standards and regulations.

Creating capabilities for tomorrow by supporting primary education, health and sanitation, and solid waste management

ITC believes that investing in the human and social capital of rural women and their children is vital for their future well-being and empowerment. ITC supports primary education for rural children, especially girls, through its Mission Sunehra Kal programme, which aims to improve the quality and access of education in rural schools. ITC also supports health and sanitation initiatives, such as building toilets, promoting hygiene awareness and providing health check-ups and camps for rural women and children. ITC also supports solid waste management initiatives, such as creating awareness, providing infrastructure and facilitating collection and disposal of waste in rural areas.
ITC’s Women Empowerment Programme has reached over 60,000 women across 17 states in India, creating supplementary incomes, enhancing their decision-making power and improving their quality of life. The programme has also contributed to the social and environmental sustainability of rural communities, by promoting education, health, sanitation and waste management.

Hero MotoCorp

The Hero Women’s Empowerment Programme is a CSR initiative by Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and scooters. The programme aims to provide women with opportunities to earn independent incomes, helping to strengthen their position as decision-makers in their families and in their communities. The programme has two main components:

– The Centre of Excellence for Women

This is a training centre set up at the Industrial Training Institute (ITI), Women, at Ambala in Haryana, in association with the Skill Development and Industrial Training Department, Government of Haryana and United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The centre offers industrial training to women in modern automotive technologies, such as repair and maintenance of two-wheelers, as well as two-wheeler riding training.

– The Hero Vired Scholarship

This is a special scholarship initiative launched ahead of International Women’s Day, which offers a 25% scholarship to women learners across all the programmes offered by Hero Vired, a LearnTech start-up by the Hero Group. The programmes cover various domains, such as data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, full-stack development, and finance and business management.
The Hero Women’s Empowerment Programme is part of Hero MotoCorp’s vision to promote gender diversity and women empowerment in the automotive industry and beyond. The programme has benefited thousands of women from rural and semi-urban areas, who have gained skills, confidence, and mobility through the programme.

JSW Steel Ltd

JSW Steel Limited is a leading steel company in India that has undertaken various corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in the field of women empowerment. Some of the key CSR initiatives are:

– JSW Shakti

This is a flagship program that aims to empower rural women entrepreneurs through rural BPOs, self-help groups, skill development, and financial inclusion. JSW Shakti has impacted over 10,000 women across 10 states in India.

– Maternal and child health care

JSW Steel provides efficient and quality health care services to pregnant women, lactating mothers, and children under five years of age. The company also promotes institutional deliveries, immunization, nutrition, and family planning. JSW Steel has reached out to more than 2 lakh beneficiaries through its health care interventions.

– Education

JSW Steel supports the education of girls from marginalized communities by providing scholarships, infrastructure, teacher training, and digital learning. The company also facilitates early childhood education and pre-primary education for children in rural areas. JSW Steel has supported over 1.5 lakh students through its education initiatives.

– Livelihoods

JSW Steel enables women to enhance their income and livelihood opportunities by providing them with vocational skills, market linkages, and entrepreneurship development. The company also promotes agribusiness and organic farming among women farmers. JSW Steel has created over 50,000 livelihood opportunities for women through its livelihood initiatives.

– Water, sanitation, and hygiene

JSW Steel helps communities to access safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, and hygiene awareness. The company also contributes to water conservation and environmental protection by implementing rainwater harvesting, watershed development, and afforestation projects. JSW Steel has improved the water and sanitation conditions of over 15 lakh people through its water and environment initiatives.
JSW Steel is committed to creating a value-based and empowered society through its CSR initiatives in women empowerment. The company believes in inclusive growth and social development for all.

Godrej Consumer Products

Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) is a multinational FMCG company that has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and women empowerment. Some of the CSR initiatives that GCPL has undertaken to support women are: Salon-i: This is a skill training program that provides beauty and hair care training to young people from underprivileged backgrounds, especially women. The program aims to enhance their employability and entrepreneurship skills, and has trained over 15,000 youth till date.


This is an initiative that helps women entrepreneurs in the beauty and wellness sector to scale up their businesses and increase their income. The program provides mentoring, networking, and financial support to selected women who have completed the Salon-i training. The program has created over 1,500 beautypreneurs across India.

Nari Shakti

This is a project that provides training to women in various skills such as tailoring, embroidery, handicrafts, etc. The project also helps them to form self-help groups and access credit and market linkages. The project has benefited over 10,000 women across India.


This is a project that provides financial assistance to women entrepreneurs who have innovative ideas or existing businesses that need capital infusion. The project also provides guidance and mentoring to the women to help them grow their ventures. The project has supported over 500 women entrepreneurs across India.
These are some of the CSR initiatives that GCPL has taken to empower women and improve their livelihoods. GCPL believes that women are the key drivers of social and economic development, and strives to create a positive impact on their lives through its CSR strategy.


Dabur is a leading Indian consumer goods company that has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and women empowerment. Some of the CSR initiatives that Dabur has undertaken to empower women are:

Vocational Skills Training

Dabur runs Skill Development Centres in rural areas of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Assam, where it provides training to young girls on various income-generating skills such as cutting-tailoring, beauty care, handicraft making, etc. These skills help them find employment in the service sector or start their own small businesses. Dabur also provides entrepreneurship development and financial education to these women, and helps them form Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and Joint Liability Groups (JLGs) to access credit and savings facilities.

Livelihood Programmes

Dabur also promotes agro-based livelihood programmes, such as bee-keeping, food processing and preservation, vermicomposting, etc., to help rural women earn more and improve their living conditions. Dabur works with small farmers and rural communities in Uttar Pradesh and Assam to build their capacities and capabilities, and facilitate linkages to public services and schemes. Dabur also supports women in setting up piggery and goat-rearing businesses, and provides them with scientific management training.
Dabur’s CSR initiatives have helped thousands of women in the hinterland to become self-reliant, confident and empowered. Dabur believes that skill development is a powerful agent of social transformation, and that women are the key drivers of change in rural India.

Hindustan Zinc

Hindustan Zinc is a leading mining company in India that has been implementing various corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives to empower women in rural and tribal communities.
One of its flagship programs is Sakhi, which aims to mobilize women into self-help groups (SHGs) and provide them with vocational training, financial assistance, and entrepreneurial opportunities. Sakhi has been positively transforming the lives of over 27,000 women across 209 villages in Rajasthan.
Some of the achievements of Sakhi are:
– It has fostered 1,211 small and nano enterprises and 7 collective enterprises where women are part of the production, processing, and marketing departments.
– It has set up Sakhi Utpadan Samiti, a federation of 250+ women who run 11 micro businesses such as garment making, papad making, spice making, etc.
– It has helped disburse loans of ₹62.16 crore to its members, which are used for the development of agriculture, livestock, micro-enterprises, as well as for members’ household and social needs.
– It has won the ‘Leaders for Social Change’ Award from the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs for its impact on women empowerment.
Sakhi is an example of how Hindustan Zinc is bringing socio-economic empowerment to women and contributing to the nation’s development.

Tata Consultancy Services

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, and a part of the Tata group, one of the largest conglomerates in India. TCS has a long history of corporate social responsibility (CSR), and it has many initiatives that aim to empower women in various ways.
One of the initiatives of TCS is the ‘Skill Development for Women’ program in India, which provides training to women in a variety of skills, such as tailoring, beauty care, computer literacy, and entrepreneurship. The program aims to enhance the income-generating potential of women, especially those from rural and marginalized communities, and to enable them to become self-reliant and independent. The program also creates awareness among women about their rights, health, and hygiene. The program has reached over 10,000 women across 15 states in India.
TCS also supports the ‘Water for All’ initiative of the Tata group, which provides clean water to rural communities, and has a special focus on women. The initiative installs water purification systems, rainwater harvesting structures, and piped water supply systems in villages, and also educates the villagers about water conservation and management. The initiative has a positive impact on the health, education, and livelihood of women, as they no longer have to spend hours fetching water from distant sources, and can use the saved time for productive activities or leisure.
TCS also participates in the ‘MPowered’ initiative of Tata Communications, which emerged as the winner in the Women Empowerment and Child Welfare category at The CSR Journal Excellence Awards 2023. The initiative is a beacon of empowerment for ultra-poor women, living on less than $1.90 per day, and provides them with access to digital tools, such as smartphones, tablets, and internet connectivity, to enhance their learning, earning, and social inclusion. The initiative also provides them with mentoring, coaching, and peer support, to help them overcome their challenges and achieve their aspirations. The initiative has reached over 1,000 women across India, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.
These are some of the examples of how TCS is committed to creating opportunities for women in technology and beyond, and dismantling gender stereotypes that exist in the industry. TCS follows the Tata group’s philosophy of sharing and serving the society, and its CSR initiatives are aligned with the globally-agreed sustainable development principles and the needs of the communities it serves.


HDFC Bank is one of the leading private sector banks in India that has been actively involved in corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities under the umbrella brand of ‘Parivartan’. One of the key focus areas of HDFC Bank’s CSR is women empowerment, which aims to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities, financial inclusion, skill development, and social security to rural women.
Some of the CSR initiatives in women empowerment by HDFC Bank in India are:

– Sustainable Livelihood Initiative (SLI)

This initiative is a holistic model that mobilises rural women into self-help groups (SHGs) and provides them with financial and non-financial services, such as vocational training, financial literacy, insurance, and access to credit facilities. Through SLI, women have availed credit for themselves and utilised it for improving their occupations, such as tailoring, designing artificial jewellery, setting up grocery shops, livestock rearing, handicrafts, etc. Financial literacy and credit counselling educates the women on financial acumen and enables them to actively participate in household financial management.

– Parivartan Rural Development Programme

This programme aims to create sustainable communities by addressing the issues of water conservation, renewable energy, sanitation, health, education, and environment. Under this programme, HDFC Bank has developed over 10,500 water conservation structures and installed over 41,810 solar lights in rural India. The programme has also planted over 17.69 lakh trees, which has helped increase groundwater levels. Additionally, the programme has trained over 8.08 lakh women entrepreneurs and over 8,470 SHGs in rural India with the goal of empowering women.

– Parivartan Education Programme

This programme supports the education of underprivileged children, especially girls, by providing scholarships, infrastructure, digital literacy, teacher training, and career guidance. The programme has reached out to over 3.5 lakh children across 1,000 schools in India. The programme also supports the education of rural women by providing them with digital literacy and skill development courses.

– Parivartan Health Programme

This programme aims to improve the health and hygiene of rural communities, especially women and children, by providing preventive and curative healthcare services, such as health camps, mobile clinics, telemedicine, awareness campaigns, and sanitation facilities. The programme has benefited over 2.7 lakh people across 1,200 villages in India. The programme also supports the health of rural women by providing them with maternal and child health services, reproductive health services, and menstrual hygiene products.
HDFC Bank’s CSR initiatives in women empowerment have made a positive impact on the lives of millions of rural women in India by enhancing their income, skills, confidence, and well-being. The bank has also received recognition for its CSR efforts, such as the AA rating in the MSCI ESG ratings assessment and the Golden Peacock Award for Corporate Social Responsibility. HDFC Bank is committed to continue its CSR journey and contribute towards the economic and social development of the country by sustainably empowering its communities.