New Delhi: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect lives and livelihoods around the world while its economic fallout is having a regressive effect on gender equality. Global figures indicate a mere 48.5 per cent female labour force participation, which is 26.5 per cent lower than men. In such challenging times for women, this report is a ray of hope as it lays out 10 investment ideas that can help India in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of gender equality by 2030. The collaborative report titled Investing for Impact: Women, Livelihoods & FemTech – Top 10 Ideas has been put together by Aspire Circle, India’s foremost impact leadership champion and advocate with the help of 12 co-authors and nine guests contributors with Capgemini as the key sponsor.
The co-authors include: Amit Bhatia, Founder, Aspire Circle and Aspire Impact; Aparajita Agrawal, Director-Strategy & Development, Value for Women; Reema Nanavaty, Executive Director, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA); Sushma Kaushik, Partner, Aavishkaar Capital; Sairee Chahal, CEO & Founder, SHEROES and Mahila Money; Archana Joshi, Director, Deepak Foundation; Kanta Singh, Country Program Manager, UN Women; Puja Marwaha, CEO, CRY; Ranjana Khanna, Director, IIC; Dr Shilpa Sehgal, Partner, Equanimity Investments; Sowmya Suryanarayanan, Lead-Impact & ESG, Aavishkaar Capital and Suchitra Marwah Director, Aspire Education.
The report identified the following top ten outstanding investments to promote gender equality for a more sustainable world: Women-owned and co-owned enterprises; Consumer Products and Apps; Creative Enterprises; Credit & Lending (in Women Cooperatives & Micro Enterprises); Social Platforms and Marketplaces; Savings & Investment; Insurance, Micro-Insurance & Insurtech for Women; Transportation & Mobility; Health, Wellness & Hygiene Apps; Women Training, Incubators & Accelerators.
This was the seventh in a series of reports by Aspire Circle as a part of the larger and overarching programme of generating 100 Impact Ideas for India’s Inclusive Growth with India’s largest collaborative research initiative involving over 200 experts with an eye on shaping India’s Impact Economy.
“Our research surmises that Gender-focused and FemTech investing is good news for India, with total revenues projected to grow 1.6x from $288 bn in 2020 to $462 bn by 2030. Gender equality in India, during COVID, experienced a significant drop in female participation per ORF, compounding pre-existing inequality as women suffer a 35 per cent pay gap vis-à-vis men (vis-à-vis 17 per cent globally). Our Top 10 ideas can catalyse USD 243 billion in investments, create 117 million jobs and impact 1.36 billion lives. This report is the story of women uprising in commerce.” said Amit Bhatia, Founder of Aspire Circle & Creator – Impact Future Project.
“The last two years have been challenging for women, largely employed and hidden in the unorganized sector. Governments, multilateral agencies, and investors across the world should be aware that FemTech offers an opportunity to the women to come out of poverty and claim their rightful place in the society and economy, enable inclusion and shape a ‘green’ and ‘clean’ economy,” says Reema Nanavaty, Executive Director, Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA).
“The country’s accelerated Internet economy is a great opportunity towards gender equality, and we need to build safe, high-value, scalable online communities with women entrepreneurs at the heart of the ecosystem. By investing in India’s women entrepreneurs, we are building a foundation from the ground-up, for a less volatile, and more equitable, sustainable, successful economy,” says Sairee Chahal, CEO & Founder, SHEROES and Mahila Money.
“According to UN, gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable world. Therefore, there is a strong positive correlation found between economic development and gender equality. For a country like India, we cannot afford to ignore the 50 per cent of the population that will be critical in the making of a USD 5 trillion-dollar Indian Impact Economy.” says Sushma Kaushik, Partner, Aavishkaar Capital.