Conditions for Women’s Leadership: Unleashing Her Potential

Today, the world is home to 900 million adolescent girls and young women who are poised to shape the future of work and growth. If this generation of young women is given the resources and opportunities to develop 21st-century skills, they will be the largest group of female leaders, change-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in history.

Indian Women

  • India, which has one of the largest generations of girls and young women, has made significant progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5, which envisions a more gender-equal world by 2030, in areas such as education, health, digital and financial inclusion, and leadership development.
  • To unleash the gender dividend and foster female leadership, women at all levels of society must have access to information and communication technology (ICT), bodily autonomy and safety, shared household responsibility, and equal participation in decision-making spaces.

What are the conditions that must be met for women’s leadership to thrive?

Cultivating Agency

  • Given the socioeconomic barriers that adolescent girls face from the start, the work to cultivate their agency must begin early.
  • India’s initiatives in various domains, such as education, health, digital and financial inclusion, and leadership development, are aimed at achieving SDG 5, which envisions a more gender-equal world by 2030.

Inclusion in ICT

  • Inclusion of women in information and communication technology (ICT) at all levels of society is critical.
  • As access to digital technology becomes more of a source of opportunity and a basic service, EdTech can bridge the accessibility gap in education through hybrid learning models, even in areas where girls’ access to schooling is limited by harmful norms.

STEM Education

  • The prevalent stereotypes that portray STEM education as a traditionally masculine domain, despite the fact that more than 43% of Indian STEM graduates are women.
  • Gender norms that disproportionately assign domestic and care responsibilities to women, public perception of men as leaders in STEM, finance, and entrepreneurial fields, and institutional mechanisms are some of the barriers that explain why increased female representation in STEM education does not translate into work participation.
  • To actively combat these stereotypes, grade-appropriate STEM, financial education, and entrepreneurship syllabi must be included in the educational curriculum for girls.

Bodily Autonomy and Safety

  • It is critical to empower women to make decisions about their bodies and to be free of all forms of violence and harassment.
  • These fundamental conditions are required for women and young girls to chart the course of their personal and professional lives.

Sport for Leadership

  • Sports can help to develop leadership, self-sufficiency, and teamwork. Adolescent girls and young women who participate in sports can gain self-confidence, strengthen self-belief, and learn the nuances of teamwork.
  • The National Sports Policy, as well as inclusion programmes for children from vulnerable communities, have had remarkable success.

Redistribute Care Work

  • Women are the backbone of thriving families, communities, and economies, and their importance grows in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Unpaid care and domestic work must be recognised, reduced, and redistributed so that women can enjoy equal economic opportunities and outcomes as men.
  • Policies that provide services, social protection, and basic infrastructure, encourage men and women to share domestic and care work, and create more paid jobs in the care economy, are all urgently needed to accelerate progress towards women’s economic empowerment.

@the end

Nurturing adolescent girls’ and young women’s leadership abilities is critical for breaking down restrictive gender norms and barriers and accelerating progress towards Sustainable Development Goals. We can create a more gender equal world and unleash the full potential of the next generation of female leaders by working together to empower girls and women.

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