Observing that steps to empower women have to be taken in a sustainable manner, she said, "Women's development is the only way to move India forward, not just to empower them economically but also to make them feel safe and create situations in which they can be happy. A happy mother is a happy family."
The minister was speaking at a ceremony here last evening to launch the second phase of 'Young Women Social Entrepreneurship Development Programme, initiated by British firm Diageo and its India subsidiary United Spirits Ltd (USL) in association with the British Council.
Speaking on the occasion, British High Commissioner James Bevan said, "My government is a strong supporter of women's empowerment all over the world. It's important to me personally also. So, I know what challenges are faced by girls and women all over the world."
British Council Director Rob Lynes said, "Women represent almost half of the population of India, share a greater amount of work than men but get much less compensation, hence making them dependent and disadvantaged."
Employed women can boost the long term growth curve: Maneka
Noting that only 39 per cent of Indian women were formally employed compared to 81 per cent of men, he said, "It is reasonable to assume that a high proportion of employed women can boost the long term growth curve."
The second phase of the initiative, which was launched in 2013, aims to contribute to entrepreneurship education by training women master trainers, and through them train a larger group of women to become entrepreneurs.
"Through the second phase, we are proud to empower disadvantaged women through social entrepreneurship by nurturing employability, economic independence and an entrepreneurial spirit," said Anand Kripalu, USL's Managing Director and CEO, adding, "It is reasonable to assume that a high proportion of employed women can boost the long term growth curve."