Women in India using digital technologies to transform communities could help in accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said leaders on September 23 at high-level discussions organised by Reliance Foundation, Observer Research Foundation, and United Nations in India to complement the 77th UNGA discussions.
The events included the launch of "Aspirations, Access, and Agency: Women Transforming Lives with Technology," a publication by Reliance Foundation and Observer Research Foundation which covers inspirational stories of women using digital technologies to bring entitlements, financial services, healthcare, sanitation and more to India’s remotest corners.
During a discussion on ‘Women Technology and the SDGs’, Shombi Sharp, UN Resident Coordinator, India, said women are at the frontlines of both long-term development and short-term crisis response.
According to a statement by Reliance Foundation, India is expected to have 1 billion smartphone users in the next four years with demand rising dramatically in rural areas. Today, 54 percent of women in India have a mobile phone, while women operating bank accounts independently have increased to nearly 80 percent.
“Reliance’s commitment to development is rooted in our philosophy of ‘We Care’. We are focusing on enabling platforms across sectors to achieve SDGs in India; from women, empowerment to green growth and equitable development of all,” said Jagannatha Kumar, CEO, of Reliance Foundation.
“Real progress is possible only if our efforts are inclusive, green, led by communities, and catalysed by agile policies and leadership—all attributes of the emerging yet distinct India story,” added Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation.
Moreover, in the context of India’s G20 presidency, External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar said the G20 forum was an ideal body to listen to concerns of developing countries. India has invited many nations to participate during its presidency so that more voices get to talk about the real problems of the world which may not necessarily be getting the awareness or recognition that they deserve. He also emphasized the need for multilateralism and the importance of its reform.
Further, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former Administrator of UNDP, Helen Clark, highlighted the importance of ensuring that women have equal access to connectivity so that they are able to fully participate in society to access health information, use it for education, government services, financial services and more.