Why do we celebrate Women’s Equality Day? The answer lies in history, etched with resilience and persistence. Tracing back to 1971, Congress marked August 26 as a path-breaking day, not just to honor the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment but to shine a spotlight on the ongoing pursuit of women for complete equality.
In India, Women’s Equality Day holds a unique significance. It commemorates the day when women were bestowed with equal voting rights. This monumental step paved the way for women to fight for their rights across every track of the socio-economic spectrum. While the US initiated the observation of this day due to the 19th Amendment in 1920, India’s embrace of Women’s Equality Day is synonymous with granting women a voice and a host of opportunities.
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Over the years, this celebration has transcended borders, echoing worldwide. The spirit of Women’s Equality Day roots back to the 19th Amendment that granted American women the right to vote. However, despite India’s long-standing tradition of women exercising their voting rights, a huge battle against deep-rooted sexism within homes and workplaces still persists. Brands like Ariel have risen to the occasion. In 2015, Ariel launched the #ShareTheLoad campaign, casting a spotlight on unequal gender expectations within households.
Quite significantly, age-old stereotypes are now shattering within corporate boardrooms and corridors of power. Leading lights like Indira Nooyi, Kiran Mazumdar Shah, and Ritu Kumar have trailblazed a path for women entrepreneurs in India.
The 6th Economic Census by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation shows that 14% of entrepreneurs in India are women. While this might not be an astronomical figure, it marks significant progress from the past decades, displaying that women in India are making
strides, yet the journey ahead is long.
Entrepreneurship is becoming the expressway to leadership for many women; in the US, women-owned businesses have surged by 74% in the last two decades, 1.5 times the national average. Today’s entrepreneurial landscape empowers women to shape their careers, break the glass ceiling, and find the right work-life balance they deserve.
Moreover, female entrepreneurs are becoming architects of a new reality, creating workplaces that empower other ambitious women. This collective rise is not just beneficial for society but for the economy as well. Point to ponder is McKinsey’s global analysis which predicts that gender equality in the workforce could potentially inject a staggering 28 trillion dollars into the global economy by 2025.