Empowering Women and Transgender Persons to Become Entrepreneurs a Major Debating Point at the 2nd Edition of ICGE

Measures to unleash the economic potential of women and transgender persons that would empower them to become sustainable entrepreneurs will be the focus of the upcoming second edition of the International Conference on Gender Equality (ICGE), a signature event of the Kerala government’s Gender Park.

Policymakers, academics, professionals and domain experts from across the globe attending the event will also brainstorm the crucial linkages between entrepreneurship, economic growth and poverty alleviation, which are in tune with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In addition, they will chart out an actionable roadmap to facilitate women and transgender persons for their active participation in entrepreneurship and social businesses by making the process more gender inclusive, especially during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘Gender in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Social Business: The Mediating Role of Empowerment’ is the focal theme of the high-profile event, to be held at the Park’s sprawling campus in Kozhikode from February 11-13.

It is significant to note that the 13th Five Year Plan (2017-22) has laid great emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurship among women. This seeks to create more job opportunities for women, thereby empowering them to be economically self-reliant, Kerala Health, Social Justice and Women and Child Development Minister K K Shailaja said.

Though women entrepreneurship in the state has achieved rapid growth, that has not been properly recorded. Despite persistent efforts, sustainable women entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship have not become the topic of serious debate. In the case of transgender persons, even accurate statistics regarding their entrepreneurship are not available, she added.

Gender Park CEO Dr P T M Sunish said the theme of the ICGE-II is relevant for India and more so for Kerala, with high levels of educated unemployment, which is significant amongst women.

The 13th Five-Year Plan of Kerala (2017-2022) stresses on skill development, employment generation and sustainable livelihoods with an emphasis on women entrepreneurship, which has grown rapidly in recent years but has not been mapped.

Despite several initiatives, issues related to sustainable entrepreneurship and social businesses have not yet been mainstreamed into the discussion on women’s employment and engagement in entrepreneurship. Transgender individuals have witnessed even worse conditions in the absence of conclusive data about them in the country’s gender statistics.

“Our efforts would be geared towards gathering and sharing more information with a wider audience about best practices and lessons learned. Despite the challenges, a string of initiatives by civil society and multiple state interventions have resulted in women and transgender persons overcoming obstacles to imprint their presence in the realm of sustainable entrepreneurship” Dr Sunish said.

“We need to document this process by sharing viewpoints, experiences and ideas from across the globe with a wide spectrum of audiences,” he said.

Focusing on sustainable entrepreneurship and social business can tackle different SDGs, such as keeping a special focus on Gender Equality; building Sustainable Communities; encouraging the growth of micro, small and medium enterprises; aiding individuals for a social entrepreneurial journey into Sustainable Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure; and reducing inequalities.

Further, it will directly and specifically contribute to substantial increase in the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, entrepreneurship and innovation besides ensuring access to financial services.

“It is, therefore, imperative to discuss how sustainable entrepreneurship and social business can help in the achievement of SDGs. ICGE-II will provide a perfect interactive platform for this,” the Gender Park CEO said.

The first edition of ICGE was centred around ‘Gender, Governance and Inclusion’ and saw the official release of the Kerala State Policy for Transgenders, 2015. Transgender leaders also participated and discussed the relevance of the policy in their lives.


more recommended stories