Gender Equality in India – Looking Back to Move Forward

Gender Equality in India – Looking Back to Move Forward

– By Priyanka Cardoz & Angad Bagai

Expanding opportunities to women and moving towards gender equality remains integral to the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, and to the progress of India as a whole. This is not a purely economic imperative, World Economic Forum research suggests a positive correlation between gender equality and a country’s level of competitiveness, its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and even its rank in the Human Development Index. However, women in India today face a variety of significant challenges from both a social and economic lens.

These include inadequate access to inputs and services, including crucial services like healthcare and education, facing normative constraints and socio-cultural barriers which prevent women from not being able to make decisions, and result in mobility and safety constraints, a lack of access to finance, and an inadequate market linkages. A multitude of stakeholders have looked to address these challenges over the last decade, with the government utilising schemes and policy as a lever, and private sector players implementing interventions through CSR and looking to integrate women with the corporate value chain.

A look back reveals that although a variety of programmes have advanced outcomes for women across a range of domains, there is still a need for concerted effort to break the shackle of persistent gender inequities and design targeted solutions which can provide equal opportunities to women. Despite this, it is important to recognise that over the past few years, existing initiatives have been strengthened and innovative interventions have been developed to address these persistent barriers that limit opportunities for women.

You can read the full blog, here.

This is the first in a series we are doing on Gender Equality in India. In our next few pieces, we intend to look more closely at some specific approaches adopted by stakeholders in the ecosystem to solve these challenges. The first three pieces will focus on promising approaches to how the private sector and corporate interest can engage with the barriers, and the final piece will look at the government and its role in building an enabling environment through policy.


Primary authorship: Priyanka Cardoz & Angad Bagai
Inputs from: Atul Sukumar & Shambhavi Srivastava
Data inputs from: Sansiddha Pani

Priyanka Cardoz is part of our Research Advisory team and is based in our Delhi office. Prior to working with Sattva, she worked as a Consultant for the Evaluation Office, at International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie). Priyanka holds a MDes (Social Design) from Ambedkar University and BA (Philosophy) from St Stephens College, New Delhi.

Angad Bagai is part of our Research Advisory team and is based in our Delhi office. Before Sattva, Angad worked with Cankids…Kidscan, and had a stint as a short-term consultant at the World Bank. Angad has a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and English Literature from Tufts University and a Master of Laws from the University of Law in London.

Both Priyanka and Angad have been involved with the BMGF Gender engagement since it started, working to establish a Gender Secretariat for strategic research, advisory and knowledge management support for Gates Foundation.

Sattva has been working with various non-profits and social organisations as well as corporate clients to help them define their social impact goals. Our focus is to solve critical problems and find scalable solutions. We assist organisations in formulating their long-term social impact strategy by strategically aligning with business to provide meaningful solutions to social issues.

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