The United States is deploying its public diplomacy professionals to mentor women-led, early-stage ventures in India, a top American diplomat has said.
In her address to the US-India Alliance Shatter Summit, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said when women succeed, inclusiveness increases and discrimination declines and when women thrive, communities are stronger and economies are more resilient.
We are deploying our public diplomacy professionals to mentor women-led, early-stage ventures in India from an idea on the back of a napkin to a fully-functioning business, Sherman said.
Women are critical for rapid and sustainable growth in India and everywhere. Indeed, before the pandemic, one study estimated that gender parity could add USD 770 billion to India's GDP by 2025, Sherman said.
We are helping equip female entrepreneurs, in India and South Asia, with the digital skills needed to compete in the 21st century. And we are supporting women disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, she said in her address that was attended by a who's who of women leaders from both India and the United States.
Empowering women and girls to participate in India's economy will spur its prosperity; enrich its society; and strengthen the bonds of friendship between the two nations, she said.
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Our belief in this vision of equality and equal opportunity is about more than rhetorical promises we will make to each other at this summit. It is an enduring commitment of our administration, Sherman said, adding that it is at the top of the agenda in America's diplomatic engagements in India, South and Central Asia.
Sherman said she was recently in Cleveland, Ohio, to be at Case Western Reserve and then to meet with the Ukrainian American community, and she called out the importance of women and girls in each of those as well.
It is a core priority for the leaders in this room and for our counterparts abroad in the US and Indian governments, in industry and business, in schools and civil society, in aid programmes and academia. For us here at the State Department, we have translated that priority into tangible results and made it an integrated part of our daily routine, she said.
We've had women Secretaries of State, but never a deputy. It's pathetic that it took us until 2021 to get there, so I urge India to move a little faster than we have, Sherman, the first woman Deputy Secretary of State, said.
Just last month, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, alongside officials from the White House and USAID, rolled out the United States' first-ever Strategy of Global Women's Economic Security a roadmap for investing in women entrepreneurs, women-owned businesses and start-ups, women and girls' training and education, she noted.
Last week, the secretary joined America's mayors to highlight the importance of expanding inclusive opportunities for women- and minority-owned enterprises because doing this work is essential to growth in our cities just like it is central for India and elsewhere, said the American diplomat.
Sherman asserted that every market will be better off, every nation will be more stable, and every region will be more secure when the entire population sees the doors of possibility swing wide open for women, for girls, for everyone.
That must remain our vision and our purpose, in the US and India, in the public and private sectors, at this summit and every single day of our lives, she said. When women lead, our planet is more prosperous, our people are safer, and our future looks brighter than ever before, Sherman said.
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