Editorial 1: A sustainable model for women’s leadership


  • Today the world is home to a transformative generation of 900 million adolescent girls and young women poised to shape the future of work and growth. If this cohort of young women could be equipped with the right resources and opportunities to nurture the 21st century skills, they would become the largest segment of women leaders, change-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in history.

Women empowerment and India

Women Empowerment is concerned with giving equal rights to women for their growth and development in society as given to men. Women empowerment is sought in every field, and the major types or components of it are political, social, economic and cultural empowerment of women.
  • Given the many socio-economic barriers that adolescent girls confront from their earliest years, we believe that the work to cultivate their agency — for education systems to expose them to new age skill sets, critical thinking, and leadership qualities — must begin early.
  • India, home to one of the largest generations of girls and young women, has undertaken wide-ranging initiatives across the critical domains of education, health, digital and financial inclusion, leadership building, and have established feasible frameworks to help in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, which envisions the world to be a more gender equal place by 2030.

Scaling EdTech solutions

  • As access to digital technology increasingly becomes an arena of opportunity and basic service for children and young people, EdTech gives us tools to bridge part of the accessibility gap in education through hybrid learning models, even where girls’ access to schooling is restricted by harmful norms. Building and scaling up solutions customised to the language, cultural nuances, and Internet accessibility of individual communities can give girls equal access to knowledge through digital inclusion.
  • World Bank notes that over 43% of Indian STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates are women. However, not all of them are represented in the workforce and tech leadership. Although STEM education among girls appears to have picked up pace over the years, there are prevailing stereotypes that characterise it as a traditionally masculine domain.
  • Some of the barriers that explain why increased women’s representation in STEM education does not translate into work participation are:
  1. Gender norms that disproportionately allocate domestic and care responsibilities to women
  2. Representation of men as leaders of STEM, finance, and entrepreneurial fields in the public perception
  3. Institutional mechanisms (inadequate maternity leave, few flexible work arrangements, lack of childcare facilities in the workplace) etc
  • Actively countering these stereotypes calls for the inclusion of grade-appropriate STEM, financial education, and entrepreneurship syllabi into the educational curriculum for girls. Introducing elements such as Olympiads, innovation labs, bootcamps and competitions can expose girls to practical applications and inspire them to build solutions to challenges in their ecosystem.

Bodily choices and healthy development

  • Women need to be empowered to make decisions about their bodies, such as whether to have sexual relations or not, when to initiate sexual relations, to use contraceptives or not, and to seek health care when needed. They also need to be free from all forms of violence and harassment.
  • Sporting activities are synonymous with promoting leadership, self-sufficiency, and teamwork. The inclusion of adolescent girls and young women in sports can go a long way in building their self-confidence, strengthening self-belief, and imparting the nuances of teamwork.
  • Initiatives such as the National Sports Policy, as well as inclusion programmes for children from vulnerable communities have seen remarkable success.

Redistribute care work

  • From domestic chores to caring for loved ones, the backbone of thriving families, communities and economies largely falls on women. It increases in times of crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, that starkly brought out women’s disproportionate care burden. In India, this was exacerbated owing to socio-cultural norms that relegate women to unpaid reproductive labour.
  • It is crucial for us to recognise, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work, so that women may enjoy economic opportunities and outcomes on an equal footing to men.
  • Policies that provide services, social protection and basic infrastructure, promote sharing of domestic and care work between men and women, and create more paid jobs in the care economy, are urgently needed to accelerate progress on women’s economic empowerment.
  • A multi-pronged approach across enhancing employability, sport for leadership, digital innovations and learning, and bodily autonomy is the key to strengthening leadership abilities among adolescent girls and young women.


  • Nurturing girls’ leadership abilities is our collective first step towards breaking down restrictive gender norms and barriers for truly gender transformative growth and accelerating girl-and-women-led progress across the Sustainable Development Goals for India and the world.

Editorial 2: China, India and the promise of the power of two


  • The year 2023 marks a high point in India’s diplomacy, with its presidentship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and the G-20. The focus is also on China which held “two sessions” recently: the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China and the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Here are some insights into China’s development.

China’s focus areas

  • The development of China in recent years can be summarised in four points.

1.Steady growth

  • In 2022, China’s economy grew by 3% with a total of 12.06 million urban jobs added. China’s GDP increased to 121 trillion yuan (approximately $18 trillion), registering an annual growth rate of 5.2% over the past five years and an annual growth of 6.2% over the past decade with GDP increasing by nearly 70 trillion yuan. China’s economic strength is steadily reaching new heights.

2.People’s well-being

  • As a result of continued efforts of the past eight years, China has historically resolved absolute poverty, with the alleviation of close to 100 million rural residents from poverty. Over 70% of the government’s expenditure went toward ensuring people’s well-being. Basic old age insurance covers 1.05 billion people, an increase of 140 million. Living standards continue to witness new improvements.

3.Opening up

  • In 2022, China’s total volume of trade in goods exceeded 40 trillion yuan, registering an annual growth rate of 8.6%. China’s actual use of foreign capital was up by 8% and the country remained one of the top destinations for foreign investors. The overall tariff level continues to fall, from 9.8% to 7.4%. China’s doors to the outside world are opening even wider.

4.Win-win cooperation

  • During 2013-2021, China’s contribution to global economic growth averaged 38.6%, higher than that of G7 countries combined (25.7%). Ever since the Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in 2021, more than 100 countries have expressed their support and over 60 countries have joined the Group of Friends of the GDI.

On trade

  • China and India are important trading partners, with bilateral trade volume reaching $135.984 billion in 2022. Though there is a trade deficit, India’s import of equipment and materials from China does reduce the overall cost of “Made-in-India” products, benefits Indian downstream industries and consumers, enhances the competitiveness of Indian exports, and in turn facilitates India’s integration into global industrial and supply chains.
  • The Chinese market is open to India, and the Chinese side is happy to see more high-quality Indian goods, cultural and other products entering the Chinese market. Investments by Chinese enterprises have created a large number of jobs for the Indian people and contributed to India’s economic development. We hope that the Indian side could provide a fair, just and non-discriminatory business environment for Chinese companies with their investment and operations in India.

Facilitating an ‘Asian Century’

  • In his recent meeting with India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang said that the development and revitalisation of China and India embody a boost to the force of developing countries; it is one that will change the destiny of a third of the world’s population and having bearing on the future of Asia and beyond. This echoes what Mr. Jaishankar had expressed in 2022 — that the Asian Century will happen when China and India come together.
  • China is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with India, be a partner on the path to modernisation, safeguard the respective legitimate rights and the common interests of developing countries, and make contributions to peace and stability in the region and beyond.


  • As two neighbouring and ancient civilisations, with a combined population of 2.8 billion, China and India are representatives of developing countries and emerging economies. India and China are both in the process of national rejuvenation and a crucial period of modernisation where challenges need to be overcome and problems need to be solved. China and India have far more common interests than differences.


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