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Women’s Day: Google to fund $25 mn for 1 mn rural Indian entrepreneurs

Women’s Day: Google to fund $25 mn for 1 mn rural Indian entrepreneurs

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Virendra Pandit 

New Delhi: On International Women’s Day (March 8, 2021), Google announced on Monday to support 1 million women entrepreneurs in rural India with a $25 million fund.

The fund will support projects involving women and girls and address systemic barriers towards economic equality globally. Towards this objective, Google has invited projects having bold ideas on how to transform economic opportunities for them until April 9. The grant recipients will be announced later in the year, Google said.

“Today at #GoogleForIndia #WomenWill we announced a commitment to support 1M women entrepreneurs in rural India, and a $25M Google Org Impact Challenge for Women & Girls to fund projects addressing systemic barriers to economic equality globally,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Jacqueline Fuller, President of Google Org, said in a blog post, which Pichai shared on Twitter, that if women and girls are given the resources and opportunities to turn their potential to power, it changes the trajectory of their lives as well as strengthens communities.

“I’ve seen this play out first hand while living in India, where public health programs that put resources and decision-making in the hands of women drove much stronger outcomes for their families and villages. I’ve seen this in my own life when bosses – both male and female – gave me stretch opportunities and bet on my leadership,” she said.

Fuller said she was excited to join Pichai to launch their Impact Challenge for women and girls at a ‘Google for India Women Will’ event on Monday morning. Google is calling on ideas from non-profits and social organizations that are working towards the economic empowerment of women and girls to create pathways to prosperity.

The tech giant will provide $25 million in funding overall. Impact Challenge grantees will receive mentoring from Googlers, Ad Grants, and additional support.

Even after the United Nations made ‘gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls’ one of its Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, women and men are still on unequal footing, Fuller regretted, adding that these inequalities have become worse due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Women are almost two times more likely to lose their jobs due to the pandemic, she said. In the US alone, women have lost over 5.4 million jobs, accounting for 55 percent of the 2020 net job losses. An estimated 20 million girls are at the risk of not returning to school, she said.

“Job cuts, income loss, and lack of access to education will prevent the economic advancement of women and girls, particularly those from underserved communities, for generations to come. These alarming realities require swift and powerful action. We have a collective responsibility to make sure that generations of women and girls from all walks of life can live in a world where they are treated equally and reach their full potential,” she said.

Google.org has given more than $55 million to non-profit organizations to support gender equity and access to opportunity. “I’m honored to stand alongside our partners from Vital Voices and Project Everyone, as well as our phenomenal panel of experts, to elevate the critical work that is happening around the world,” she said.

The panel comprises women leaders from more than 15 nations with expertise in global public policy, advocacy, research, business, technology, etc.

 

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