Women, especially in the rural and semi-urban areas, are deprived of access to resources and opportunities in comparison to their male counterparts and become victims of injustice and lag due to their gender. The same is highlighted in the fact that India is ranked at 127 out of 152 countries, on the Gender Inequality Index (GII).
As the marginalized woman from grassroots try to overcome challenges and try to access the resources to reduce the gender gap, she is pulled back due to illiteracy, lack of support from family and community, and various other factors. Thus, it is a constant struggle for these women to create a difference in their lives and those of others in community.
Despite the odds stacked against her, there are examples of women who show extraordinary courage and have been constantly striving to close the inequality gap between men and women.
However, most of the time such extraordinary women go unnoticed. CII Foundation (CIIF) through its initiative, Women Exemplar Program seeks to identify, recognize, empower and support marginalized women who overcame all challenges and contributed significantly to their communities in the areas of Education, Health and Micro Enterprise. Every year, one exemplar in each category is selected, from amongst hundreds of applicants, and recognised with a financial support of INR 3 lakhs. The exemplars are further empowered by building their capacities, providing mentorship support and facilitating market linkages, as the need be, through corporate engagement.
The nominees are screened and rigorously evaluated on their vision, unique approach adopted to achieve desired results, key achievements and number of beneficiaries reached out to. Since its inception in 2005, nominations have been received from almost every state (27 states) across India, and 32 outstanding women exemplars have been recognized and supported.
CIIF has announced the CII Foundation Woman Exemplar Program 2016 and the process of selecting the finalists is underway.
In this edition of the CII blogs, we showcase stories of extraordinary women who have empowered themselves and the society through their vision and grit.
Dr. Naushad Forbes
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) & Co-Chairman of Forbes Marshall