Brainstorming At Its Very Best

A panel discussion on

“Foundation & Lifecycle Interventions to EMPOWER”

The 12th edition of IDEATE, a Bansidhar & Ila Panda Foundation initiative in partnership with FICCI and UNICEF as knowledge partner, organised under the auspices of G20 Empower Jan Bhagidari.

Chief Guest Shri Vipin Kumar, Additional Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, Government of India, emphasized the importance of providing quality education to girls in India, focusing on vocational education as a means to ensure employability and relevance to the demands of the industry.

In his welcome address, Subhrakant Panda, President of FICCI, MD IMFA and Trustee at BIPF, highlighted the importance of investing early in adolescent development. He said, “India has the largest adolescent population in the world, with every fifth person in the 10-19 age group. Given that approximately 47% of this cohort are girls, the need of the hour is their technical and educational upliftment so they go on to have skillsets which enable them to tackle any challenges and be equal partners in India's progress. Emphasised the importance of closing the gender gap in education, health, and job opportunities, boosting economic growth and inclusivity. Urged a holistic approach, focusing on empowerment by seeing women as agents of change rather than just beneficiaries of health and development programs”.

Delivering the keynote address, Cynthia McCaffrey, UNICEF India Representative, emphasized on a multi-sectoral approach to empowering young women and girls. She said “Getting to the root causes and barriers holding girls back in the digital age needs to be addressed from all aspects. It is not just about closing the gender gap, but also about creating a generation of innovators, creators, and leaders to shape a more inclusive and equitable society. Adopting a multi-sectoral approach, working together with businesses, we need to ensure early access to technology, digital, and life skills training. We need to redouble efforts that address harmful gender stereotypes within and outside families including online abuse”.

During the event, Shaifalika Panda Trustee and Founder CEO of the Bansidhar and Ila Panda Foundation, said, "An inclusive environment that promotes equity for girls from their foundational years will foster an environment where they will build the necessary skills and confidence for an independent outlook. Mentoring them across their lifecycle will empower them to follow their dream and achieve their full potential – creating a more equitable and just society with a high percentage of women's economic representation." She hosted a fireside chat on mentoring across the lifecycle of girls and featured panelists Ashish Dhawan, Founder CEO, The Convergence Foundation, and Manya Mishra, Youth Icon. The conversation explored the creation of a progressive adolescent ecosystem and the importance of mentoring from childhood to adulthood.

In addition, a panel discussion titled "Empowering Girls during the Foundational Years" was moderated by Namita Bhandare, Independent Journalist & Writer. The panelists, including Osama Manzar, Founder & Director, DEF (Digital Empowerment Foundation); Maharshi Vaishnav, CEO, Educate Girls; Praveen Kumar Karn, Head - Group CSR, Spark Minda Group; Shipra Jha, Gender Specialist, UNICEF and Anita Kujur, Student of Medicine delved into the importance of sustained efforts in education, life skills, health, hygiene, digital skills, livelihood opportunities, capacity building, and nurturing family and mother-child health.