In a bid to support the economic empowerment of women in India, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday announced $25 million in grants to non-profits and social enterprises in India and around the world.
On the occasion of International Women’s Day, Pichai also committed to help 1 million women in rural villages in India to become entrepreneurs through business tutorials, tools and mentorship, as part of the Google Internet Saathi programme.
“Women are almost twice as likely to lose their jobs during the pandemic and an estimated 20 million girls are at risk of not returning to school. We have the opportunity to build a future that is more equal and more inclusive – and we must take it,” Pichai said during the virtual ‘Google for India’ event.
The company also announced $500,000 Google.org grant to Nasscom Foundation to support 100,000 women agriculture workers with digital and financial literacy.
The virtual event also marked the completion of Google’s joint effort with Tata Trusts to empower women across rural India with digital literacy skills via the Internet Saathi programme that was launched in 2015.
“In bringing today’s technology, and perhaps tomorrow’s technology, to bear for the benefit of rural women is a great move forward. Over time, these efforts will ensure that the true value of the internet can come into the fore,”said Ratan Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts.
Over six years, the Internet Saathi programme has benefitted over 30 million women across India through training provided by over 80,000 “Internet Saathis”.
In a special address, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said that women can act as great enablers of India’s growth story, creating tectonic shifts in society.
“Over the last few years, under Jan Dhan Yojana, we have supported 220 million women to become financially independent. Under the Mudra Yojana, we have dedicated 27 crore worth of funds, accessed by 70 per cent women,” she said during the event.
“I am happy to learn about Google’s efforts and commitment to enable women entrepreneurs in India as these will create pathways for the socio-economic advancement of women,” she added.
Google said it has launched the ‘Women Will’ web platform that will be complemented by community support, mentorship and accelerator programmes for rural women entrepreneurs.
Available in English and Hindi, the platform is designed especially for women aspiring to explore entrepreneurship.
To begin with, Google will work with 2,000 Internet Saathis to help other women gain from this resource and start on their entrepreneurial journey.