Young Bollywood star Bhumi Pednekar is one of the woke celebrities in Bollywood who constantly raises her voice to speak up about climate change through her non-profit advocacy platform Climate Warrior, the need for better pay for women in the film industry and the issue of gender inclusivity.
It is clear that society needs to have more women icons to give necessary voice to the needs and issues of women across the country. On the occasion of this year’s International Women’s Day, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has roped in Bhumi Pednekar for their marquee campaign ‘Women at Work – Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Future Tomorrow’.
UNDP, in collaboration with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, intends to implement a 12 month-long campaign on the theme. Bhumi is expected to vocalise on several issues like equipping young women to challenges and opportunities in non-traditional roles and career paths, the importance of creating an eco-system to promote non-traditional aspirations for young women, role of government, businesses, NGOs, CSOs and individuals (influencers) and the importance of peer support to women working.
Bhumi Pednekar says, ““Our career pathways and choices are often influenced by people around us and their expectations of us. It limits our aspirations; our potential to truly achieve what we can. This is especially relevant for women and girls given the rigorous social conditioning that they experience. The need for more women in the workforce is not only an economic imperative but a social one as well. Our workspaces need to be inclusive encouraging diverse skill sets and expertise. This can be made possible when women occupy spaces in leading roles, breaking stereotypes, and barriers inspiring others especially, young girls to aspire and realise their full potential.”
Bhumi Pednekar adds, “I’m very pleased to be part of UNDP’s International Women’s Day campaign on Women at Work raising the important issue of leadership roles for women in the workspace and equal opportunities for all. Through my movies, I have portrayed different characters that provide an alternative to stereotyping of female actors, fully aware that cinema can have a lasting impression on people. I look forward to contributing my part to creating conversations on this theme during my association with UNDP.”
As per the World Bank, India already has one of the lowest and declining female labour force participation rates in the world. Women own only 13.76% of total enterprises in India, and face lot of difficulties in running a business, including gender bias in access to finance. Many women-run enterprises have been hit the most by the pandemic too. Studies show that women business-owners could potentially create 150-170 million jobs in India by 2030. The International Monetary Fund estimates that equal participation of women in workforce will increase India’s GDP by 27%. The economic impact of achieving gender equality in India is estimated to be USD700 billion of added GDP by 2025.