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Discourse on Nari Shakti: Women-led Development on the occasion of celebration of International Women’s Day (8 March 2023)

Permanent Mission of India


Discourse on Nari Shakti: Women-led Development

On the occasion of celebration of International Women’s Day

8 March 2023 at 1630 hrs. (CET)

A Discourse on “Nari Shakti (Women Power): Women-led Development” was organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) as part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (AKAM) celebrations on 8 March 2023 at 1630 hrs. CET at UN HQ, Palais des Nations, Geneva.   The Discourse was useful in highlighting the paradigm shift in India from women’s development to women-led development and brought to the fore insights of the women-led development approach as well as the policies and initiatives of gender inclusion in India at the global / multilateral stage.  

2. Addressing the 250+ international community audience present in the UN Hall through a video message, H.E. Ms. Smriti Irani, Hon’ble Minister of Women & Child Development and Minority Affairs, highlighted the paradigm shift in focus in India from women’s development to women-led development to ensure that women in India become architect of their own destiny. Hon’ble Minister cited a few policy decisions of Government of India, including Jan Dhan Yojana, Mudra Yojana, Gender Inclusion Fund under the New Education Policy, etc. which have far-reaching and positive impact on women in India.  Hon’ble Minister  highlighted that  STEM Graduates, men and women,  are equal in India. She urged the international community to make a paradigm shift in governance to women-led development. 

3. H.E. Ms. Meenakashi Lekhi, Hon’ble Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture, through her video message, re-affirmed that India, as a nation and culture, strongly believes and infuses the feminine virtues in its pursuit towards building a great nation and called for emulation of women-led development approach globally.

4. H.E. Ms. Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary General, UNCTAD emphasised that the issue of women empowerment needs to be pursued with honesty, conviction and inclusiveness.

5. Apart from speaking on the issue of women empowerment, H.E. Ms. Doreen Bogdan-Martin, Secretary General, International Telecommunications Union, (ITU) shared that ITU would soon open its much-awaited Area Office and Innovation Centre for South Asia in New Delhi and that she looked forward to be in India for this landmark achievement and thanked the Government of India for its strong support.

6. H.E. Mr. Volker Türk, High Commissioner for Human Rights (HCHR), emphasized that women’s equality is central to all human rights and to our collective future.  

7. Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, Permanent Representative (PR) of India to the UN and other International Organizations, Geneva, while delivering his Welcome Remarks, reiterated the shift in focus in India from women’s development to women-led development. PR cited Indian Delegate Hansa Mehta’s seminal contribution in drafting of Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR), which is celebrating its 75th Anniversary. PR emphasised that creating a gender inclusive polity and achieving gender inclusive development and empowerment of women have been the key priorities for India.  PR advocated for the global implementation of the Indian approach of women-led development.

8. H.E. Ms. Tatiana Valovaya, Director General, United Nations Office at Geneva, Chief Guest at the event, drew attention, in her remarks, to the dangers of perpetuation of stereotypes and discrimination against women through Artificial Intelligence.  Other eminent Keynote Speakers, included H.E. Ms. Lotte Knudsen, Head of Delegation, EU Delegation to the UN, Ms. Osnat Lubrani, Acting Director, UN Women and Ms. Sofia Stril-Rever, Founder, Be The Love, also shared their thoughts and perspectives on Nari Shakti and women-led development. 

9. A comprehensive presentation on “Nari Shakti: Women-led Development” was made by Mrs. Sushma Pandey, spouse of Ambassador Indra Mani Pandey, PR of India to the UN. She spoke about gender equality and women empowerment and stressed that it was an opportune moment to bring about the shift to women-led development, especially with a view to realization of the Agenda 2030 of SDGs.  She highlighted key initiatives of the Government of India aimed at unleashing Nari Shakti for New India adding that women-led development is one of the key priorities of India during its G-20 Presidency. 

10. There was an interactive session at the end at the end of the Discourse, which was attended in person by over 250 members of the international, Swiss and Indian communities, including a significant number of Ambassadors / PRs to the UN from various countries of the world, and members of IOs, NGOs and members of the Indian diaspora as well as students.