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Ivanka Trump: Reducing gender gap in labour force by half can give $150-bn boost to Indian GDP

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Ivanka Trump, daughter of US President Donald Trump, kicked off a global business summit in Hyderabad on Tuesday by calling for a level playing field for women entrepreneurs, saying it would not only help families but also countries improve their economy.

The 36-year-old Trump, who was accorded a warm welcome in the tech hub of Hyderabad, also praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for building “India as a thriving economy – a beacon of democracy – and a symbol of hope to the world”

“What you are achieving is truly extraordinary… From your childhood selling tea to your election as India’s Prime Minister, you’ve proven that transformational change is possible,” Trump said at the inaugural session of the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES).

She congratulated the people of India on 70 years of Independence. “Through your own enterprise, entrepreneurship, and hard work, the people of India have lifted more than 130 million citizens out of poverty – a remarkable improvement, and one I know will continue to grow under the leadership of Prime Minister Modi,” she said.

Modi used the opportunity to invite investors to India. “To my entrepreneur friends from across the globe, I would like to say: Come, Make in India, Invest in India, for India, and for the world,” the Prime Minister said in his inaugural address.

If India were to close the labour-force gender gap by half, its GDP could grow by over $150 billion in the next three years, said Trump, who is also an adviser to the US president.

India is seeing a drop in women participation in the workforce. Only 27% of working age women were employed in 2015-2016, a World Bank report has said.

“When it comes to equitable laws, while many developed and developing countries have made tremendous strides, there is still much work to be done,” Trump said.

The theme of the conference Women First, Prosperity For All was appropriate as it was the key to future of any country, Trump, wearing a green floral dress, said.

There was a gender entrepreneurship gap world-wide and closing the gap would help grow the GDP by two per cent, she said.

“Women still face steep obstacles to starting, owning and growing their businesses. We must ensure women entrepreneurs have access to capital, access to networks and mentors,” Trump, who is fashion designer, said to loud cheers.

In her 15-minutes speech she mentioned three women, including Rajlakshmi Borthakur, an Assamese entrepreneur based in Bengaluru. “These women represent the vision, ambition and grit of every entrepreneur,” she said about the entrepreneurs who, too, were at the summit.

Borthakur is the founder and CEO of TerraBlue XT, a telemedicine platform for people fighting chronic disorders.

Trump also lauded Modi for his belief that “progress of humanity is incomplete without the empowerment of women”.

India always believed that empowerment of women was vital to development and they had made significant contributions in various walks of life, Modi said.

Trump is leading the US contingent at the summit, a brainchild of former American president Barack Obama. This is the first time that India is hosting the summit.

More than half of the 1,200 participants are women and all-female delegations are representing countries such as Afghanistan, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

source: Hindustan Times

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