One event, two top Indian women, two different understanding of their plight


Hours after India’s HRD Minister, Smriti Irani said that Indian women enjoyed freedom, the founder and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani, said it was unfortunate to see women in India being “discriminated even before birth”.

“There are over one million Indian children who lose their lives before the age of five, and at least 300,000 who die on the first day of birth – a majority of these children are girls,” Ambani said addressing the Women in the World India Summit in Delhi.

“It is unfortunate to see women in India being discriminated even before birth.”

Ambani said it was her “moral responsibility” towards the society to help empower women and not just some act of corporate social responsibility or philanthropy.

Quoting a study by the International Monetary Fund, she said if women in India were to join the workforce as much as men, the GDP of the country would go up by 27 percent.

Calling it a “debt” that she owes to the “unfortunate” ones in the society who do not have access to health, education, or basic human necessities, Ambani shared the instances of women in some of the poorest villages she works with, who are now self-reliant, she said.

The one-day summit being held in the national capital has hosted women entrepreneurs, activists, and business heads from across the world to discuss global issues like the refugee crises, female infanticide, education and other human issues.

While addressing the same event, Irani had claimed that Indian women enjoyed freedom and never dictated over what they chose to wear.

While in conversation with media personality Tina Brown, she was asked about the growing intolerance issue in the country and the returning of awards, Irani resorted to the “freedom” of Indian women.

“I think that these challenges and push and pulls are part and parcel of each and every country in the world,” she said.