Breaking barriers, building futures: BRICS CCI WE’s 4th Annual Summit highlights women’s achievements

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New Delhi, March 8 (IANS) With the emphasis on women-led development in India’s G-20 Presidency and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of fostering inclusivity and driving positive change, BRICS CCI WE, the women’s empowerment vertical of the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry, hosted its fourth Annual Summit and Felicitations 2024 on the theme ‘The Changing Narrative: Women Development to Women-led Development’.

BRICS CCI WE also unveiled a report, ‘New Era of BRICS: Horizons in Tech and Business for Women Empowerment’, with special emphasis on the technology and entrepreneurship landscape for women across the BRICS countries.

The vertical also hosted the convocation of the first batch of women participants in the BRICS CCI WE Global Women Leadership Programme at the Summit.

The summit was graced by diplomats from the Embassies of Russia, China, Brazil, South Africa, Iran, Cuba, Costa Rica, Chile, Belarus, Gambia, Angola, Chad, Comoros, and Venezuela, among others.

Sonal Mansingh, Padma Vibhushan awardee and Member of Rajya Sabha, was the chief guest at the Summit.

Shazia Ilmi, national spokesperson of the BJP’ Swati Singh, former Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Women and Child Welfare, Government of Uttar Pradesh; Sanjay Bhattacharyya (Retd.), former BRICS Sherpa and Secretary to Government of India; and Ajay Chaudhary (IPS), Special Commissioner of Police in charge of Special Police Unit for Women & Children and Special Police Unit for North-East Region, also addressed the gathering.

In her welcome address, Ruby Sinha, President, BRICS CCI WE, said, “The transition from women’s development to women-led development signifies not just a change in narrative, but a commitment to empower half of our population. Women are no longer viewed as passive recipients of aid, but as active agents of change, capable of leading and shaping their own development and that of their communities.”

Chief guest Sonal Mansingh said in her address, “Women’s leadership is indispensable in building a more equitable and prosperous society. The Summit catalyses amplifying women’s voices and ensuring their active participation in all spheres of life.”

The Summit also honored extraordinary women who have made significant contributions to the advancement of women’s development.

Poonam Dhillon, actor, entrepreneur and politician, was felicitated with the BRICS CCI WE Trailblazer Lifetime Achievement award for her illustrious career, which not only enriched the entertainment industry, but also paved the way for women’s empowerment and leadership in diverse sectors.

Poonam Dhillon said, “Empowering women is not just a moral imperative, but also a strategic necessity for sustainable development. By championing women-led initiatives, we can unlock untapped potential and pave the way for a more inclusive future.”

Raimati Ghiuria, Queen of Millets from Odisha, Meenakshi Gopinath, Founder and Director of WISCOMP (Women in Security, Conflict Management and Peace), and Latika Bhandari, taekwondo athlete, were felicitated as BRICS CCI WE Women Icon Trailblazers.

B.B.L. Madhukar, Director General, BRICS CCI, said, “The fourth Annual Summit and Felicitations of BRICS CCI WE marks another milestone in our journey towards promoting women-led development. By harnessing the collective expertise and resources of the BRICS nations, we can create a more inclusive and equitable world for future generations.”

In her speech, Shazia Ilmi said, “Women’s empowerment is at the heart of our collective progress. Through concerted efforts and policy interventions, we can create an enabling environment where every woman has the opportunity to fulfil her aspirations and contribute to the society.”

Sameep Shastri, Vice Chairman, BRICS CCI, said in his address, “The Summit underscores the importance of women’s empowerment in shaping the narrative of development. As we strive for progress, it is imperative to create opportunities and support mechanisms that enable women to thrive as leaders and change-makers.”

Sanjay Bhattacharyya (Retd.), Former BRICS Sherpa and Secretary to Government of India, stated, “The BRICS CCI WE Annual Summit underscores the significance of women’s leadership in driving socio-economic progress and fostering inclusive growth. Through collaborative efforts, we can harness the potential of women entrepreneurs and leaders to build a better future for all.”

Ajay Chaudhary (IPS) said, “Ensuring the safety and security of women is paramount for their empowerment. By strengthening the law enforcement mechanisms and promoting gender-sensitive policies, we can safeguard women’s rights and dignity.”

The Summit also recognised the achievements of emerging women entrepreneurs, both within and outside the BRICS CCI network, such as Niti Batra, Director of Joy Travels Pvt. Ltd., Amrita V. Chowdhury, Director of Gaia Smart Cities Solutions Pvt. Ltd., N.J. Anitha, Vice-President of SNJ Breweries Pvt. Ltd., and Renu Sharma, CEO of Rajwarah Jewellers, for their exemplary contributions to entrepreneurship and innovation, fostering economic growth and empowerment.

The Summit was also attended by Ashok Kr Singh, Vice Chairman, BRICS CCI, Ruhail Ranjan, Director Finance, Shabana Nasim, Chief Patron, BRICS CCI WE, Ansh Virmani, Country Director, BRICS CCI-UAE Chapter, Ankita Sachdeva, Joint Director, BRICS CCI, and members of the governing body and members of the Chamber.

The eminent panelists engaged in insightful discussions on the theme of women-led development in India and elucidated on the pillars of women-led development, including education, enterprise, financial literacy, and leadership mentoring.

These included Kalpana Sharma, Former Additional Secretary to Lok Sabha, and Senior Advisor – BRICS CCI; Kanta Singh, Deputy Country Representative, UN Women India; Anuradha Agrawal, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR); Gauri Jauhar, Executive Director, Energy Transition & Cleantech Consulting, S&P Global Commodity Insights; Ankit Jhamb, Honorary Advisor, BRICS CCI; Shweta Punj, Deputy Editor, and Co-founder, Whypoll; Gaurav Choudhury, Co-founder and CEO at Earshot Media; Anita Makkar, Founder Principal, The HDFC School; Shormishtha Ghosh, Governing Body Member, BRICS CCI; Amrita V. Chowdhury, Director, Gaia Smart Cities Solutions Pvt. Ltd.; and Semenushkova Ekaterina, Founder, Atlas Social and Cultural Relations Development Centre.

The fourth Annual Summit of BRICS CCI WE concluded with a renewed commitment to advancing women’s leadership and catalysing inclusive development globally.



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