Date: Jul 18, 2023
Panel Discussion | Half the Sky: Catalysing Women-Led Development

Around the world, a new discourse on women-led development (WLD) has begun to emerge. Distinct from women’s empowerment, WLD is a gender-transformative approach that foregrounds the role of women’s leadership for achieving progress. While Goal 5 of the Agenda 2030 calls for equal opportunities for women’s leadership at every level of decision-making, the idea of WLD goes a step further, and envisions a new narrative of social, economic, and political transformation.

WLD has been a core priority of the Indian G20 Presidency, and as recently as June 2023, Prime Minister Modi urged G20 Ministers to adopt a “game-changing action plan for women-led development”. Earlier, in March, the PM had observed that over the last nine years, India had transitioned from supporting women’s development to enabling WLD.

The figures bear this out. Today, in India women occupy 36 percent of senior and leadership positions at midsized businesses, surpassing the global average by 4 percent. Visionary Indian women entrepreneurs are creating wealth and opportunities for millions of others. As the pandemic paralysed the country, 6 million women acted as first responders, and spearheaded India’s mission to save lives. Nearly 280 million women have availed of MUDRA loans, unleashing personal economic potential on an unprecedented scale. And as the PM has pointed out, women’s enrolment in the fields of STEM is currently at 43 percent, and is powering a rising, digital India. In this context, some of the questions the panel will explore are:

  • How can ecosystems for women’s skilling and entrepreneurship be strengthened?
  • Are digital inclusion and technological empowerment catalysing women’s leadership?
  • How might we boost women’s participation and leadership in the creative economy?
  • Could women themselves form mentorship networks or sororities of support to nurture talent?
  • Are there cases of WLD from India that could serve as models for other geographies?


3:30 - 3:35 p.m. Welcome remarks by Nilanjan Ghosh, Director, Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Kolkata
3:35 – 4:35 p.m.

Panel Discussion

  • Anisha Singh Motwani, Founder and CEO, Havas QED
  • Somshuvro Chatterjee, Chief Learning Officer, Anudip Foundation
  • Ramanjit Kaur, Founder Director, The Creative Arts and National Vice President, Arts Leadership Council, WICCI
  • Raktima Mukhopadhyay, Executive Director, IBRAD
  • Suparna Dutta, Lead Policy Analyst and Applied Researcher, SwitchON Foundation


  • Pratnashree Basu, Associate Fellow, ORF
4:35 – 4:55 p.m. Q & A
4:55 – 5:00 p.m. Vote of Thanks: Anirban Sarma, Senior Fellow, ORF
5:00 – 5:30 p.m. High Tea

Venue Address

ORF Kolkata