Amazon’s Women’s Day Saheli initiative draws a gentle chide from Smriti Irani

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on March 05, 2021

Minister for Women Development for gender-neutral business names

Ahead of International Women’s Day (IWD), announced a collaboration with UN Women to launch a special IWD storefront with a selection of products by women-owned businesses.

Susan Ferguson, Country Representative, UN Women India, inaugurated the storefront at a virtual event in the presence of Smriti Zubin Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development and Textiles, on Friday.

During the launch, as Amit Agarwal, Senior Vice-President and Country Head, Amazon India, pointed to the e-comm major’s Saheli initiative to promote women entre- preneurs, it invited a chiding remark from the Minister, who asked: “If it was a male-based enterprise, would we have called it Sahela?”

Irani said, “My first suggestion is that Amazon should adopt gender neutral nomenclature, especially to describe businesses. I appreciate that you are trying to promote women entrepreneurs, but I think one of the greatest tributes that we can give to them is to signify to the world at large that their businesses and their business intentions and capacities are as robust and as equal to male entrepreneurs.” Saluting the six million women who are at the frontline of managing the Covid-19 pandemic and reinforcing the important role that women-led businesses are playing in India's journey of becoming Atmanirbhar Bharat, the Minister said, “of the 41,000 start-ups in our country which came into existence post Narendra Modi’s service as Pradhan Sevak in our country, 44 per cent are women-led.”

More products

The IWD storefront will make available close to 80,000 products, including organic products, handmade crafts, and healthy snacks.

Over 450 women-led businesses and over 280,000 women entrepreneurs and artisans from Amazon Saheli are likely to be benefited from the special IWD storefront.

Amazon’s contribution

To encourage customers to support women-led small businesses by shopping from them on, for every purchase made on International Women’s Day (March 8), Amazon will contribute ₹25 to directly sponsor a girl child’s education. This will be in partnership with the NGO Nanhi Kali.

Additionally, to mark IWD in India, Amazon unveiled limited-edition bookmarks that feature stories of real women entrepreneurs. Books purchased on Amazon will carry these limited-edition bookmarks throughout this month.

Published on March 05, 2021

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