This truly was a historic occasion. For the first time ever, as FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO), in its 36th year, convened its annual session, aptly named – Rising Above Covid Challenges – in virtual mode. With it happened the maiden virtual Change of Guard at FLO – Jahnabi Phookan, director, JTI Group, taking over the mantle as the 37th president from Harjinder Kaur Talwar, MD-CEO, Comvision India Pvt Ltd.
The session was divided into two segments. In the first session, FICCI president Sangita Reddy was the chief guest and the keynote speaker. On this occasion, Reddy announced that for the first time in more than three and half decades, a collaboration of FICCI and FLO to empower women economically has been forged. “An empowered woman can transform the world and with this collaboration, we look forward to touching at least one lakh women over the next two to three years and help them to lead a better life,” shared Reddy.
In the second session, Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla e-released Invisible Women: Bringing Them To The Front, a compilation of around 1,200 grassroot women in business. “This is a compilation of grassroot women in enterprises who were once landless labourers or poor housewives. They are now earning their own livelihoods and have become self-reliant with small businesses. We may have often seen them selling tea or selling snacks or even running beauty parlours or tailoring shops. But these are mostly from the unorganised sectors and their stories go undocumented,” said FLO president Harjinder Kaur Talwar.
She added that FLO’s primary agenda is to create a pool of information on these grassroots women and connect them to the relevant administrative bodies in the government and facilitate assistance to these women in accessing finance and help them scale up.
Speaking on the occasion, Birla said, “To make our Prime Minister’s vision of self-sustainable India, we look forward to FLO’s continued efforts in empowering women in both rural and urban areas. Women are multi-tasker, we need to create a model where every woman sitting at home can be economically independent. We are going through a global crisis and are witnessing some unprecedented and difficult times. In India, the government is doing a commendable job to deal with this challenge and has come up with thoughtful and urgent economic relief packages, especially for the poor and the vulnerable section of society.”
He added that as a part of the civil society and a business chamber, it is our responsibility to stand in solidarity and come together to support the government combat the Covid-19 pandemic and to help respond to this global outbreak. It was followed by the release of the Annual Report that encapsulates the activities undertaken by FLO pan-India in 2019-20.