CSR And Women’s Empowerment: Indian Companies Leading The Way

by | Oct 7, 2022 | CSR

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When it comes to empowering women, India has done a lot to achieve gender parity. The opening up of the Indian economy over three decades ago and the establishment of various corporates in India have provided women with multiple opportunities. CSR for many corporations in developing nations such as India has focused on a community-based development approach. Many people have actively worked to increase women’s economic and social empowerment. Some of them have encouraged the development of self-help groups, which have been encouraged to engage in income-generating livelihood activities after receiving adequate training and capacity building. Explore more about CSR and women’s empowerment in this article.

Corporate India’s Existing Initiatives for CSR and Women’s Empowerment

With over half of India’s population being female, Corporate India is stepping up its game. More and more companies are now investing in CSR initiatives that focus on women’s empowerment, recognizing the untapped potential and driving towards a balanced and progressive future. Companies big and small are launching programs, partnerships, and policies that uplift, educate, and support women, reinforcing the nation’s commitment to gender equality and socio-economic progress.

However, the emphasis varies, with few companies having women empowerment as a significant priority and many having it as one of many areas of involvement. Some of the corporate houses focus on education (for example, P&G was committed to improving educational facilities through its project ‘Shiksha,’ which had a particular emphasis on the teaching of the girl child), the environment (PepsiCo focused on water replenishment), and health (RIL).

Empowering women and promoting their entrepreneurial spirit was essential to CSR and women’s empowerment for companies such as Tata, HUL, Vedanta, Hindalco, Jindals, and others. The interventions were primarily carried out in the areas surrounding the main operational zones, particularly in villages near the factory. CSR efforts at Jindal Steel were concentrated on Hisar (Haryana), Jajpur (Odisha), Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh), and Gurgaon in the National Capital Region. In-house CSR expert teams or professional CSR teams carried out direct interventions.

Partnerships have also been formed in some situations with non-profit organizations and specialized agencies. Over the previous 15 years, several corporations, such as Tata Steel, have helped establish more than 500 rural agricultural, poultry, livestock, and community entrepreneurship operations. It continued to work tirelessly to further empowerment by assisting the formation of approximately 200 women SHGs each year, who were encouraged to engage in income-generating activities. Tata Steel also organized regular competitions to discover female leaders who may serve as role models through its ‘Tejaswini’ project.

The Bajaj family’s Kamalnayan Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation (KJBF) aims to “empower the rural community for effective and sensible use of human and natural resources.” It is actively involved in sustainable agricultural development in over 200 villages in Wardha district, where the farming community has been encouraged to use integrated farming practices.

Indian Companies that are leading the way in CSR and Women’s Empowerment

CSR And Women's Empowerment - Tata Group

1. Tata Group

The Tata Group is one of the largest conglomerates in India. The group has a long history of CSR, and it has many initiatives that aim to empower women. For example, the Tata Group’s Water for All initiative provides clean water to rural communities, and its Skill Development for Women initiative provides training to women in a variety of skills.

2. ITC Limited

ITC Limited is a multinational conglomerate with interests in a variety of sectors, including tobacco, hotels, and food. The company has a number of CSR initiatives that focus on women’s empowerment, such as its Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana (Women’s Empowerment Programme) and its Samarthya programme (which provides financial assistance to women entrepreneurs).

3. Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL)

HUL is one of the largest FMCG companies in India. The company has a number of CSR initiatives that focus on women’s empowerment, such as its Project Shakti (which provides microfinance and other support to women entrepreneurs) and its Swabhiman (which promotes menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls).

4. Infosys Foundation

Infosys Foundation is the CSR arm of Infosys, a multinational IT company. The foundation has a number of initiatives that focus on women’s empowerment, such as its Vidya Lakshmi programme (which provides education to girls from low-income families) and its Swabhimaan (which promotes menstrual hygiene among adolescent girls).

5. Godrej Consumer Products Limited

Godrej Consumer Products Limited is a multinational FMCG company. The company has a number of CSR initiatives that focus on women’s empowerment, such as its Nari Shakti (which provides training to women in a variety of skills) and its Swavalamban (which provides financial assistance to women entrepreneurs).

Government Steps for CSR and Women’s Empowerment: Current Position

The Asian nation’s government has designated 2001 as Women’s Authorization Year. The national policy of women’s authorization has clearly defined goals and objectives. The policy seeks to uplift, develop, and authorize in socioeconomic and political-cultural aspects by raising knowledge among people about various issues pertinent to their authorization. The following square measures the specific aims of National Policies, particularly of rural people on female empowerment;

  • They are creating a positive economic and social environment for the total growth of women to change them to realize their full potential.
  • Girls’ de jure and de facto enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms on an equal footing with men in all political, economic, social, cultural, and civil realms.
  • Women’s equal involvement and decision-making in the State’s social, political, and economic life.
  • Equitable access for girls to health care, excellent education at all levels, career and business guidance, employment, fair remuneration, active health and safety, social insurance, and public life, among other things.
  • Strengthening legal frameworks aimed at eradicating all forms of discrimination against girls.
  • Constantly shifting social attitudes and community practices through active engagement and involvement of all men and women.
  • Including a gender perspective in the development process.
  • Elimination of discrimination and all forms of violence against girls and women children.

The primary goal is establishing and strengthening ties with civil society, particularly women’s organizations. The National policy for female authorization envisioned incorporating a gender viewpoint into the budgeting process as an Associate in Nursing operational strategy. Many laws and regulations are closely enforced to ensure this program’s effective and correct implementation. Despite recent positive momentum, the rate of progress toward ensuring women’s safety, protection, and direction needs to be increased. This is frequently reflected in National Crime Records Bureau data, which revealed that three 09,546 incidents of crime against girls (both under the Indian legal code and different laws) were reported in 2013, as opposed to 2 44,270 cases reported in 2012, indicating a 26.7% increase (even though not all crimes against girls are registered). The policy commitment to ensuring girls’ safety, security, and dignity NAVDISHA- National Thematic Workshop on Best Practises for Girls and Children Development, 20-21 January 2015 pitched battle, Haryana united by the Ministry of Girls and Children Development, Government of India, and the Government of Haryana.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development and girls in public and private areas were reinforced – including through the Twelfth Schedule provisions, the Legal Code (Amendment) Act, 2013, and the Harassment of Girls at Geographical Point (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013.

Ensuring women’s social, economic, and political orientation, as well as their rights, participation, and leadership, necessitates comprehensive gender-responsive measures at all levels, including through legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act has brought a new dimension to women’s leadership, with female panchayat members rising as amendment leaders in various situations. Many countries are now earmarking five hundredth reservations for girls in Panchayati dominion establishments. A significant thrust for economic direction has been made by the formation of thrift and credit-based assistance teams (SHGs) formed by women – with states such as State demonstrating effective methods of making this a mass movement, SHGs within the National Rural Bread and Butter Mission and in MGNREGA with women having a share of one hundred fifteen. In 2013-14, 54 (53%) significant integer person days represent favorable developments. Links between SHGs and microfinance institutions such as RMK, NABARD, and SIDBI, as well as personal microfinance institutions, have aided in generating additional financial gain, jobs, and the formation of small businesses for women.

Legal Aspects:

  • The Indian Constitution provides equality to all Indian women (Article 14).
  • State discrimination is prohibited (Article 15(1)), as is equality of opportunity (Article 16).
  • Article 39(d) requires equal remuneration for equal effort.
  • The State must make Special provisions in favor of women and children (Article 15(3)).
  • Renounces practice insulting to women’s dignity (Article 51(A)(e)).
  • Provisions to be made by the State for providing just and humane working conditions and maternity relief (Article 42).

Top Indian Companies for CSR in India

Here’s a list of top Indian companies involved in CSR activities:

1. Reliance Industries Limited

By market capitalization, Reliance is India’s largest firm. It is a major worldwide player in the integrated energy value chain and has achieved a leadership position in India’s Retail and Digital Services businesses. Reliance Industries Limited has been the country’s top CSR spender for many years. In FY2021-22, the Company spent Rs. 1185 crores on CSR projects, more than required under the Company’s Act (Rs. 1112 crores). Most of Reliance’s community outreach programs are managed through the Reliance Foundation, the Reliance Group’s CSR arm. Since the beginning of its charitable initiatives, the firm has impacted the lives of around 5.75 crore people.

2. Tata Consultancy Services Ltd

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), a Tata Group company providing IT services, consulting, and business solutions, has supported many of the world’s largest corporations with their transformational journeys for over 50 years.

According to the company, everyone is born with equal potential but not equal opportunity. TCS aims to empower people and communities by fostering self-sufficiency via purpose and technology while upholding the values of fairness, equity, and human rights. The Company is committed to connecting individuals to opportunities in the digital economy while creating equitable, inclusive routes for all – particularly women, youth, and marginalized groups.

3. HDFC Bank Ltd

As of April 2021, HDFC Bank is India’s largest private sector bank by assets and the world’s tenth-largest bank by market value. HDFC Bank’s community development projects are carried out under the CSR brand HDFC Parivartan. Parivartan aspires to alter the communities in which it operates through various projects in schooling, vocational education and income improvement, health care, athletics, environmental sustainability, and rural development. Parivartan is also at the forefront of disaster recovery, successfully rebuilding infrastructure and reconstructing communities.

4. ICICI Bank Ltd

ICICI Bank is India’s leading private-sector bank. Regarding market value, it is the fourth-largest firm in the country. The goal of ICICI Bank is to actively assist actual socioeconomic development in India, allowing more people to participate in and profit from India’s economic prosperity. The ICICI Foundation focuses a large percentage of its work in rural areas. The ICICI Foundation has learned the value of understanding local needs at the grassroots level and developing projects or activities to maximize effect over time. These projects could address resource scarcity issues, expand the value chain for agricultural products, and provide skill development in intelligent agricultural practices, among other things.

5. Infosys Limited

Infosys Limited was an innovator in the CSR movement in India. The Infosys Foundation strives to have a significant societal influence in India. The Foundation’s CSR initiatives focus on education, enhancing healthcare, tackling hunger and malnutrition, impoverished care and reconstruction, rural development, environmental sustainability, protecting national and historical heritage, and promoting art and culture. Since 2008, climate action has served as a primary ESG priority area for Infosys. The corporation became carbon neutral in fiscal 2020 and has remained so for three years. Infosys has committed to achieving zero net emissions by 2040.

Conclusion

A company’s dedication to managing its role in society – as a producer, employer, marketer, customer, and citizen – responsibly and sustainably is referred to as corporate responsibility. The goal of CSR and women’s empowerment is to raise brand awareness and make a difference in society. CSR and women’s empowerment are methods to consolidate the true spirit of shared responsibility. Men and women can coexist as partners without prejudice, bias, or discrimination. This would aid in the process of achieving the desired future.

In India, CSR can catalyze the holistic empowerment of Indian women. The Indian economy is expanding rapidly, and the private sector is booming. As a result, corporations play a significant role in women’s empowerment in India. At this point, women’s empowerment and autonomy and the importance of improving their political, social, economic, and health status cannot be overstated. Governments must implement measures that increase women’s access to secure livelihoods and financial resources.

FAQs

Q1. Which Indian corporations are involved in CSR initiatives?

Since then, many businesses have become involved in CSR projects through financial contributions, direct involvement, or a combination. Tata Motors ‘Tata Health Care Initiative,’ Reliance Industries ‘Recharge India,’ and Infosys’ ‘e-Education Programme’ are notable instances.

Q2. Is CSR effective in India?

The general response in the Indian press has been positive, indicating that the CSR law succeeded. However, the CSR law is only superficially successful and is destructive. The issue is that reported spending on CSR programs needs to be a better indicator of societal well-being.

Q3. What are some examples of CSR projects in India?

With a CSR budget of 323.14 crores, this government-owned oil and gas business was devoted to leveraging its resources to influence society positively. Through various social activities, they intended to solve problems like health care, education, and environmental conservation.

Also Read: Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

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