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Today, the world is home to a transformative generation of 900 million adolescent girls and young women poised to shape the future of work and growth. If this cohort of young women could be equipped with the right resources and opportunities to nurture the 21st-century skills, they would become the largest segment of women leaders, change-makers, entrepreneurs, and innovators in history. Given the many socio-economic barriers that adolescent girls confront from their earliest years, we believe that the work to cultivate their agency — for education systems to expose them to new age skill sets, critical thinking, and leadership qualities — must begin early.

India, home to one of the largest generations of girls and young women, has undertaken wide-ranging initiatives across the critical domains of education, health, digital and financial inclusion, leadership building, and have established feasible frameworks to help in the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 5, which envisions the world to be a more gender-equal place by 20301.

Scaling EdTech Solutions

As the access to digital technology increasingly becomes an arena of opportunity and basic service for children and young people, EdTech gives us tools to bridge part of the accessibility gap in education through hybrid learning models, even where girls’ access to schooling is restricted by harmful norms. Building and scaling up solutions customized to the language, cultural nuances, and Internet accessibility of individual communities can give girls equal access to knowledge through digital inclusion.

The World Bank notes that over 43 percent of Indian STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) graduates are women2. However, not all of them are represented in the workforce and tech leadership. Although STEM education among girls appears to have picked up pace over the years, there are prevailing stereotypes that characterize it as a traditionally masculine domain.

Gender norms that disproportionately allocate domestic and care responsibilities to women, representation of men as leaders of STEM, finance, and entrepreneurial fields in public perception, and institutional mechanisms (inadequate maternity leave, few flexible work arrangements, lack of childcare facilities in the workplace

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